The Handoff: Your Week in Cardiology News - 3/24/17

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The Handoff is a weekly roundup of cardiology news covering various developments in subspecialties, as well as pharmaceutical industry, association, and society news.

  • Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University recently published a case series on unnecessary coronary stenting. They described 6 patients who were scheduled to undergo angioplasty and stenting for coronary artery disease but after being given nitroglycerin (prior to stent placement), their blockages resolved. These patients ended up with a diagnosis of coronary artery spasm, not atherosclerotic blockage.
  • Patients who continue to take cholesterol-lowering medication prior to coronary artery bypass grafting surgery had better survival rates than those who stopped taking their medication, according to research published in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.
  • The American Heart Association Precision Medicine Platform is now available online. This cloud-based resource can be used to access and analyze cardiovascular and stroke data by   researchers around the world. The AHA is calling on researchers for data from clinical trials, long-running epidemiological studies, registries, and wearable devices and other technology.
  • The FDA warns health care providers of an increased risk of major adverse cardiac events seen in patients who received the Absorb GT1 Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold. The agency recommends following the instructions for target heart vessel selection (eg, avoiding using in small vessels) and optimal device implantation. For more information, visit the FDA Medical Device Safety page.
  • Social media, specifically Twitter, may gain traction as a means for cardiovascular disease research as previously published online at JAMA Cardiology. In a comment and response, R. Jay Widmer, MD, PhD of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota suggests that the investigators collaborate with his team that had developed Symplur Cardiovascular Hashtag Ontology. “By narrowing the variation in the #hcsm [health care social media] CVD terminology, it might be more effective to communicate with colleagues and engage our patients.”
  • An international team of researchers have identified a novel variant in SEMA4D to be significantly associated with body mass index, according to findings from the first genome-wide association study for BMI in continental Africans published in Obesity. “This work highlights the importance of conducting genomic studies in diverse populations and identifies a novel locus that may improve our understanding of BMI-related physiology,” the researchers wrote.
  • A multi-university research team has cultured beating human heart cells on spinach leaves stripped of plant cells. This proof-of-concept study published in Biomaterials may be a path to using multiple spinach leaves to grow healthy heart muscles to treat patients who have suffered heart attacks.
  • According to new research published in Circulation, coffee shops and ATMs may be ideal locations for automated external defibrillator (AED) access. The investigators used data from the Toronto Regional RescuNET Epistry cardiac arrest database and found that many out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occurred at Tim Hortons and Starbucks, 2 major coffee shop chains, as well as at the 5 largest Canadian banks.
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