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

  • The American Heart Association and the Children’s Heart Foundation teamed up to award more than $1,000,000 for congenital heart defect research. You can submit an application for the next round of funding online.
  • Even smokers who smoke less than 1 cigarette per day over a lifetime have an elevated risk of earlier death compared with individuals who have never smoked, according to a report in JAMA Internal Medicine.
  • A new treatment option for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) may be on the horizon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Researchers will test the safety and effectiveness of treating PAH with “cardiosphere-derived cells.”
  • The Women’s Heart Alliance praised the US Congress’s passage of the “21st Century Cures Act,” which aims to increase representation of women and minorities in clinical research at the National Institutes of Health.
  • Rivaroxaban (Xarelto; Janssen) may be a useful therapy for blood clots in patients with cancer, according to research presented at the 2016 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting. These analyses not only showed that patients treated with rivaroxaban had fewer ER visits, but may also reduce healthcare costs overall.
  • According to the CDC, the number of Americans who smoke has declined from 15% to 21% from 2005 to 2015, dropping below 40 million people total. The sharpest decline was seen in the youngest age groups, although 13% of individuals aged 18 to 24 years were still smoking after the 10 year period.
  • Yoga may help reduce blood pressure in individuals with prehypertension. According to the study, one hour of hatha yoga may help prevent hypertension development.
  • Cardiologist and author Kevin Ray Campbell, MD, FACC, recommends tips for avoiding the “Holiday Heart Syndrome.” Dr Campbell notes that visits to the ER and hospital tend to spike between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Limit alcohol and caffeine intake, avoid overeating, exercise, and take frequent breaks to breathe to mitigate risk of cardiovascular events.


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