The Handoff: Your Week in Cardiology News – 7/14/17

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

  • Nature has published findings from a large-scale study on physical activity around the globe. A group of NIH-funded researchers tracked smartphone data from more than 700,000 participants, focusing on 46 countries with at least 1000 users.
  • Black adults have a higher incidence of fatal coronary heart disease compared with white adults, according to a new study published in Circulation. Researchers say these findings stress the importance of primary prevention among black patients.
  • Enrollment has begun in STOP AF FIRST, a clinical trial that will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of pulmonary vein isolation with the Artic Front Advance™ Cryoballoon (Medtronic; Dublin) in patients with symptomatic paroxysmal atrial fibrillation prior to receiving antiarrhythmic treatment.
  • High-risk pregnancies or complications during childbirth may put women at an extremely high risk for heart disease later in life — up to 8 times higher, in fact — as reported by NPR. In order to better understand pregnancy’s connection to heart disease, a new study funded by the NIH is tracking the health of 5000 new mothers across the United States.
  • A new deal between the FDA and the medical device industry — including companies that manufacture cardiac defibrillators and insulin pumps — may lead to delays in reports on malfunctions, according to the New York Times. One critic noted that it currently takes the FDA months and sometimes years to “detect patterns of failure” in devices; this deal could exacerbate the problem.
  • Cheers to a longer life, with coffee! A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that coffee consumers had statistically significant lower all-cause mortality compared with nonconsumers. However, researchers warn that reverse causality may have biased their findings.
  • Heart stents could someday be coated with Viagra, according to research presented at the AHA’s Basic Cardiovascular Sciences 2017 Scientific Sessions. The drug was shown to reduce blood platelet clumping and increased an enzyme that prevents artery wall thickening in both laboratory and animal studies.