Surgery better than drugs for serious lack of blood flow to the heart

Surgery or angioplasty to improve blood flow in patients with moderate to severe levels of blood flow restriction to the heart reduces the risk of cardiac death more than medication alone, researchers report in today’s rapid access issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Study finds calcium blockers aid high blood pressure control in heart patients

A massive study aimed at settling the long-standing debate over the usefulness of calcium antagonists for treating high blood pressure has shown the drugs are part of a safe and effective regimen for patients who don’t respond to standard medicines – or who stop taking them because of bothersome side effects, University of Florida researchers report.

Bypass Surgery Better for Patients Over 70

When compared to angioplasty or treatment with drugs, coronary artery bypass surgery was better at relieving chest pain (angina) and improving functional abilities at one year for elderly patients, according to Duke University Medical Center cardiologists.

Method provides new tool for diagnosing heart disease

A quick and painless technique recently developed by Wisconsin researchers could help clinicians identify signs of coronary heart disease (CHD), a condition that claims the lives of 2,000 Americans every day. The technique, called cardiac elastography creates real-time, two-dimensional images of muscle strain as the heart moves blood through its chambers to the rest of the body.

Low estrogen linked to coronary artery disease risk in premenopausal women

According to an article in the February 5 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, coronary artery disease in young women appears to be related to estrogen deficiency, and there may be a link to psychosocial stress. The findings are based on an analysis of statistics compiled from a major ongoing investigation of heart disease in women that is led by cardiac researchers in Los Angeles. “Although coronary artery disease is the leading killer of premenopausal women, taking even more lives than breast cancer does, most studies have focused on heart disease in older women. Our findings demonstrate for the first time that young women with low blood estrogen levels have a significantly greater prevalence of coronary artery disease,” said C. Noel Bairey Merz, M.D., the article’s first author.

One in Four have Precursor to Heart Failure

More than one-fourth of adults over age 45 have abnormalities in the way their heart fills with blood and are at significantly increased risk for premature death, according to results of a study of 2,042 randomly selected residents of Olmsted County, Minn. The study is published in the Jan. 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Medications underused in treating heart disease

Past studies have shown that various medications including beta blockers and aspirin can help manage heart disease. Yet a new study from Stanford University Medical Center indicates physicians continue to underprescribe these key treatments. The study appears in the Jan. 1 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. It focuses on the outpatient use of the drug warfarin for atrial fibrillation (or irregular heartbeat), beta blockers and aspirin for coronary artery disease, and ACE inhibitors for congestive heart failure – all medications that have been shown to benefit patients in past clinical trials and population studies.

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