A recent study conducted by Northwestern Medicine® researchers published in the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, reveals that patients with an abnormal heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation (A-fib) who are undergoing cardiac surgery, have a lower long-term survival rate compared with patients who are in sinus rhythm, which is the normal beating of the heart. The data also suggests that when surgeons successfully treat A-fib during the previously planned cardiac surgery, the patients' survival rate levels out and becomes the same as someone who never had A-fib. "This study indicates that atrial fibrillation should be surgically treated when a patient is undergoing another cardiac surgery procedure, " said Richard Lee, MD, surgical director of the Center for Heart Rhythm Disorders at Northwestern Memorial's Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute.
In the spring of 2010, Baylor College of Medicine's Dr. Brendan Lee received a desperate email from the mother of one of his patients. The teen - who had been Lee's patient for most of his life - was in hypertensive crisis and none of the usual treatments could bring his blood pressure down to normal. His heart was enlarged and not pumping well - a problem called cardiomyopathy that was the result of more than a decade of difficult-to-control high blood pressure. Finding the solution to the disorder plaguing now 17-year-old Jonathan Oliphint was a long quest that Lee, a professor of molecular and human genetics at BCM, undertook when he first saw him as a young child in the metabolic clinic at Texas Children's Hospital. The problem led Lee back to the laboratory for years of painstaking experiments.
Clogging of pipes leading to the heart is the planet's number one killer. Surgeons can act as medical plumbers to repair some blockages, but we don't fully understand how this living organ deteriorates or repairs itself over time. Researchers at the University of Washington have studied vessel walls and found the cells pull more tightly together, reducing vascular leakage, in areas of fast-flowing blood. The finding could influence how doctors design drugs to treat high cholesterol, or how cardiac surgeons plan their procedures. Their paper will be published in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology. "Our results indicate that these cells can sense the kind of flow that they're in, and structurally change how they hold themselves together, " said lead author Nathan Sniadecki, a UW assistant professor of mechanical engineering.
A study published by BMJ (British Medical Journal) reports that a single ultrasound scan, i.e. compression ultrasonography, could safely rule out a diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in pregnant women, or in those within the first few weeks after giving birth (post-partum period). An accurate diagnosis of DVT remains challenging for doctors, particularly as the risk of DVT elevates during pregnancy, and because otherwise safe and reliable tests in non-pregnant patients are not always appropriate to use during pregnancy. Leading researcher, professor GrĂ goire Le Gal, from the University of Brest in France, and his team decided to evaluate the safety of a single complete compression ultrasonography in pregnant and post-partum women with suspected DVT by recruiting 210 pregnant and post-partum women who were referred for suspected DVT from medical practices in France and Switzerland.
Some patients with irregular heartbeats who are taken off anti-clotting medication face a high risk of stroke or blood clotting within a month, according to new research presented at the American Heart Association's Emerging Science Series webinar. Patients with certain types of atrial fibrillation, or irregular heartbeat, take these drugs to reduce the risks of clots that could lead to a stroke. Sometimes they are instructed to stop taking the medication temporarily before surgery or permanently because of side effects. "No matter what drug they are on, patients who need anticoagulation revert back to their intrinsic risk of stroke and embolism after discontinuation, so it shouldn't be done lightly, " said Manesh Patel, M.D., lead author and assistant professor of medicine at the Duke University School of Medicine.