CardioSmart | Consumer News from ACC.18

Patients are increasingly looking to their health care providers for answers to questions regarding studies they read about in the news or see on social media. Here are a few studies that made headlines from ACC.18.

Barbershop-Based Intervention and BP

A unique study presented at ACC.18 that combined barbershop-based health outreach with the delivery of care onsite by a specialty-trained pharmacist resulted in significantly lower blood pressure in African-American men after just six months. These results made headlines in more than 600 news outlets the first day the study was released.

“By bringing state-of-the-art medicine directly to the people who need it on their home turf, in this case in a barbershop, and making it both convenient and rigorous, blood pressure can be controlled just as well in African-American men as in other groups,” said Ronald G. Victor, MD, FACC. “If this model was scaled up and sustained, millions of lives could be saved, and many heart attacks and strokes could be prevented.” Learn more details in Journal Wrap on page 14 in this issue.

Google This One!
Researchers tracked search engine queries to assess whether searches on heart disease symptoms closely followed geographic and seasonal trends for coronary heart disease hospitalizations. They analyzed how frequently people in the U.S., United Kingdom and Australia used Google to search for chest pain, chest discomfort, chest pressure or angina. The study focused on two questions: whether the geographic distribution of relevant search queries reflected that of heart disease hospitalizations and whether the timing of search queries reflected seasonal trends in heart disease hospitalizations. The answers to both questions appears to be “yes.” A strong correlation was observed between the search queries and hospitalizations. Queries also followed seasonal trends relatively well, with significant spikes in the winter and dips in the summer in the U.S. and U.K. In Australia, queries peaked in the Southern Hemisphere autumn and dipped in the spring.

One More Reason to Get the Flu Vaccine
Heart failure patients who received a seasonal influenza vaccine had a decreased risk of death based on an analysis of six studies conducted in the U.S., Europe and Asia that included data from more than 78,000 heart failure patients. Results showed getting the flu vaccine reduced the risk of death from any cause by about 50 percent during flu season and by about 20 percent during the rest of the year. Vaccination also was associated with a 22 percent reduction in the risk of a cardiovascular-related hospitalization.

Football Findings
Another study found National Football League (NFL) players, after controlling for blood pressure, body mass index, age and race, were 5.5 times more likely than nonathletes to have AFib and other signs of abnormal electrical impulses.  More than 450 NFL players received an echocardiogram, blood tests and filled out a cardiovascular history questionnaire. Researchers compared these results with a sample of 925 people from the general public with similar demographics. In a separate study, researchers performed echocardiography and vascular applanation tonometry on college freshmen – 136 who played football and 44 who did not, both before and after a complete football season. Results showed that all participants gained weight after football season, but football players showed significant enlargement of the aortic root. Although the athletes’ aortic roots were still within the normal range, enlargement of the aortic root may not completely be a consequence of exercise training, researchers said.

A Smarter Smartwatch?
A specialized wristband and corresponding smartwatch app might accurately detect atrial fibrillation (AFib) based on results from a study led by Joseph Bumgarner, MD. The blinded, prospective study enrolled 100 AFib patients who presented for a scheduled electrical cardioversion. Patients were given a smartwatch with the special wristband and then underwent a standard electrocardiogram (ECG). If cardioversion was indicated, both tests were repeated after the procedure. Researchers compared the smartwatch interpretations with the physician-reviewed standard ECG. The algorithm detected AFib with 93 percent sensitivity and 84 percent specificity, when compared with the ECG. Based on their findings, Bumgarner said the device may lead to cost savings and could potentially help avoid unnecessary procedures.

Clinical Topics: Arrhythmias and Clinical EP, Diabetes and Cardiometabolic Disease, Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathies, Noninvasive Imaging, Prevention, Sports and Exercise Cardiology, EP Basic Science, Atrial Fibrillation/Supraventricular Arrhythmias, Acute Heart Failure, Echocardiography/Ultrasound, Exercise, Sports and Exercise and Imaging

Keywords: ACC Publications, Cardiology Magazine, Influenza Vaccines, Electric Countershock, Atrial Fibrillation, Blood Pressure, Body Mass Index, Prospective Studies, Athletes, Pharmacists, Unnecessary Procedures, Cost Savings, Electrocardiography, Angina Pectoris, Myocardial Infarction, Stroke, Heart Failure, Coronary Disease, Echocardiography, Vaccination, Hospitalization, Algorithms, Hematologic Tests, Exercise

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