Tuesday, July 31, 2018

CLL review

Monday, July 30, 2018

Are beta blockers really cardioprotective?


To assess the relationship between use of β-blockers and all-cause mortality in patients with and without diabetes.

Patients and Methods

Using data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2010, we conducted a prospective cohort study. The study participants were followed-up from the survey participation date until December 31, 2011. We used a Cox proportional hazards model for all-cause mortality analysis. The multivariate-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) of the participants taking β-blockers were compared with those of the participants not taking β-blockers.


This study included 2840 diabetic participants and 14,684 nondiabetic participants. Compared with diabetic participants not taking a β-blocker, all-cause mortality was significantly higher in diabetic participants taking any β-blocker (HR, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.09-2.04; P=.01), taking a β1-selective β-blocker (HR, 1.60; 95% CI, 1.13-2.24; P=.007), or taking a specific β-blocker (bisoprolol, metoprolol, and carvedilol) (HR, 1.55; 95% CI, 1.09-2.21; P=.01). In addition, all-cause mortality in diabetic participants with coronary heart disease (CHD) was significantly higher in those taking beta-blockers, compared with those not taking beta-blockers (HR, 1.64; 95% CI, 1.08-2.48; P=.02), whereas that in non-diabetic participants with CHD was significantly lower in those taking beta-blockers (HR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.50-0.94; P=.02). A propensity score–matched Cox proportional hazards model yielded similar results.


Use of β-blockers may be associated with an increased risk of mortality for patients with diabetes and among the subset who have CHD.

An editorial in the same issue provided a nice perspective on the overall issue of cardioprotection attributed to beta blockers.

Several important points can be made:

The idea of cardioprotective beta blockers came from trials in post MI patients, done decades ago, showing reduced mortality attributable to beta blockers.

Those trials were conducted in the pre-reperfusion era and thus tended to involve patients with chronically occluded arteries and larger infarcts with significant scars. This represents a substantially different population compared to the post MI patients we treat today.

The idea of cardioprotective beta blockers was inappropriately extrapolated to areas of cardiovascular medicine outside these clinical trials.

The editorial concludes:

..the only ironclad indication for cardioprotection with β-blockers remains heart failure with reduced ejection fraction,11, 12 the very indication that decades ago was the only contraindication for β-blocker therapy.4

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Caffeine intake associated with reduced vascular stiffness

Findings here.

Related editorial here.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Friday, July 27, 2018

An ABIM leader enters the debate over MOC

Defenders of the board certification establishment have been largely silent amidst the onslaught of criticism so it’s noteworthy when one of the speaks out. Here’s a viewpoint piece in JAMA. Heavy on unfounded assumptions, light on evidence,  unconvincing to me.

MOC or Drexit?

Thursday, July 26, 2018

MINOCA: it’s definitely a thing

MINOCA (myocardial infarction with non obstructed coronary arteries) has been known for quite some time but is greatly under appreciated. Such patients meet the universal definition of MI but have coronary arteriograms demonstrating no lesions causing greater than 50% obstruction. They may be deceptively labeled as having “insignificant coronary artery disease.” Some will be misdiagnosed as stress cardiomyopathy (formerly Takotsubo) or myocarditis. What’s really going on? It’s a complex and poorly understood interplay of multiple factors. Mild (less than 50% obstructive) plaques may ulcerate or rupture. This may cause thrombus with obstruction which spontaneously recanalizes. Inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, coronary spasm and procoagulant influences may interact. Other patients may have type 2 MI. These mechanisms are reviewed in a recent editorial.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Mind what you eat and lose weight

Monday, July 23, 2018

Microscopic colitis

From the review:

Microscopic colitis (MC), which is comprised of lymphocytic colitis and collagenous colitis, is a clinicopathological diagnosis that is commonly encountered in clinical practice during the evaluation and management of chronic diarrhea. With an incidence approaching the incidence of inflammatory bowel disease, physician awareness is necessary, as diagnostic delays result in a poor quality of life and increased health care costs. The physician faces multiple challenges in the diagnosis and management of MC, as these patients frequently relapse after successful treatment. This review article outlines the risk factors associated with MC, the clinical presentation, diagnosis and histologic findings, as well as a proposed treatment algorithm. Prospective studies are required to better understand the natural history and to develop validated histologic endpoints that may be used as end points in future clinical trials and serve to guide patient management.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Medical errors in nursing home patients

Medication errors (MEs) result in preventable harm to nursing home (NH) residents and pose a significant financial burden. Institutionalized older people are particularly vulnerable because of various organizational and individual factors. This systematic review reports the prevalence of MEs leading to hospitalization and death in NH residents and the factors associated with risk of death and hospitalization. A systematic search was conducted of the relevant peer-reviewed research published between January 1, 2000, and October 1, 2015, in English, French, German, or Spanish examining serious outcomes of MEs in NHs residents. Eleven studies met the inclusion criteria and examined three types of MEs: all MEs (n = 5), transfer-related MEs (n = 5), and potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) (n = 1). MEs were common, involving 16–27% of residents in studies examining all types of MEs and 13–31% of residents in studies examining transfer-related MEs, and 75% of residents were prescribed at least one PIM. That said, serious effects of MEs were surprisingly low and were reported in only a small proportion of errors (0–1% of MEs), with death being rare. Whether MEs resulting in serious outcomes are truly infrequent, or are underreported because of the difficulty in ascertaining them, remains to be elucidated to assist in designing safer systems.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Update on hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Form a recent review:

Most clinicians would recommend ICD therapy if any one of the five major risk factors is present, although recent debate has focused on whether at least two risk factors are required…

Previous cardiac arrest/ventricular tachycardia (secondary prevention)
Family history of premature sudden cardiac death
Left ventricular wall thickness greater than or equal to 30 mm
Previous episodes of documented NSVT (greater than or equal to 3 beats, rate greater than or equal to 120 bpm)
Unexplained syncope

Concerning treatment in general:

Many treatment options are currently available for HCM patients. This ranges from no treatment; lifestyle modifications, e.g. avoiding competitive sports in all patients with HCM; use of pharmacological agents e.g. beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, and diuretics; to surgical septal myectomy and transcoronary alcohol septal ablation of the myocardium (i.e. the creation of a limited septal infarct by direct injection of alcohol into a septal perforator artery) for individuals with significant left ventricular outflow tract obstruction with symptoms unresponsive to drug therapy. The single most important advance in the clinical management of HCM has involved the use of ICD therapy in the prevention of sudden death [12] . Recent studies indicate that treatment of individuals at highest risk of sudden death with an ICD is the most definitive form of therapy in preventing sudden death and easily surpasses empirically-based preventative strategies previously used in HCM, e.g. amiodarone and beta blockers.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Improved understanding of bicuspid aortic valve disease

A recent article cites findings coming out of the newly established International Bicuspid Aortic Valve Disease Registry.

New guidelines for ECG interpretation in athletes

Reviewed here.

Great info if you can access it. Unfortunately it is behind a pay wall and the graphics and text are too complicated for me to give key points here.