Aspirin lowers risk of early death for patients with diabetes, heart failure

For people living with both Type 2 diabetes and heart failure, taking an aspirin each day appears to lower the risk of dying or being hospitalized for heart failure, according to research being presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 67th Annual Scientific Session. But the data also reveal aspirin use may increase the risk of nonfatal heart attack or stroke, a somewhat contradictory finding that surprised researchers.

The study is the first to assess aspirin as a preventive measure for patients who have both diabetes and heart failure. Aspirin, a blood thinner, is strongly recommended for patients who have previously had a heart attack or stroke, but guidelines are unclear regarding its use as a preventive measure for patients who have cardiovascular risk factors but no history of heart attack or stroke. Previous studies in people who have not had those types of health events have shown conflicting evidence of aspirin’s potential benefits in the general population. In patients with heart failure, some studies suggest a daily aspirin may even be harmful.

About 27 million people in the U.S. have Type 2 diabetes and about 6.5 million U.S. adults have heart failure, a condition in which the heart becomes too weak to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Each condition is associated with an elevated risk of cardiac events, including heart attack and stroke. This study sheds new light on the potential risks and benefits of aspirin for people with both conditions.

Full story at Science Daily

Unemployment associated with 50% higher risk of death in heart failure patients

Not being employed linked with greater likelihood of death than history of diabetes or stroke.

Unemployment is associated with a 50% higher risk of death in patients with heart failure, according to research presented today at Heart Failure 2017 and the 4th World Congress on Acute Heart Failure. The observational study in more than 20,000 heart failure patients found that not being employed was linked with a greater likelihood of death than history of diabetes or stroke.

“The ability to hold a job brings valuable information on wellbeing and performance status,” said lead author Dr Rasmus Roerth, a physician at Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark. “And workforce exclusion has been associated with increased risk of depression, mental health problems and even suicide.”

Full story unemployment and deaths in heart failure patients at Science Daily

Fish oil supplements may help prevent death after MI but lack evidence of CV benefit for general population

Omega-3 fish oil supplements prescribed by a healthcare provider may help prevent death from heart disease in patients who recently had a heart attack and may prevent death and hospitalizations in patients with heart failure, but there is a lack of scientific research to support clinical use of these supplements to prevent heart disease in the general population, according to a new science advisory from the American Heart Association.

“We cannot make a recommendation to use omega-3 fish oil supplements for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease at this time,” said David Siscovick, M.D., M.P.H., chair of the writing committee of the new science advisory published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

“People in the general population who are taking omega-3 fish oil supplements are taking them in the absence of scientific data that shows any benefit of the supplements in preventing heart attacks, stroke, heart failure or death for people who do not have a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease,” Siscovick said. Approximately 18.8 million U.S. adults reported taking omega-3 fish oil supplements in 2012.

Full story of fish oil may help prevent death after MI at Science Daily

New hope for treating heart failure

Heart failure patients who are getting by on existing drug therapies can look forward to a far more effective medicine in the next five years or so, thanks to University of Alberta researchers.

Heart specialist Gavin Oudit and his research team discovered a molecule — angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) — that works to restore balance to the pathways responsible for chronic and acute heart failure, including in patients with advanced heart failure who underwent heart transplants.

In conducting their research, Oudit and his team used genetic mapping technology to discover to an extent not seen before how the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) — which regulates the body’s sodium balance, fluid volume and blood pressure — is at play in both acute and chronic heart failure.

Full story of new hope for treating heart failure at Science Daily

Life and death: Team finds hospital readmissions sometimes save lives

A group of Johns Hopkins physicians and researchers has published an article in the Journal of Hospital Medicine suggesting that data on mortality and hospital readmission used by the United States Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) suggest a potentially problematic relationship.

Daniel J. Brotman, M.D., and his colleagues examined three years of CMS’s publicly available data from hospitals across the US. They looked at nearly 4,500 acute-care facilities’ hospital-wide readmission rates and compared them with those facilities’ mortality rates in six areas used by CMS: heart attack, pneumonia, heart failure, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and coronary artery bypass.

The researchers found that hospitals with the highest rates of readmission were actually more likely to show better mortality scores in patients treated for heart failure, COPD and stroke.

Full story of hospital readmission and higher mortality rates at Science Daily

Flu vaccine reduces risk of hospital stay for stroke, heart failure for diabetes patients

People with type 2 diabetes who receive the influenza vaccine may be less likely to be admitted to hospital for myocardial infarction, stroke and heart failure, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

“In this large population-based study, influenza vaccination in people with type 2 diabetes was associated with reductions in rates of hospital admission for acute cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and in all-cause mortality across 7 influenza seasons,” writes Dr. Eszter Vamos, Department of Primary Care & Public Health, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, United Kingdom, with coauthors.

People with type 2 diabetes are at high risk of cardiovascular disease. Many countries encourage vaccination against influenza, especially in older people and people with multiple health issues such as diabetes, although there is uncertainty about vaccine effectiveness in these groups.

Full story of flu vaccine reducing risk of stroke and heart failure at Science Daily

‘Life’s Simple 7’ and diabetes care program reduce risk of heart failure

One in four middle-aged adults who survive to age 85 will develop heart failure, according to current estimates. Intervention programs to improve lifestyles are widely advocated, but do they actually work? Investigators in the U.S. and Taiwan independently examined programs that may reduce cardiovascular risk and concluded that both programs will reduce lifetime risk of heart failure. Results are reported in The American Journal of Medicine.

A group of American investigators estimated whether greater adherence to the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Life’s Simple 7 is associated with lower lifetime risk of heart failure and greater preservation of cardiac structure and function.

“Our study demonstrates that greater adherence to the AHA’s Life’s Simple 7 in middle age is associated with a lower lifetime occurrence of heart failure and greater preservation of cardiac structure and function,’ explained lead investigator Aaron R. Folsom, MD, of the Division of Epidemiology & Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota. ‘To lessen the public health burden of heart failure, cardiovascular disease, and potentially, other chronic diseases, health professionals need to encourage the public to optimize lifestyle-related risk factors before middle age.”

Full story of the diabetes care program at Science Daily

Mortality rates increase due to extreme heat and cold

When temperatures are extremely high or low, there is a significant increase in the number of deaths caused by heart failure or stroke. This has been confirmed by epidemiological studies conducted by researchers at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, who have now published their results in the medical journal Heart.

Epidemiological studies have repeatedly shown that death rates rise in association with extremely hot weather. The heat wave in Western Europe in the summer of 2003, for example, resulted in about 22,000 extra deaths. A team of researchers led by Dr. Alexandra Schneider at the Institute of Epidemiology II at the Helmholtz Zentrum München examined the impact of extreme temperatures on the number of deaths caused by cardiovascular disease in three Bavarian cities and included both high and low temperatures in the study.