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TAVI Explored to Treat Aortic Bioprosthesis Failure (8 Jul 2014)

With the increasing use of bioprosthetic aortic valves in aortic valve replacement surgery, more and more physicians and patients will inevitably be faced with the dilemma of how best to treat degenerated valves. Although surgical reoperation is considered the best solution, many patients are too old and frail for surgery. Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI)…

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USPSTF Finalizes Recommendations on Carotid Artery Stenosis Screening (8 Jul 2014)

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended against screening for asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis in the general adult population (grade D recommendation). Published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the statement reiterates the group’s 2007 guidance. The harms of screening outweigh the benefits, the task force says. The groups notes that all screening strategies…

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HEAT-PPCI: Heparin Beats Bivalirudin in Primary PCI (7 Jul 2014)

Although there is broad consensus in the medical community that primary PCI is the best treatment for MI patients when it can be delivered promptly, there is no agreement about the best accompanying drug regimen, which usually entails a combination of antiplatelet and antithrombotic drugs. The role of one antithrombotic, bivalirudin (Angiomax, The Medicines Company) has…

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Retraction Dissolves Credibility of Acid-Bath-Generated Stem Cells (3 Jul 2014)

Sadly, what seemed too good to be true now is: subjecting adult cells to an acid bath does not transform them into pluripotent stem cells, and the Nature papers reporting the effect have been retracted. After initial excitement over the findings in January, a number of laboratories reported having trouble duplicating the results. Then in…

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Sitagliptin Associated with Increase in Heart Failure Hospitalizations (3 Jul 2014)

The cardiovascular effects of drugs used for glucose control in patients with diabetes have been a subject of controversy for many years now. More recently, attention has started to focus specifically on the risk for heart failure (HF). Now, an observational study will likely raise new questions about the dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP)-4 inhibitor sitagliptin (Januvia, Merck)….

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Registry Study Offers Reassurance About Newer Drug-Eluting Stents (30 Jun 2014)

Findings from a large ongoing registry study provide some reassurance about the long-term safety of new-generation drug-eluting stents (DES)  in patients with STEMI who undergo primary PCI. The results are published online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. SCAAR (Swedish Coronary Angiography and Angioplasty Registry) investigators analyzed data from 34,000 primary PCI patients…

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To Screen or Not for AF: Is That the Question? (26 Jun 2014)

Up to one third of ischemic strokes are of uncertain etiology or “cryptogenic,” meaning that there is no overt explanation such as severe carotid stenosis, intracranial stenosis, or documented atrial fibrillation (AF). For some of these patients, intermittent AF may be present and could explain the ischemic stroke. This issue has been addressed by two…

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FDA Completes Safety Review of Olmesartan (25 Jun 2014)

The FDA announced on Tuesday that it had completed its safety review of the antihypertensive drug olmesartan (sold as Benicar and other names). The investigation was initiated in 2010 when results from the ROADMAP trial showed that patients with type 2 diabetes taking olmesartan had an increased risk for cardiovascular death. Now the FDA says…

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In Emerging China, STEMI Admissions Skyrocket But Treatment Lags (24 Jun 2014)

Accompanying all the other changes in China over the past decade, admission to the hospital for ST-segment elevation MI (STEMI) has soared, according to a paper published in the Lancet. Although the study finds that there have been some genuine improvements in treatment, the Chinese healthcare system still has a long way to go to improve…

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FDA Recalls Another Batch of Generic Metoprolol (24 Jun 2014)

The FDA has recalled more than 13,000 bottles of metoprolol succinate extended-release tablets manufactured by Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories. In addition, the agency recently recalled another lot of generic metoprolol from a different company, Wockhardt. Both recalls were for medicines manufactured at facilities in India. There have been multiple reports in recent years of problems with generic…

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