Cardio Round-up: Look Back at 2019, The Importance of Sleep, and More

This week’s Cardio Round-up features a look back at what you may have missed during the holidays, as well as some of the big 2019 cardiology stories.

2019 in Review: Apple Heart, Wearable Tech, and More

The past year saw some big stories like the Apple Heart study, presented at ACC.19, which essentially validated the ability of a wearable device (an Apple iWatch) equipped with a tachogram-tracking algorithm was able to detect pulse irregularities associated with atrial fibrillation. Icosapent ethyl also featured prominently, gaining an FDA approval for the reduction of cardiovascular disease risk as an add-on to statin therapy in high-risk patients with hypertriglyceridemia. Dapagliflozin (highlighted in the DAPA-HF study) also was shown to be an effective treatment for heart failure in both diabetic and non-diabetic patients.

2019 In Cardiology: Apple Heart Study Lands; Icosapent Ethyl Gets FDA Nod for New Indication; Dapagliflozin For Nondiabetics; and More

AFib Prediction at the Individual Level?

A new observational study published in Europace suggests it is possible to monitor and predict individual progression of atrial fibrillation (AFib) using pacemakers or defibrillators.“We aimed to study the progression of AER in individual patients with implantable devices and AFib episodes,” the paper authors wrote. The study results indicated that the slope of AAR changes during the progression of AFib showed patient-specific patterns correlating with the time-to-completion of AER (R2 = 0.85).  “This technology opens up enormous possibilities in personalized medicine for AFib patients because it allows us to determine the progression rate of the arrhythmia in each individual and to optimize the timing of medical intervention with current treatment options,” one of the researchers said in a press release.

Personalized Medicine for AFib: How Electric Activity in the Heart Can Predict Individual Progression of Atrial Fibrillation


Fat-Derived Stem Cells: Next-Gen Biologic Pacemakers?

A research team, publishing the study in the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, worked on converting adipogenic mesenchymal stem cells, which reside within fat cells, into cardiac progenitor cells. The ensuing cardiac progenitor cells can be programmed to aid heartbeats as a sinoatrial node (SAN), which is part of the electrical cardiac conduction system.”We are reprogramming the cardiac progenitor cell and guiding it to become a conducting cell of the heart to conduct electrical current,” said study co-author Bradley McConnell, associate professor of pharmacology, in a press release. “Results of this study show that the SHT5 combination of transcription factors can reprogram CPCs into Pacemaker-like cells.”

The Next Generation of Biologic Pacemakers? New Discovery in Stem Cells from Fat Creates Another Alternative Treatment


Diabetes Predictive of Heart Failure

Diabetes mellitus is an independent predictor for heart failure, according to the findings of a study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. In this study, using the Rochester Epidemiology Project, researchers assessed the long-term impact of diabetes on the development of heart failure by including 116 study subjects with diabetes, who were matched 1:2 based on age, hypertension, sex, coronary artery disease and diastolic with 232 participants without diabetes. The results showed that that diabetes is an independent risk factor for the development of heart failure. Over the duration of 10 years, 21% of participants with diabetes developed heart failure, independent of other causes. The researchers observed that by comparison, only 12% of patients without diabetes developed heart failure. “The key takeaway is that diabetes mellitus alone is an independent risk factor for the development of heart failure,” wrote one of the authors.

Diabetes is an Independent Predictor for Heart Failure


Getting Enough Sleep Essential for Good Heart Health

A new study suggests that regularly getting a good night’s sleep isn’t just a helpful overall health recommendation but is also an essential way to keep risk for heart disease and stroke down. The paper, published in the European Journal of Cardiology, included more than 300,000 participants initially free of cardiovascular disease (CVD) from UK Biobank. According to the results, there were 7,280 documented cases of incident CVD (4,667 coronary heart disease and 2,650 stroke) cases. Participants with a sleep score of 5 had a 35% reduced risk for CVD, a 34% reduced risk for coronary heart disease, and a 34% reduced risk for stroke when compared to participants with a score of 0-1. “As with other findings from observational studies, our results indicate an association, not a causal relation,” one of the authors said in a press release. “However, these findings may motivate other investigations and, at least, suggest that it is essential to consider overall sleep behaviors when considering a person’s risk of heart disease or stroke.”

Getting Quality Sleep, and the Right Amount, Can Offset Genetic Susceptibility for Heart Disease and Stroke Risk