Cardio Round-up: Mitigating Anger-induced AFib; Downside for Heartburn Drugs; and More

This week’s edition features new research suggesting beta-blockers may mitigate anger-induced atrial fibrillation,  a dark underside to regularly-taken heartburn medications, and other fun news.

Beta-blockers Bite Anger-induced AFib

If you have atrial fibrillation (AFib) and want to be angry, taking beta-blockers seemed to have a mitigating effect, according to results from a small study of patients with AFib who recorded their anger in electronic diaries. According to the results, patients on beta-blockers were less likely to suffer from anger-induced AFib than those who were not prescribed the medications. “While patients often describe anger or stress triggering their emotions, our data show that this is more than just anecdote,” the authors noted.

Heartburn Drugs: Riskier Than Thought?

Taking proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which comprise many commonly prescribed heartburn medications, was associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and some cancers, a new BMJ study suggested. The data on the study population of U.S. Veterans (over 157,000 individuals) was examined to identify patients with heartburn and newly prescribed PPIs, looking for all-cause mortality and specific cause of mortality. There were 45.20 excess deaths per 1,000 patients taking PPIs, and PPIs were associated with in increased risk of mortality due to cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease, as well as upper gastrointestinal cancer.

Digital Self-management for Coronary Artery Occlusion

A new Lancet Digital Health paper reported on a new mobile device-based self-detection system for coronary artery occlusion, showing that the digitally supported self-management of symptom onset was feasible. The study included 64 patients who had been discharged after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and used smartphones to make ambulatory self-recordings, in addition to recordings made prior to PCI and within one minute of balloon occlusion. The results suggested that 91% (4,567 of 5,011) ambulatory self-recordings were automatically classified as successful. “This is the first clinical study that supports the proof-of-concept of self-detection of acute coronary artery occlusion in outpatients with coronary artery disease,” the authors wrote.

Medicaid Expansion Linked with Lower CV Death Rates

A new JAMA Cardiology study of Medicaid expansion suggested that rates of cardiovascular mortality decreased across counties and states in states where Medicaid expansion was implemented, compared with those places where it was not implemented. The difference-in-difference study looked at county-wide data from 48 states from 2010 to 2016 on annual, age-adjusted cardiovascular mortality rates from prior to the Medicaid expansions and after the expansions. Twenty-nine states participated in the expansion and 19 did not. The counties in states with Medicaid expansions saw decreases in cardiovascular mortality rates (4.3 fewer deaths per 100,000 residents). “These findings suggest that recent Medicaid expansion was associated with lower cardiovascular mortality in middle-aged adults and may be of consideration as further expansion of Medicaid is debated,” wrote the authors.

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