Cardio Round-up: Extended Time in Space May Alter the Heart; Plus More

Extended time in a weightless environment like space, or as in extreme swimming, could result in a shrinking of the heart, according to a new study. A new research letter looked at a distance swimmer and an astronaut to observe and compare changes in their heart before, during, and after their respective lengthy stays in weightless environments (and with regular low-resistance exercise for both). The authors reported that in both cases, the individuals lost cardiac mass. “Consistent, low-intensity exercise may be insufficient to prevent cardiac atrophy during extreme-duration swimming, though further study is needed,” the authors said.

In this video interview, DocWire News talks with Dr. Sandeep Nathan, associate professor of medicine and co-director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at the University of Chicago. In this interview, Dr. Nathan talks about recent updates in atherosclerotic disease management and treatment, and what practitioners can learn from the results of the COMPASS and MAGELLAN studies.

In otherwise healthy individuals, periodontitis is associated with higher systolic blood pressure, according to a study published online in Hypertension. In the 500-patient case-control sample with 250 patients with periodontitis and 250 without periodontitis, a periodontitis diagnosis correlated with higher mean systolic blood pressure (ß=3.46 ± 1.25) and increased odds of systolic blood pressure ≥140 mm Hg. “Integration of hypertension screening by dental professionals with referrals to primary care professionals and periodontal disease screening by medical professionals with referrals to periodontists could improve detection and treatment of both conditions to improve oral health and reduce the burden of hypertension and its complications,” a study author noted in a statement.

Icosapent ethyl can further reduce the risk for stroke for statin-treated patients with elevated triglycerides and the risk or evidence of atherosclerosis, according to recent research presented at the American Stroke Association International Stroke Conference. The study contained more than 8,100 patients with controlled LDL-C, elevated triglycerides, and risk or evidence of atherosclerosis. According to the analysis, event rates for time to first fatal or nonfatal stroke were reduced in the icosapent ethyl group vs. placebo. About 14 strokes were averted for every 1,000 patients taking icosapent ethyl for five years.  “Icosapent ethyl is a new way to further reduce the risk of stroke in patients with atherosclerosis or who are at high risk of stroke, who have elevated triglyceride levels and are already taking statins,” lead researcher Deepak L. Bhatt, MD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said in a statement.