Cardio Round-up: Excess Coffee Drinking, (More) Mediterranean Diet Benefits, AI Does it Again

This week’s edition sheds light on the question of when too much coffee is actually too much, more benefits from the Mediterranean diet, an important biomarker to measure after PCI, and whether artificial intelligence can do a better job recommending testing for chest pain than an human doctor.

Too much of a good thing can be bad, and it looks like that could even apply to coffee. A new study–the first to place an “upper limit” on what level of coffee consumption is heart-healthy–looked at excessive coffee consumption (more than six cups per day) and cardiovascular disease, particularly in those with a genetic deficiency for processing caffeine. The results of the study suggested that more than six cups of coffee per day becomes detrimental to the heart, regardless of any genetic predispositions or deficiencies.

The Mediterranean Diet is back in the news, this time due to a study that showed a decrease in hepatic fat content when compared to a typical low-fat diet. The 278-participant study compared low-fat diets with Mediterranean/low-carbohydrate diets both with and without physical activity. Participants using the Mediterranean diet saw a higher percentage hepatic fat content reduction over the 18-month study period. “High hepatic fat content is associated with metabolic syndrome, type two diabetes mellitus, and coronary heart disease,” the researchers noted.

Artificial intelligence (AI) may prevent unneeded testing for chest pain. A study presented at the International Conference on Nuclear Cardiology showed that an AI-supported decision support system was capable of recommending either further testing or no further testing in patients with chest pain. According to the results, about 97% of the patients who had a “no further testing” recommendation from the AI system had no significant coronary disease. By contrast, only 45 patients were given a “no further testing” recommendation by the human cardiologist. The elimination of unnecessary testing, the authors said, would help reduce patient office time and additional costs.

Residual inflammatory risk was associated with increased adverse cardiac outcomes, making it an important measurement for risk reduction. A new JACC study looked at over 3,000 patients with low baseline LDL-C cholesterol who were undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), looking for any relationship between residual inflammatory risk after PCI and increased cardiovascular or cerebrovascular events. The results suggested that patients who have high residual inflammatory risk following PCI also had an increased risk for suffering major adverse cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events.