Cardio Round-up: Dental Hygiene, Update on Beta-Blockers in Renal Dysfunction, and More

This week’s edition includes the question of whether guideline recommendations for family early screening for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) need to be updated, as well as some news for those with heart failure and renal dysfunction taking beta-blockers. Plus another win for artificial intelligence. 

Good Teeth for a Healthy Heart

Good dental hygiene makes for better heart health and a lower risk for heart failure and atrial fibrillation, according to a new analysis. The relationship between dental hygiene and cardiovascular risk has been previously studied, and this analysis focused on the particular risks for heart failure and atrial fibrillation. While the study results did show a relationship between better dental hygiene and reduced risks, the study was not powered to generalize. “It is certainly too early to recommend tooth brushing for the prevention of atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure,” an editorialist wrote of the results.

Improved Dental Hygiene Helps Heart Health

Should HCM Family Screening Start Earlier?

A new analysis in the European Heart Journal suggests that family screening for HCM should potentially be started earlier. The study researchers reported that many children who develop HCM do so at ages earlier than guidelines recommend screening, prompting the question of whether or not the guidelines may need updating to reflect current data. “Younger family members should be considered for early clinical and genetic screening to identify the subset in need of close monitoring and interventions,” the study researchers wrote.

Is It Time to Update Guidelines For Family HCM Screening?

Beta-Blockers Are OK for HF Patients with Renal Dysfunction: Study

A new analysis reports that beta-blockers can safely be used in heart failure patients with reduced ejection fraction who also live with moderate and moderately severe renal impairment (a common condition in these patients). The study, published in JACC, the researchers concluded: “Combining double-blind, individual patient-level data has provided a sufficient sample size to confirm the efficacy of beta-blockers in heart failure patients with reduced ejection fraction, sinus rhythm, and renal dysfunction, including those with eGFR 30 to 44 mL/min/1.73 m2, the lowest range of estimated glomerular filtration rate tested in large placebo-controlled trials.”

Beta-Blockers Recommended in HF Patients with Renal Dysfunction

AI Detects Artery Calcium During Lung Cancer Screening

Common screening for lung cancer (typically computed tomography imaging) is also adept at detecting coronary artery calcium, which is a well-established marker of atherosclerosis and indicative of heart disease. Researchers for a new study employed an automated deep learning algorithm that was able to come up with coronary artery calcium scores comparable to those of human readers. “There’s information about cardiovascular health on these CT scans,” one of the researchers said. “This is an automated way to extract that information, which can help patients and physicians make decisions about preventative therapy.”

Artificial Intelligence Detects Signs of Heart Disease on Lung Cancer Screenings