Cardio Round-up: Great Debate Resolved?; Election Stress and the Heart; and More

The Great Debate Over BP Control Strategy by Final SPRINT Results

The ideal systolic blood pressure (SBP) target has been a matter of investigation for years, particularly in elderly patients. The Systolic Blood pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) final results have now been published and reveal a lower all-cause mortality and major adverse cardiovascular event rate (MACE) with an intensive control strategy (SBP <120 mmHg) when compared to standard target (SBP<140 mmHg) in hypertensive patients without diabetes or previous stoke. Prior studies (ACCORD BP, SPSS3-BP) have shown no benefit in intensive vs. standard SBP control in patients with diabetes or previous stroke. The SPRINT-trial addressed the ideal SBP target for patients without prior stroke, diabetes, or dementia. Author Devesh Rai, MD, continues the story about the SPRINT results and implications.


Did the 2016 Election Help Increase Heart Problems?

If you felt like the 2016 election was bad for your heart, that may have been more than just a figure of speech. A new retrospective case-crossover study from a group of researchers at the University of North Carolina recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association suggested that the 2016 election did in fact have an association with increased the risk for arrhythmic events. “This retrospective case-crossover study was conducted in North Carolina, which was a swing state in the 2016 U.S. presidential election,” lead author Lindsey Rosman, PhD, assistant professor of medicine in the division of cardiology at the UNC School of Medicine, said in a statement. “People living in North Carolina were exposed to a particularly high volume of negative political commercials, advertisements and campaign events that were very intense in rhetoric. So, their stress levels may have been especially high leading up to the 2016 election.”


Ceramide Levels in Adipose Tissue Stabilize with Liraglutide, Study Shows

Elevated levels of the lipid ceramide, which increase mortality risk for cardiovascular disease, were held in check by liraglutide, according to new study results. “We reveal for the first time the role that the ceramides play as messengers that bring about the damaging effect on blood vessels that we see in obesity,” lead investigator Charalambos Antoniades said in a news release about the study. “This presents unique opportunities for the improved diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease.” The authors, publishing in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology sought to examine the role of dysregulation in the adipose tissue metabolome on vascular redox signaling and cardiovascular outcomes.


Abstinence from Alcohol Improves Outcomes After AFib Ablation

New research suggests that abstaining from alcohol after undergoing catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation (AFib) was associated with improvements in several outcomes. “Abstinence from alcohol is effective for reduction of atrial fibrillation (AFib) burden. However, effects of alcohol abstinence on clinical outcomes of catheter ablation for AFib remain unknown,” the authors wrote in their study. “We sought to assess association of alcohol consumption reduction with clinical outcomes of catheter ablation for AFib. Researchers for the observational prospective study enrolled 3,474 consecutive patients undergoing catheter ablation for AFib. Patients were required to limit their consumption of alcohol to <20g/week following the procedure. The multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that alcohol reduction ≥1% from baseline to follow-up was associated with a lower risk of AFib/tachycardia recurrence (P<0.001) when compared to a smaller decrease in alcohol consumption.


In Case You Missed It

Read our full coverage of the American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions (ACC.21), with coverage from the CardioNerds, and also exclusive commentary Hugh Calkins, MD, and from legendary cardiologist Eugene Braunwald, MD.