Coronary calcium in heart arteries provides important clues about risk, even among younger and elderly patients and those without traditional risk factors, according to new studies.
A team of Johns Hopkins researchers has uncovered further evidence of the benefits of a balanced diet that replaces white bread and pasta carbohydrates with unsaturated fat from avocados, olive oil and nuts — foods typical of the so-called “Mediterranean diet.”
If your doctor says you have a negative stress test, or that your cholesterol or blood pressure are normal, how assured can you be that you're not likely to have a heart attack in the next seven to 10 years? Assessing traditional risk factors, such as age, high blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking and family history can estimate a person's risk, but the picture is not always clear-cut. Some newer tests can be offered to provide reassurance or guidance about the need for medications or further testing.
Hospitals that do not have cardiac surgery capability can perform nonemergency angioplasty and stent implantation as safely as hospitals that do offer cardiac surgery. That is the finding of the nation’s first large, randomized study to assess whether patients do just as well having nonemergency angioplasty performed at smaller, community hospitals that do not offer cardiac surgery.
Doctors at Johns Hopkins have shown that during an increasingly popular type of breast-reconstruction surgery, they can safely preserve the internal mammary artery, in case it is needed for future cardiac surgery.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), an important diagnostic test, has traditionally been off limits to more than 2 million people in the United States who have an implanted pacemaker to regulate heart rhythms or an implanted defibrillator to prevent sudden cardiac death. Now, in a study published in the October 4 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, cardiologists at Johns Hopkins report that a protocol they developed has proved effective in enabling patients with implanted cardiac devices to safely undergo an MRI scan.
Each year in the United States, more than 200,000 people have a cardiac defibrillator implanted in their chest to deliver a high-voltage shock to prevent sudden cardiac death from a life-threatening arrhythmia. While it’s a necessary and effective preventive therapy, those who’ve experienced a defibrillator shock say it’s painful, and some studies suggest that the shock can damage heart muscle.
Johns Hopkins experts in arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD) have defined a set of criteria that could be used to assess a patient’s need for an implanted defibrillator to prevent sudden death. In a study to be published in the September 27 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that is now online, the researchers report that using those criteria, they were able to separate the patients at high risk for a life-threatening irregular heart rhythm from those with low risk.
Heart specialists at Johns Hopkins have figured out how a widely used pacemaker for heart failure, which makes both sides of the heart beat together to pump effectively, works at the biological level. Their findings, published in the September 14 issue of Science Translational Medicine, may open the door to drugs or genetic therapies that mimic the effect of the pacemaker and to new ways to use pacemakers for a wider range of heart failure patients.
The presence of calcium in coronary arteries is a much better predictor of heart attack and stroke than C-reactive protein among people with normal levels of LDL cholesterol, according to a study of more than 2,000 people led by a Johns Hopkins heart specialist.
Johns Hopkins scientists have launched a pioneering research program to create, for the first time, human platelet cells from stem cells in order to study inherited blood clotting abnormalities ranging from clots that cause heart attacks and stroke to bleeding disorders. The study is funded by a $9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as part of a nationwide initiative to examine how genetic variations cause heart, lung and blood diseases.
Heart experts at Johns Hopkins have begun testing a new device designed to replace blocked aortic valves in patients for whom traditional open-heart surgery is considered too risky, such as elderly patients and those with other serious medical conditions. The testing is part of a nationwide study to evaluate the device, which is deployed in a minimally invasive way. The first two Maryland patients to receive the device had it put in place by Johns Hopkins doctors on July 8, 2011.
Gordon F. Tomaselli, M.D., professor and director of the Division of Cardiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, will become president of the American Heart Association (AHA), the nation’s leading voluntary health organization focused on cardiovascular disease and stroke, on July 1.
Overweight and obese people looking to drop some pounds and considering one of the popular low-carbohydrate diets, along with moderate exercise, need not worry that the higher proportion of fat in such a program compared to a low-fat, high-carb diet may harm their arteries, suggests a pair of new studies by heart and vascular researchers at Johns Hopkins.
Coronary computed tomographic (CT) angiography, which can detect plaque buildup in heart vessels, is sometimes used as a screening tool to assess the risk for a heart attack. However, the usefulness of the test on low-risk patients who do not have coronary symptoms, such as chest pain, has been unclear.
Harry C. “Hal” Dietz, III, M.D., the Victor A. McKusick Professor of Genetics and Medicine at the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute is one of 72 new members of the National Academy of Sciences, an honorary society that advises the government on scientific matters.
Older, sicker heart-transplant recipients are significantly more likely to be alive a year after their operations if they have their transplants at hospitals that do a large number of them annually, new Johns Hopkins research suggests. These patients fare less well at low-volume centers, the research shows.
Scientists at Johns Hopkins have shown in laboratory experiments in mice that blocking the action of a signaling protein deep inside the heart’s muscle cells blunts the most serious ill effects of high blood pressure on the heart. These include heart muscle enlargement, scar tissue formation and loss of blood vessel growth.
Johns Hopkins scientists have developed a simplified, cheaper, all-purpose method they say can be used by scientists around the globe to more safely turn blood cells into heart cells. The method is virus-free and produces heart cells that beat with nearly 100 percent efficiency, they claim.
An inexpensive, routine blood test could hold the key to why some patients with congestive heart failure do well after being discharged from the hospital and why others risk relapse, costly readmission or death within a year, new Johns Hopkins research suggests.
A team of heart experts at Johns Hopkins has found that dual lab tests of blood clotting factors accurately predict the patients whose blood vessels, in particular veins implanted to restore blood flow to the heart during coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), are more likely to fail or become clogged within six months. One test gauges the speed of blood platelet clumping and the other measures the level of a clumping chemical byproduct.
A team of scientists at Johns Hopkins and elsewhere has discovered that a single alteration in the genetic code of about a fourth of African-Americans helps protect them from coronary artery disease, the leading cause of death in Americans of all races.
A study of more than 14,000 men and women whose hearts stopped suddenly suggests that the chances of survival are very high if such cardiac arrests are witnessed in large public venues, including airports, sports arenas or malls. The reasons, researchers say, are that almost four out of five such cases appear to be due to a survivable type of heart rhythm disruption and that big places with lots of people are more likely to have an automated external defibrillator, or AED device, handy, along with those who can apply it as well as CPR.