Tuesday News Tips

November 18, 2014 Categories: Scientific Conferences & Meetings

Tip Headlines:

  • New wireless ECG saves treatment time for people with severe heart attacks
  • People who gained weight after quitting smoking still had lower death risk
  • Education and feedback may help improve heart health among high-risk groups
  • Patients counseled on genetic heart disease risk feel they have more control over fate
  • Healthy diet linked to decreased blood-pressure measurements
  • Social media strategy may increase public awareness about donor heart needs

NOTE: ALL TIMES ARE CENTRAL. ALL TIPS ARE EMBARGOED UNTIL THE TIME OF PRESENTATION OR 3 P.M. CT/4 P.M. ET EACH DAY, WHICHEVER COMES FIRST. For more information Nov. 15-19, call the AHA News Media Staff Office in the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago at (312) 949-3400. Before or after these dates, call the Communications Office in Dallas at (214) 706-1173. For public inquiries, call (800) AHA-USA1 (242-8721).

Embargo: 9:30 a.m. CT/10:30 a.m. ET
Abstract 16688 (Hall A2, Core 5)
New wireless ECG saves treatment time for people with severe heart attacks

A new trans-satellite wireless 12-lead ECG can identify the most severe type of heart attack swiftly and save significant time from ambulance to angioplasty, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2014.

An ECG measures the electrical activity of the heart and helps medical personnel determine if a person had an ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Angioplasty, also known as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), is a procedure in which an inflatable balloon opens a blocked artery to restore blood flow to the heart.

During this study, ECG recordings were taken by ambulance staff wherever the patient might be (i.e., home or work). The recording was transmitted wirelessly through Satellites to the Heart Hospital where specialist cardiologists selected the best treatment strategy before the patient arrived at the hospital. This gave the operating team a chance to prepare for the patient’s arrival so the procedure to open the blocked artery could be performed without delay.

Of 510 heart attack patients who had PCI in Doha, Qatar, 55 percent got a wireless ECG and were sent directly to the Heart Hospital; 45 percent didn’t have a wireless test and went to other hospitals first before being transferred to the Heart Hospital. All patients were in their 50s, 73 percent Asian and 23 percent Arab.

Researchers reported:

  • Hospital arrival to the start of angioplasty (door to balloon time) was about 53 minutes for the wireless-ECG Heart Hospital group and about 104 minutes for the group that went to other hospitals first.
  • The delay from symptoms to balloon time was 36 minutes shorter in the wireless-ECG group.
  • The wireless-ECG group had shorter hospital stays (3.4 days compared to 4.3).
  • The wireless-ECG group had lower in-hospital death risk (2.5 percent compared to 3.5 percent).

Abdurrazzak Gehani, M.D., Chief Cardiologist and Principal Investigator, Heart Hospital, Doha, Qatar

Embargo: 9:30 a.m. CT/10:30 a.m. ET
Abstract 13531 (Hall A2, Core 2)
People who gained weight after quitting smoking still had lower death risk

In a small study in Japan, people who stopped smoking didn’t face increased death risk if they gained weight, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2014.

“Quitters had a significantly lower risk of death compared to smokers regardless of their weight change after they stopped smoking,” said Hisako Tsuji, M.D., lead author of the study.

Researchers compared deaths from all causes in 1,305 Japanese adults who quit smoking to deaths among 2,803 Japanese smokers. Participants in both groups were 65 percent men, average age 54. They based their findings on check-ups and follow-ups in 1997-2013 at the Health Examination Center of Moriguchi City in Osaka, Japan.

The three groups of quitters were: 362 men and women who experienced no weight gain; 458 who gained no more than two kilograms (four pounds, six ounces); and 485 who gained more than two kilograms.

Compared to the deaths of smokers, those who quit with no weight gain had a 34 percent lower risk of death; those who gained no more than two kilograms had a 49 percent lower risk of death; and those who gained more than two kilograms had a 26 percent lower risk of death, after adjustment for age, gender, hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia.

Hisako Tsuji, M.D., Health Examination Center, Health Promotion Department, Moriguchi City, Osaka, Japan

Embargo: 9:30 a.m. CT/10:30 a.m. ET
Abstract 19005 (Hall A2, Core 2)
Education and feedback may help improve heart health among high-risk groups

Using a smart phone app for education and feedback about heart-healthy behavior may decrease the risk for heart and blood vessel disease among young black women, researchers said in a pilot feasibility study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2014.

“We need to raise awareness among women and their healthcare providers of gender and racial differences in cardiovascular disease,” said Jo-Ann Eastwood, Ph.D., study lead author and associate professor at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Nursing. “Women are social by nature, and having the education and the connection with someone to coach them supports behavior change over time.”

Young black women are at increased risk of heart and blood vessel disease. Each year, 50,000 black women die of heart and blood vessel disease, and nearly half of black women age 20 years and older have some form of the disease.

The researchers assigned study participants to one of two groups based on church affiliation. The first group (the treatment group) attended a series of four classes about reducing risks for heart and blood vessel disease, while the second group did not. Each participant also received a smartphone with an app that measured physical activity and blood pressure, and sent automatic and individualized personal messages regarding study activities.

Researchers found differences that favored the treatment group, including better blood pressure and cholesterol levels, greater drops in stress and anxiety and increased healthy habits.

Participants included 49 black women between 25 and 45 years old with two risk factors for heart disease.

Jo-Ann Eastwood, Ph.D. can be reached through Laura Perry, Director, Communications, UCLA School of Nursing, Los Angeles, California

Embargo: 9:30 a.m. CT/10:30 a.m. ET
Abstract 20188 (Hall A2, Core 2)
Patients counseled on genetic heart disease risk feel they have more control over fate

Adults counseled on their genetic risk of coronary heart disease believe they have more control over their fate, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2014.

Researchers examined the impact of disclosing risk of 10-year heart disease with or without genetic risk information to 207 patients (48 percent male, average age 58) participating in Myocardial Infarction GENES (MI-GENES), a randomized controlled study.

The study’s key elements included a risk score based on established risk factors and a genetic risk score based on 28 single nucleotide polymorphisms; risk disclosure by a genetic counselor in a 30-minute session; and two questionnaires about patient satisfaction – perceived personal control and genetic counseling satisfaction.

Researchers found that patients who received the genetic risk information had a higher perceived personal control value compared to those who didn’t (8.85 vs. 8.54). Patients who received genetic risk information also reported a higher genetic counseling satisfaction (9.08 vs. 8.3).

“We have shown that disclosure of genetic risk led to increased perceived personal control  and counseling satisfaction, which are associated with the increased likelihood of adopting healthier behaviors that may reduce coronary heart disease risk,” said Christopher L. Robinson, lead author of the study.   MI-GENES Study information (PDF)

Christopher L. Robinson, M.D. candidate at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri

Embargo: 3 p.m. CT/4 p.m. ET
Abstract 16938 (Hall A2, Core 2)
Healthy diet linked to decreased blood-pressure measurements

A heart-healthy diet is related to decreased blood pressure measurements, researchers said in a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2014.

Elevated blood pressure is a major risk factor for the development of heart and blood vessel disease.  It is known that following U.S. dietary guidelines can decrease the risk for heart and blood vessel disease, their effects on specific blood pressure measurements were unclear. In this study, researchers found that blood pressure measurements were higher among study participants who did not follow the dietary guidelines.

“This research suggests that healthy eating habits, including a diet enriched with fruits, vegetables and whole grains and low in sodium and alcohol should be part of a primary cardiovascular prevention strategy as a means of maintaining a healthy blood pressure,” said Natalie Bello, M.D., M.P.H., study lead author and assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.

Participants included 12,445 volunteers at four U.S. sites in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. Their average age was 38 years old, and 52 percent were female. About one-fifth of participants smoked, and 10 percent had untreated high blood pressure.

Researchers used The Alternative Healthy Eating Index to assess participants’ adherence to U.S. dietary guidelines.

Natalie Bello, M.D.; Brigham and Women's Hospital, Brookline, Massachusetts

Embargo: 3 p.m. CT/4 p.m. ET
Abstract 18386 (Hall A2, Core 5)
Social media strategy may increase public awareness about donor heart needs

Using social media to deliver both emotional and concise medical content as well as the need for heart transplants and organs resulted in a higher engagement with members, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2014."

“Social media has not been used extensively in the healthcare industry, and if we can effectively bridge the gap between health education and medicine using social networks and peer influence, we can potentially have many beneficial applications to the healthcare system,” said Mohammad Soroya, lead author of the study.

Researchers created a paid pilot campaign that ran for seven days on Facebook, followed by peer-to-peer influencers within their respective social network delivering content to their audiences for a month. Peer influencers work through parasocial “broad” or “within” networks. Parasocial influencers have the highest engagement with their members. They can be the people you follow most, have the most in common with or those whose postings affect people within their network and those that the general public follow – such as celebrity influencers and political figures who simply have a large audience that follow them.

Click-through rates showed that engagement increased:

  • 23 percent during the initial paid campaign;
  • 21.1 percent with emotionally driven content;
  • 33.2 percent with infographics;
  • 7.6 percent with short educational videos.

“Establishing a community on a social network before tailoring content resulted in the best engagement. Content delivered by peer influencers within each outlying network was also highly effective in engaging and stimulating a dialogue and potentially improving attitudes about organ donation, Soroya said.”

Mohammad Soroya, undergraduate researcher, UCLA Health, Los Angeles, California

Additional Resources:

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Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

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