Cardiology

Articles

Cardiology

Alcohol Abstinence in Drinkers with Atrial Fibrillation

BACKGROUND: Excessive alcohol consumption is associated with incident atrial fibrillation and adverse atrial remodeling; however, the effect of abstinence from alcohol on secondary prevention of atrial fibrillation is unclear. METHODS: We conducted a multicenter, prospective, open-label, randomized, controlled trial at six hospitals in Australia. Adults who consumed 10 or more standard drinks (with 1 standard drink containing approximately 12 g of pure alcohol) per week and who had paroxysmal or persistent atrial fibrillation in sinus rhythm at baseline were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to either abstain from alcohol or continue their usual alcohol consumption. The two primary end points were freedom from recurrence of atrial fibrillation (after a 2-week “blanking period”) and total atrial fibrillation burden (proportion of time in atrial fibrillation) during 6 months of follow-up. RESULTS: Of 140 patients who underwent randomization (85% men; mean [±SD] age, 62±9 years), 70 were assigned to the abstinence group and 70 to the control group. Patients in the abstinence group reduced their alcohol intake from 16.8±7.7 to 2.1±3.7 standard drinks per week (a reduction of 87.5%), and patients in the control group reduced their alcohol intake from 16.4±6.9 to 13.2±6.5 drinks per week (a reduction of 19.5%). After a 2-week blanking period, atrial fibrillation recurred in 37 of 70 patients (53%) in the abstinence group and in 51 of 70 patients (73%) in the control group. The abstinence group had a longer period before recurrence of atrial fibrillation than the control group (hazard ratio, 0.55; 95% confidence interval, 0.36 to 0.84; P=0.005). The atrial fibrillation burden over 6 months of follow-up was significantly lower in the abstinence group than in the control group (median percentage of time in atrial fibrillation, 0.5% [interquartile range, 0.0 to 3.0] vs. 1.2% [interquartile range, 0.0 to 10.3]; P=0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Abstinence from alcohol reduced arrhythmia recurrences in regular drinkers with atrial fibrillation.

Voskoboinik A., Kalman J.M., De Silva A. et al.january 2020

Cardiology

A Comparison of Two LDL Cholesterol Targets after Ischemic Stroke

BACKGROUND: The use of intensive lipid-lowering therapy by means of statin medications is recommended after transient ischemic attack (TIA) and ischemic stroke of atherosclerotic origin. The target level for low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol to reduce cardiovascular events after stroke has not been well studied. METHODS: In this parallel-group trial conducted in France and South Korea, we randomly assigned patients with ischemic stroke in the previous 3 months or a TIA within the previous 15 days to a target LDL cholesterol level of less than 70 mg per deciliter (1.8 mmol per liter) (lower-target group) or to a target range of 90 mg to 110 mg per deciliter (2.3 to 2.8 mmol per liter) (higher-target group). All the patients had evidence of cerebrovascular or coronary-artery atherosclerosis and received a statin, ezetimibe, or both. The composite primary end point of major cardiovascular events included ischemic stroke, myocardial infarction, new symptoms leading to urgent coronary or carotid revascularization, or death from cardiovascular causes. RESULTS: A total of 2860 patients were enrolled and followed for a median of 3.5 years; 1430 were assigned to each LDL cholesterol target group. The mean LDL cholesterol level at baseline was 135 mg per deciliter (3.5 mmol per liter), and the mean achieved LDL cholesterol level was 65 mg per deciliter (1.7 mmol per liter) in the lower-target group and 96 mg per deciliter (2.5 mmol per liter) in the higher-target group. The trial was stopped for administrative reasons after 277 of an anticipated 385 end-point events had occurred. The composite primary end point occurred in 121 patients (8.5%) in the lower-target group and in 156 (10.9%) in the higher-target group (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.78; 95% confidence interval, 0.61 to 0.98; P=0.04). The incidence of intracranial hemorrhage and newly diagnosed diabetes did not differ significantly between the two groups. CONCLUSIONS: After an ischemic stroke or TIA with evidence of atherosclerosis, patients who had a target LDL cholesterol level of less than 70 mg per deciliter had a lower risk of subsequent cardiovascular events than those who had a target range of 90 mg to 110 mg per deciliter.

Amarenco P., Kim J.S., Labreuche J. et al.january 2020

Cardiology

Efficacy and Safety of Low-Dose Colchicine after Myocardial Infarction

BACKGROUND: Experimental and clinical evidence supports the role of inflammation in atherosclerosis and its complications. Colchicine is an orally administered, potent antiinflammatory medication that is indicated for the treatment of gout and pericarditis. METHODS: We performed a randomized, double-blind trial involving patients recruited within 30 days after a myocardial infarction. The patients were randomly assigned to receive either low-dose colchicine (0.5 mg once daily) or placebo. The primary efficacy end point was a composite of death from cardiovascular causes, resuscitated cardiac arrest, myocardial infarction, stroke, or urgent hospitalization for angina leading to coronary revascularization. The components of the primary end point and safety were also assessed. RESULTS: A total of 4745 patients were enrolled; 2366 patients were assigned to the colchicine group, and 2379 to the placebo group. Patients were followed for a median of 22.6 months. The primary end point occurred in 5.5% of the patients in the colchicine group, as compared with 7.1% of those in the placebo group (hazard ratio, 0.77; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.61 to 0.96; P=0.02). The hazard ratios were 0.84 (95% CI, 0.46 to 1.52) for death from cardiovascular causes, 0.83 (95% CI, 0.25 to 2.73) for resuscitated cardiac arrest, 0.91 (95% CI, 0.68 to 1.21) for myocardial infarction, 0.26 (95% CI, 0.10 to 0.70) for stroke, and 0.50 (95% CI, 0.31 to 0.81) for urgent hospitalization for angina leading to coronary revascularization. Diarrhea was reported in 9.7% of the patients in the colchicine group and in 8.9% of those in the placebo group (P=0.35). Pneumonia was reported as a serious adverse event in 0.9% of the patients in the colchicine group and in 0.4% of those in the placebo group (P=0.03). CONCLUSIONS: Among patients with a recent myocardial infarction, colchicine at a dose of 0.5 mg daily led to a significantly lower risk of ischemic cardiovascular events than placebo.

Tardif J.-C., Kouz S., Waters D.D. et al.december 2019

Cardiology

Reduced Leaflet Motion after Transcatheter Aortic-Valve Replacement

BACKGROUND: Subclinical leaflet thickening and reduced leaflet motion of bioprosthetic aortic valves have been documented by four-dimensional computed tomography (CT). Whether anticoagulation can reduce these phenomena after transcatheter aortic-valve replacement (TAVR) is not known. METHODS: In a substudy of a large randomized trial, we randomly assigned patients who had undergone successful TAVR and who did not have an indication for long-term anticoagulation to a rivaroxaban-based antithrombotic strategy (rivaroxaban [10 mg] plus aspirin [75 to 100 mg] once daily) or an antiplatelet-based strategy (clopidogrel [75 mg] plus aspirin [75 to 100 mg] once daily). Patients underwent evaluation by four-dimensional CT at a mean (±SD) of 90±15 days after randomization. The primary end point was the percentage of patients with at least one prosthetic valve leaflet with grade 3 or higher motion reduction (i.e., involving >50% of the leaflet). Leaflet thickening was also assessed. RESULTS: A total of 231 patients were enrolled. At least one prosthetic valve leaflet with grade 3 or higher motion reduction was found in 2 of 97 patients (2.1%) who had scans that could be evaluated in the rivaroxaban group, as compared with 11 of 101 (10.9%) in the antiplatelet group (difference, −8.8 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], −16.5 to −1.9; P=0.01). Thickening of at least one leaflet was observed in 12 of 97 patients (12.4%) in the rivaroxaban group and in 33 of 102 (32.4%) in the antiplatelet group (difference, −20.0 percentage points; 95% CI, −30.9 to −8.5). In the main trial, the risk of death or thromboembolic events and the risk of life-threatening, disabling, or major bleeding were higher with rivaroxaban (hazard ratios of 1.35 and 1.50, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: In a substudy of a trial involving patients without an indication for long-term anticoagulation who had undergone successful TAVR, a rivaroxaban-based antithrombotic strategy was more effective than an antiplatelet-based strategy in preventing subclinical leaflet-motion abnormalities. However, in the main trial, the rivaroxaban-based strategy was associated with a higher risk of death or thromboembolic complications and a higher risk of bleeding than the antiplatelet-based strategy.

De Backer O., Dangas G.D., Jilaihawi H. et al.january 2020

Cardiology

A Controlled Trial of Rivaroxaban after Transcatheter Aortic-Valve Replacement

BACKGROUND: Whether the direct factor Xa inhibitor rivaroxaban can prevent thromboembolic events after transcatheter aortic-valve replacement (TAVR) is unclear. METHODS: We randomly assigned 1644 patients without an established indication for oral anticoagulation after successful TAVR to receive rivaroxaban at a dose of 10 mg daily (with aspirin at a dose of 75 to 100 mg daily for the first 3 months) (rivaroxaban group) or aspirin at a dose of 75 to 100 mg daily (with clopidogrel at a dose of 75 mg daily for the first 3 months) (antiplatelet group). The primary efficacy outcome was the composite of death or thromboembolic events. The primary safety outcome was major, disabling, or life-threatening bleeding. The trial was terminated prematurely by the data and safety monitoring board because of safety concerns. RESULTS: After a median of 17 months, death or a first thromboembolic event (intention-to-treat analysis) had occurred in 105 patients in the rivaroxaban group and in 78 patients in the antiplatelet group (incidence rates, 9.8 and 7.2 per 100 person-years, respectively; hazard ratio with rivaroxaban, 1.35; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.01 to 1.81; P=0.04). Major, disabling, or life-threatening bleeding (intention-to-treat analysis) had occurred in 46 and 31 patients, respectively (4.3 and 2.8 per 100 person-years; hazard ratio, 1.50; 95% CI, 0.95 to 2.37; P=0.08). A total of 64 deaths occurred in the rivaroxaban group and 38 in the antiplatelet group (5.8 and 3.4 per 100 person-years, respectively; hazard ratio, 1.69; 95% CI, 1.13 to 2.53). CONCLUSIONS: In patients without an established indication for oral anticoagulation after successful TAVR, a treatment strategy including rivaroxaban at a dose of 10 mg daily was associated with a higher risk of death or thromboembolic complications and a higher risk of bleeding than an antiplatelet-based strategy.

Dangas G.D., Tijssen J.G.P., Wöhrle J. et al.january 2020

Cardiology

Early Surgery or Conservative Care for Asymptomatic Aortic Stenosis

BACKGROUND: The timing and indications for surgical intervention in asymptomatic patients with severe aortic stenosis remain controversial. METHODS: In a multicenter trial, we randomly assigned 145 asymptomatic patients with very severe aortic stenosis (defined as an aortic-valve area of ≤0.75 cm2 with either an aortic jet velocity of ≥4.5 m per second or a mean transaortic gradient of ≥50 mm Hg) to early surgery or to conservative care according to the recommendations of current guidelines. The primary end point was a composite of death during or within 30 days after surgery (often called operative mortality) or death from cardiovascular causes during the entire follow-up period. The major secondary end point was death from any cause during follow-up. RESULTS: In the early-surgery group, 69 of 73 patients (95%) underwent surgery within 2 months after randomization, and there was no operative mortality. In an intention-to-treat analysis, a primary end-point event occurred in 1 patient in the early-surgery group (1%) and in 11 of 72 patients in the conservative-care group (15%) (hazard ratio, 0.09; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.01 to 0.67; P=0.003). Death from any cause occurred in 5 patients in the early-surgery group (7%) and in 15 patients in the conservative-care group (21%) (hazard ratio, 0.33; 95% CI, 0.12 to 0.90). In the conservative-care group, the cumulative incidence of sudden death was 4% at 4 years and 14% at 8 years. CONCLUSIONS: Among asymptomatic patients with very severe aortic stenosis, the incidence of the composite of operative mortality or death from cardiovascular causes during the follow-up period was significantly lower among those who underwent early aortic-valve replacement surgery than among those who received conservative care.

Kang D.-H., Park S.-J., Lee S.-A. et al.january 2020