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January 2022 Br J Cardiol 2022;29(1) doi: 10.5837/bjc.2022.004

Effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on ST-elevation myocardial infarction presentation and survival

Sachintha Perera, Sudhir Rathore, Joanne Shannon, Peter Clarkson, Matthew Faircloth, Vinod Achan

Abstract

Presentation and outcomes of patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) may change during viral pandemics. We compared symptom-to-call (STC), call-to-balloon (CTB), door-to-balloon (DTB) times; high-sensitivity troponin (hs-cTnI) levels; and survival of patients (n=39) during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic (defined as a ‘COVID period’ starting four weeks before lockdown) to historical controls from a ‘pre-COVID period’ (n=45).

STEMI admissions fell one week before lockdown by 29%. Median STC times began to rise one month before lockdown (54 vs. 25 min, p=0.06), with peak increases between 9 March and 5 April (166 vs. 59 min, p=0.04). Median CTB and DTB times were unchanged. Mean peak hs-cTnI increased during COVID-19 (15,225 vs. 8,852 ng/ml, p=0.004). Six-month survival following all STEMI reduced (82.1% vs. 95.6%, p<0.05).

STC times are the earliest indicator that STEMI-patient behaviour changed four weeks before lockdown, correlating with higher troponin levels and reduced survival. These early signals could guide public health interventions during future pandemics.

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January 2022 Br J Cardiol 2022;29(1) doi: 10.5837/bjc.2022.005

Heart failure care pathways: the power of collaboration and marginal gains

Carys Barton, Simon Gordon, Afsana Safa, Carla M Plymen

Abstract

Heart failure (HF) is increasingly common and incurs a substantial cost, both in terms of quality and length of life, but also in terms of societal and economic impact. While significant gains are being made in the therapeutic management of HF, we continue to diagnose most patients when they are acutely unwell in hospital, often with advanced disease.

This article presents our experience in working collaboratively with primary care colleagues to redesign our HF pathway with the aim of facilitating earlier, community, diagnosis of HF. In so doing, and, thus, starting prognostic therapy much earlier in the course of the disease, we seek to avoid both the cost of emergency hospitalisation and the cost of poorer outcomes.

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January 2022 Br J Cardiol 2022;29(1) doi: 10.5837/bjc.2022.001

New agents for DOAC reversal: a practical management review

Katie White, Uzma Faruqi, Alexander (Ander) T Cohen

Abstract

Bleeding is the commonest and most concerning adverse event associated with anticoagulants. Bleeding, depending on the severity, is managed in various ways, and for severe or life-threatening bleeding, specific antidotes are indicated and recommended. This review provides guidance relating to specific direct oral anticoagulant (DOAC) reversal agents, the antidotes. We discuss their indications for use, dosing, and potential side effects.

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January 2022 Br J Cardiol 2022;29(1) doi: 10.5837/bjc.2022.002

Foundational drugs for HFrEF: the growing evidence for a rapid sequencing strategy

Kieran F Docherty, John J V McMurray

Abstract

In randomised, placebo- or active-controlled trials in patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF), each of the combination of a neprilysin inhibitor and an angiotensin-receptor blocker (i.e. sacubitril/valsartan), a beta blocker, a mineralocorticoid-receptor antagonist and a sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor have been shown to reduce morbidity and mortality, firmly establishing the role of these five agents, prescribed as four pills, as foundational therapy for HFrEF. Traditionally, the guideline-advocated strategy for the initiation of these therapies was based on the historical order in which the landmark clinical trials were performed, and the requirement to up-titrate each individual drug to the target dose (or maximally tolerated dose below this) prior to initiation of another therapy. This process could take six months or more to complete, during which time patients would not be taking one or more of these life-saving drugs. Recently an alternative, evidence-based, rapid three-step sequencing strategy has been proposed with the aim of establishing HFrEF patients on low-doses of all four foundational treatments within four weeks. This strategy is based on the premise that the benefits of each of these therapies are independent and additive to the others, the benefits are apparent at low doses early following initiation, and a specific ordering of therapies may increase likelihood of tolerance of others. This article will outline this novel rapid-sequencing strategy and provide an evidence-based framework to support its adoption into clinical practice.

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November 2021 Br J Cardiol 2021;28:125–6 doi: 10.5837/bjc.2021.047

Motivational interviewing and outcomes in primary preventive cardiology

Justin Lee Mifsud, Joseph Galea

Abstract

The European guidelines on cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention in clinical practice have focused on prevention through behaviour change by highlighting and promoting lifestyle therapies to better address the needs of individuals with a high-risk profile. Programmes using motivational interviewing are promising in encouraging lifestyle change. While motivational interviewing may support individuals to modify risk, its effectiveness remains uncertain. Here, we offer reflections on the application of motivational interviewing in preventive cardiology, areas of controversy, and glimpses of potential future lifestyle interventions using motivational interviewing to prevent CVD development.

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