In brief

Leave a comment
Click any image to enlarge

Calling all post-CCT cardiologists!

Have your say in gender differences, life work balance and other important issues. Consultant cardiologist, Dr Shareen Jaijee (Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London) is carrying out a Masters in Medical Leadership with Birkbeck University and the Royal College of Physicians studying gender, differences in perceptions and barriers at work, such as organisational support, work-life balance, professional satisfaction, career progression and attitudes to part-time work.

Large-scale studies examining these key aspects of work have been carried out in the US, but not within the UK and there is a significant data gap. The survey will take only 15–20 minutes to complete and will provide valuable insight in to the professional life of the UK cardiologist. Visit:

CASTLE-AF: AF ablation first-line therapy in HF?

Results from CASTLE-AF “indicate heart failure patients with co-existing AF should be treated with catheter ablation as a first-line therapy,” says the study’s co-lead investigator Dr Johannes Brachmann, (Coburg Clinic, Germany).

Following its presentation at the European Society of Cardiology meeting in 2017, the CASTLE-AF (The Catheter Ablation versus Standard Conventional Therapy in Patients with Left Ventricular Dysfunction and Atrial Fibrillation) study, described as “potentially guideline-changing”, has just been published (doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1707855).

CASTLE-AF is the world‘s first prospective, randomised, controlled trial to evaluate the effect of catheter-based radio-frequency ablation of atrial fibrillation (AF) on mortality and morbidity in comparison to conventional treatment in heart failure patients. Patients with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator or cardiac resynchronisation therapy defibrillator were randomised to receive either AF ablation or conventional pharmacological AF therapy.

The study showed a 38% reduction in the composite end point of all-cause mortality and hospitalisation for worsening heart failure, when catheter ablation was used to treat heart failure patients with AF compared to patients treated with the pharmacological therapy recommended by current guidelines.

“As the first AF catheter ablation study to confirm a positive composite end point of mortality and morbidity at a mean follow-up of more than three years, we expect CASTLE-AF to be a widely-discussed study, particularly with how it may change treatment guidelines,” said co-lead investigator, Dr Nassir Marrouche (CARMA Centre, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, USA). “The data suggests the procedure should be performed as early as possible to achieve ideal results.”

Organ donations – North of England the ‘most giving’

A recent analysis of the NHS release Organ Donation and Transplantation Activity Report shows that in 2016–17, the UK increased the number of deceased organ donors by 4% on the previous year to 1,413. There were also 1,043 living donors. Altogether 4,753 life-saving and life-transforming transplants were undertaken and the NHS succeeded in reaching a milestone figure, with 50,000 people alive today thanks to a transplant.

An analysis – by fitness experts company Nuyoo – shows that the North West gave the highest number of organs, at 162.

The figures show that there were 6,388 patients waiting for a life-saving transplant in 2017; 457 patients died while waiting for their transplant, and 875 were removed from the list altogether. Notably, there was an increase of 2% in the total number of heart transplants and a fall of 5% in the total number of lung or heart-lung transplants over the audit period.

PCCS inaugural meeting

‘Burning Issues in Cardiovascular Medicine’ has been announced as the theme for the inaugural meeting of the newly reformed Primary Care Cardiovascular Society (PCCS) meeting, which will be held on 16th May 2018 in London.

Professor Michael Norton (Sunderland) and Dr Kathryn Griffith (York) will co-chair the meeting, which will be reported in the BJC. The PCCS aims to support the management of cardiovascular disease and to represent primary care cardiovascular health needs at policy level. It also promotes best practice, training and service development and the development of primary care health care professionals in cardiovascular medicine.

The meeting will be held at the Hallam Conference Centre, 44 Hallam Street, Marylebone, London, W1W 6JJ. For further information or to register contact: [email protected] or telephone 01444 412772.

First incidence of stroke in England

A new report has been published which gives estimates of the number of patients experiencing their first ever stroke in England. Around 85,000 stroke admissions occur each year in England, resulting in an age-standardised admission rate of around 1.7 per 1,000 population in 2015–16. There are also around 32,000 stroke-related deaths each year in England, with an age-standardised mortality rate of 0.6 per 1,000 population in 2013–15.

The estimates of stroke are derived from primary care data that Public Health England (PHE) holds, in particular, data from the Health Improvement Network (THIN) GP database, which covers about 6% of the UK population. This can be accessed at: