August 2017 Br J Cardiol 2017;24:90–2 doi:10.5837/bjc.2017.022
Adam J Graham, Richard J Schilling
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is known to increase stroke risk and can be stratified clinically by the CHA2DS2-VASc scoring system, which then informs recommendations for long-term anticoagulation. Susceptibility to thromboembolism is also increased around the time of catheter ablation of AF. Mechanistically, this is accounted for by endothelial injury, hypercoagulability due to contact of blood with foreign surfaces and altered blood flow after conversion to normal sinus rhythm (figure 1).1 The risk of stroke persists post-ablation, even in patients with low CHA2DS2-VASc scores, as the atria may remain stunned for several weeks post-ablation, and the endothelium takes time to heal. This phenomenon forms the rationale for guidelines currently recommending anticoagulation for two to three months post-ablation.2
June 2017 Br J Cardiol 2017;24:47-8 doi:http://doi.org/10.5837/bjc.2017.014
Adrian J B Brady
In troubled times, in a sea of uncertainty, it is easy to forget that the UK remains the envy of the world in one aspect at least: the delivery of a national health service (NHS). The structure and organisation of UK general practice; the existence and authority of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) – with national guidance and local dissemination and structured implementation – remain the envy of the world. While our European neighbours stand by holding each other’s coats as Brexit rumbles on, we forget that each of these nations gazes at our health service and wishes they had one just like ours.
March 2017 Br J Cardiol 2017;24:11–12 doi:10.5837/bjc.2017.005
Simon G Anderson, Nigel Beckett, Adam C Pichel, Terry McCormack
Hypertension remains a significant burden on mortality and morbidity, contributing to increasing costs to healthcare provision globally. There is detailed evidence-based guidance on the diagnosis and treatment of hypertension in the community, however, during the peri-operative period for elective surgery, consideration of an elevated blood pressure remains a conundrum. This is a consequence of paucity of evidence, particularly around specific blood pressure cut-offs deemed to be clinically safe. Postponement of planned surgical procedures due to elevated blood pressure is a common reason to cancel necessary surgery. A sprint audit of 11 West London Hospitals with national audit data indicated that the number of cancellations was 1–3%, equating to approximately 100 cancellations per day in the UK.1 This suggests that approximately 39,730 patients per year may have had a cancellation of a surgical procedure owing to a finding of pre-operative hypertension.2 The Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI) together with the British Hypertension Society (BHS) recognise the need for a nationally agreed policy statement on how to deal with raised blood pressure in the pre-operative period and have jointly published guidelines titled: “The measurement of adult blood pressure and management of hypertension before elective surgery” in the journal Anaesthesia.2
January 2017 Br J Cardiol 2017;24:(1) doi:10.5837/bjc.2017.002 Online First
Harshil Dhutia, Sanjay Sharma
The promotion of exercise as a positive and powerful health intervention has never been more important, when consideration is given to the global epidemic of disease states related to a sedentary lifestyle. However, intensive exercise may be a trigger for sudden cardiac death in individuals harbouring quiescent cardiovascular diseases. Indeed, hereditary and congenital abnormalities of the heart are the most common cause of non-traumatic death during sport in young athletes.1
November 2016 Br J Cardiol 2016;23:127 doi:10.5837/bjc.2016.035
Following Brexit, like many other people with Irish parents, I started the process of applying for an Irish passport. The Irish embassy website informed me, to my surprise, that I had become an Irish citizen on the day I was born. Despite that status, and despite owning a home in County Kerry, I have to admit I know very little about the Irish healthcare system. In fact, having worked my entire life in English healthcare, I do not fully understand the systems in the other three constituent countries of the UK either. My career has mostly involved both primary and secondary care, so I do understand the issues and difficulties of communication between hospitals and general practitioners (GPs).
November 2016 Br J Cardiol 2016;23:130–1 doi:10.5837/bjc.2016.036
Nicholas D Gollop
Ischaemic heart disease (IHD) is the leading cause of mortality worldwide.1 It is a debilitating, life-changing illness that can reduce quality of life and life-expectancy. While surgical, percutaneous and optimal medical interventions can significantly improve the clinical course of the disease, our understanding of the biopsychosocial mechanisms promoting survival following an acute IHD event, such as an acute coronary syndrome (ACS), is still limited.
October 2016 Br J Cardiol 2016;23:128 doi:10.5837/bjc.2016.031
Over and over we hear the message that healthcare spending is out of control, the National Health Service (NHS) needs to save £20 billion and that is before the baby boom* generation fully enters the most expensive part of their healthcare journey…
August 2016 Br J Cardiol 2016;23:91–2 doi:10.5837/bjc.2016.027
John B Chambers, Martin H Thornhill, Mark Dayer, David Shanson
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has made an important change to Clinical Guideline 64 (CG64)1 adding the word ‘routinely’ to Recommendation 1.1.3: “Antibiotic prophylaxis against infective endocarditis is not recommended routinely for people undergoing dental procedures”. In a letter about the change,2 Sir Andrew Dillon, CEO of NICE, confirmed that “… in individual cases, antibiotic prophylaxis may be appropriate”.
August 2016 Br J Cardiol 2016;23:87–8 doi:10.5837/bjc.2016.026
Jonathan Evans, Amitava Banerjee
Compared with other diseases, cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are responsible for the greatest burden of disease both globally1 and in the UK.2 Drugs for CVD and its risk factors have always been represented in the list of international blockbuster drugs. Important research innovations, such as ‘learning health systems’, ‘precision medicine’ and electronic health record (EHR)-based trials, have been led by professionals in the field of cardiology. Cardiovascular scientists from the UK have a long and strong history of research contributions with international impact. Training in cardiology is critical, not only in preparing and mentoring the clinical and academic cardiologists of the future, but also in shaping how the specialty is perceived from inside and outside. Global health and data science are overarching themes that offer new lenses through which to view CVD and cardiology. However, cardiology training in the UK barely pays lip service to either of these issues, when their implications have never been greater or more acute on our specialty.
July 2016 Br J Cardiol 2016;23:85–6 doi:10.5837/bjc.2016.023 Online First
Sushant Saluja, Pavel Janousek, Khalil Kawafi, Simon G Anderson
The coronary artery calcium (CAC) score is widely believed to be an important tool in determining the risk of developing heart disease. The measurement of this score has traditionally been based on using electrocardiography triggered computed tomography (CT). This confers an advantage over non-gated CT scanning by acquiring images during diastole, which reduces motion artefact and avoids missing areas of coronary artery calcification. Radiologists are, therefore, cautious when reporting CAC on non-gated CT scans due to concerns that it may not be accurate. This means that there is currently no obligation, from a radiology perspective, to report on the degree of CAC on non-gated CT scans. While this has been acceptable for a long time, emerging evidence may force us to change our practise.