Psoriasis medication for heart disease prevention, the role of artificial sweeteners in different types of stroke, and 3 other noteworthy findings from American Heart Month.
American Heart Month is coming to an end and over the course of the month, there were many new cardiovascular studies published, perhaps too many to keep track of. From the use of psoriasis medication to prevent heart disease to the potential role of artificial sweeteners in different types of stroke, there was no shortage of interesting new findings.
That is why we compiled this short review of 5 noteworthy cardiovascular studies that primary care physicians should know about. Click through the slideshow above to get the highlights of studies you may have seen – or missed – during American Heart Month.
Psoriasis medication effective in heart disease prevention. A new study published in Cardiovascular Research found that anti-inflammatory biologic therapy, usually used for the treatment of severe psoriasis, reduces coronary artery plaque. Researchers analyzed 121 patients with severe psoriasis and low cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, who qualified for biologic treatment. After 1 year, patients receiving biologic therapy had a 5% reduction in total coronary plaque burden, 6% reduction in noncalcified plaque burden, and a 57% reduction in necrotic core with no effect on fibrous burden. In a press release from the European Society of Cardiology, study author Nehal Mehta, MD, said the study “provides the first evidence that biologic therapy is associated with coronary plaque reduction and stabilization, and provides strong rationale for conduct of a randomized trial testing the impact of biologic therapy on the progression of coronary disease in patients with psoriasis.”
Influenza-like illness increases stroke risk. Patients who contract an influenza-like illness (ILI) have an increased risk of stroke, according to a new study presented at the American Stroke Association’s (ASA) International Stroke Conference in February. Researchers analyzed 30 912 patients who had an ischemic stroke in 2014 and, among them, the patients who had an ILI faced a 40% increased risk of stroke in the 15 days following an ILI. Contrary to the authors’ original hypothesis, there was no difference in risk between rural and urban areas. “Instead we found the association between flu-like illness and stroke was similar between people living in rural and urban areas, as well as for men and women, and among racial groups,” said lead author Amelia Boehme, PhD, in a press release from the American Heart Association (AHA).
A diet soda a day does not keep stroke risk away. A new study in the journal Stroke found that postmenopausal women who have a high intake of artificially sweetened beverages (ASB) are at an increased risk for stroke, coronary heart disease (CHD), and all-cause mortality. The observational study included 81 714 postmenopausal women who reported how often they consumed diet drinks (eg, low calorie artificially sweetened colas, sodas, and fruit drinks) in the previous 3 months at the 3-year follow-up visit. According to a press release from the AHA, researchers found that women who consumed ≥2 ASB drinks per day were 23% more likely to have a stroke, 31% more likely to have an ischemic stroke, 29% more likely to develop heart disease, and 16% more likely to die from any cause vs women who consumed ASB drinks less than once a week or not at all.
E-cigarette use linked to higher risk of stroke. Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, were found to be associated with higher odds of stroke, myocardial infarction (MI), and angina or CHD, according to data presented at the ASA’s International Stroke Conference in February. In the first study known to assess the potential relationship between "vaping" and stroke, the researchers conducted an analysis of the 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System that included 66 795 patients who reported ever regularly using e-cigarettes and 343 856 patients that reported never using e-cigarettes. Compared with nonusers, patients that used e-cigarettes had higher adjusted odds of stroke (OR 1.71 [1.64-1.8]), MI (OR 1.59 [1.53-1.66]), and angina or CHD (OR 1.4 [1.35-1.46]).
Human papilloma virus tied to increased CVD risk. Authors of a new study published in the journal Circulation Research found that women with high-risk strains of human papilloma virus (HPV) have an increased risk for CVD. The study followed 63 411 Korean women aged ≥30 years without CVD at baseline who underwent a high-risk HPV test. In a press release from the AHA, researchers concluded that women with high-risk HPV were 22% more likely to develop CVD vs uninfected women. The likelihood of CVD increased even more when high-risk HPV occurred in combination with obesity or metabolic syndrome.