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VIDEO: Best Practices for Nuclear Cardiology During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Coronavirus (COVID-19) | April 04, 2020

Hicham Skali, M.D., a staff cardiologist and member of the Non-invasive Cardiovascular Imaging Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), and at Brigham and Women’s / Massachusetts General Health Care Center at Foxborough, explains the new recommendations from the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) and from imagers in China and Singapore. The ASNC created a best practices document for nuclear cardiology laboratories during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. The suggestions in the guidelines can ally to any imaging modality, including computed tomography (CT), MRI and ultrasound. 

Skali elaborates on the following points in his discussion, which are specific recommendations in the ASNC and SNMMI COVID-19 guidance document:
   • Rescheduling non-urgent visits
   • Rescheduling elective surgeries and procedures
   • Using separate spaces for patients with known or suspected COVID-19 to prevent spread
   • Ensuring supplies are available
   • Promoting use of telehealth
   • Screen staff, patients and visitors before they enter the department
   • Minimize non-essential visitors into the department
   • Record symptoms at the start of the shift
   • Use personal protective equipment (PPE)for healthcare personnel
   • If available, use PPE for patients due to concern of asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19
   • Maintain strict hand hygiene
   • Maintain 6 feet distance in all patient/staff interactions when possible
   • Work remotely whenever feasible, especially with ready studies
   • Rotating staff schedules for on-site and off-site work
   • Use of rest only studies if possible
   • Use of half-time SPECT to speed exam times
   • Use of PET if available to speed exam times

Skali served as the moderator in for the ASNC on demand webinar COVID-19 Preparedness for Nuclear Cardiology Labs: Insights from the US, China and Singapore.

VIDEO: Telemedicine in Cardiology and Medical Imaging During COVID-19 — Interview with Regina Druz, M.D., an ASNC Board member and also a speaker during the ASNC webinar.

Find more news and video on relating to COVID-19 and its impact on cardiology

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) | April 04, 2020

Hicham Skali, M.D., a staff cardiologist and member of the Non-invasive Cardiovascular Imaging Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), and at Brigham and Women’s / Massachusetts General Health Care Center at Foxborough, explains the new recommendations from the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) and from imagers in China and Singapore. The ASNC created a best practices document for nuclear cardiology laboratories during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. The suggestions in the guidelines can ally to any imaging modality, including computed tomography (CT), MRI and ultrasound. 

Skali elaborates on the following points in his discussion, which are specific recommendations in the ASNC and SNMMI COVID-19 guidance document:
   • Rescheduling non-urgent visits
   • Rescheduling elective surgeries and procedures
   • Using separate spaces for patients with known or suspected COVID-19 to prevent spread
   • Ensuring supplies are available
   • Promoting use of telehealth
   • Screen staff, patients and visitors before they enter the department
   • Minimize non-essential visitors into the department
   • Record symptoms at the start of the shift
   • Use personal protective equipment (PPE)for healthcare personnel
   • If available, use PPE for patients due to concern of asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19
   • Maintain strict hand hygiene
   • Maintain 6 feet distance in all patient/staff interactions when possible
   • Work remotely whenever feasible, especially with ready studies
   • Rotating staff schedules for on-site and off-site work
   • Use of rest only studies if possible
   • Use of half-time SPECT to speed exam times
   • Use of PET if available to speed exam times

Skali served as the moderator in for the ASNC on demand webinar COVID-19 Preparedness for Nuclear Cardiology Labs: Insights from the US, China and Singapore.

VIDEO: Telemedicine in Cardiology and Medical Imaging During COVID-19 — Interview with Regina Druz, M.D., an ASNC Board member and also a speaker during the ASNC webinar.

Find more news and video on relating to COVID-19 and its impact on cardiology

Structural Heart | April 03, 2020

Basel Ramlawi, M.D., chairman of The Heart and Vascular Center at Valley Health System in Virginia, director of the Advanced Valve and Aortic Center, and co-principal investigator for an American College of Cardiology (ACC) 2020 Scientific Session late-breaking trial that looks at the clinical implications of TAVR in patients who have bicuspid aortic valve leaflets offers an overview of the data from ACC.20.

Patients with bicuspid, or two-leaflet, aortic valves who undergo transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedures had a high rate of success and low risk of death or disabling stroke at 30 days, according to new data presented at the ACC 2020. The session was part of the virtual, online late-breaking presentations, since the live meeting was cancelled due to the spread of COVID-19. 

TAVR has become increasingly popular in recent years as a less-invasive alternative to open-heart valve replacement surgery. However, few studies have examined its safety in patients with a bicuspid valve, a genetic variation of the aortic valve in some patients, rather than the typic three-leaflet valve. The condition affecting roughly 2-5 percent of people in which two of the three flaps in the aortic valve are fused together.

A bicuspid valve is more likely to become stenosis. Valve replacement, either through TAVR or open-heart surgery, is the main treatment option available for people with severe aortic stenosis, which causes fatigue and other symptoms and raises the risk of other heart problems when left untreated. The new study is the first to prospectively examine TAVR’s safety for treating severe aortic stenosis in relatively young, healthy patients—in whom open-heart surgery would pose a low risk—who have a bicuspid valve. It also is one of the first studies involving such patients in which doctors used a newer self-expanding artificial valve.

“This clearly has clinical implications with patients with bicuspid valves who want TAVR," said Basel Ramlawi, M.D., cardiothoracic surgeon at Valley Health System in Virginia and the study’s co-principal investigator. "TAVR with a self-expanding prosthesis is a very viable and safe procedure in low-risk bicuspid patients and achieved excellent early results. Though additional follow-up is necessary to determine long-term outcomes, early results suggest this procedure can be performed successfully in low-risk individuals with a good outcome.” 

The study prospectively tracked 150 patients who underwent TAVR at 25 medical centers in the U.S. 

Read the aricle on the study

 

Find more ACC news and video

 

 

Structural Heart | April 01, 2020

A review of the PARTNER 3 Low-Risk Trial with Michael Mack, M.D., chairman, cardiovascular service line,  Baylor Scott and White Health, Dallas Texas, chairman of the board of the BSW Health Research institute, Dallas, and co-principal investigator of the trial. The PARTNER 3 Low-Risk Trial two-year data were presented as a late-breaking study at the virtual American College of Cardiology (ACC) 2020 annual meeting. The trial offers additional evidence that TAVR performs as well as surgery in select low-risk patients. 

Mack said the trial included patients over the age of 65, and there is still a question about long-term durability of the Sapien 3 TAVR valve used in trial before it is used in younger patients. He said patients in this trial will be tracked out to 10 years, which will offer a lot of information on durability of the current iteration of this valve. In the video, he also elaborates on TAVR issues involved with bicuspid aortic valves and other patient selection issues.

PARTNER 3 enrolled 1,000 patients with severe aortic stenosis and a Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) risk score of less than 4 percent. All patients had a tricuspid aortic valve. Half of the participants were randomly assigned to undergo TAVR and half underwent surgery. At two years, 11.5 percent of patients receiving TAVR and 17.4 percent of those receiving surgery died, suffered a stroke or were rehospitalized for cardiovascular problems, a difference in the composite primary endpoint that researchers reported as showing non-inferiority, meaning neither treatment was superior to the other.

In a secondary analysis, rates of death and stroke were found to be not significantly different between the two groups. Death occurred in 2.4 percent of those receiving TAVR and 3.2 percent of those receiving surgery, while stroke occurred in 2.4 percent of those receiving TAVR and 3.6 percent of those receiving surgery. Rehospitalization rates showed a significant difference in favor of TAVR; 8.5 percent of those receiving TAVR and 12.5 percent of those receiving surgery were rehospitalized for cardiovascular reasons during the study period. 

Read more details about this trial 

Read the one year trial results from ACC 2019

Find other ACC news and videos
 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) | March 26, 2020

Regina Druz, M.D., FASNC, a member of the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) Board of Directors, chairwomen of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Healthcare Innovation Section, and a cardiologist at Integrative Cardiology Center of Long Island, N.Y., explains the rapid expansion of telemedicine with the U.S. spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2).

Druz spoken on the unprecedented expansion of telemedicine in the U.S., which more use in the last two weeks since states started calling for shelter in place orders, as opposed to the past two decades. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) previously only reimbursed for Telehealth in rural areas it determined had a shortage of doctors. However, in early March 2020, CMS dropped the geographic requirements and allowed Telehealth usage across th country as a way to mitigate person-to-person contact and keep vulnerable, older patients at home for routine check ups with doctors.

Druz has subspecialty certifications in nuclear cardiology, adult echocardiography and cardiac computed tomography (CT) and explains how Telehealth can be used to pre-screen patients and get patient sign off on procedures prior to coming in for an exam, helping speed the process in the hospital and limit personal contact.

Concerns about the rpaid spread of COVID-19 also has driven many radiology departments to convert to wider use of teleradiology to allow more radiologists to work from home and reduce person-to-person contact within the hospitals. 

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopt a $200 million telehealth program to support healthcare providers responding to the
ongoing coronavirus pandemic on April 2, 2020. Read more from the FCC.

CMS Expand Medicare Telehealth Benefits During COVID-19 Outbreak, including dropping requirements for rural health locations only, opening telehealth for use across the United States.

Watch the related VIDEO: Use of Teleradiology During the COVID-19 Pandemic — an interview with John Kim, M.D., chairman, Department of Radiology, THR Presbyterian Plano, Texas, and chief technology officer at Texas Radiology Associates.

Recommendations from Druz are also included in the Best Practices for Nuclear Cardiology Laboratories During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic
 

 

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FFR Technologies | March 26, 2020

James Udelson, M.D., chief of the division of cardiology, Tufts Medical Center, explains how cardiac computed tomography (CT) scans are being used to create image-derived fractional flow reserve (FFR) values to determine if a coronary lesion is flow limiting. The FFR-CT can help determine if the patient needs a stent, or if the disease can be treated with medication. Tufts uses FFR-CT evaluations on non-emergency chest pain patients to reduce the need for diagnostic catheterizations. 

 

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Find more news and video from Tufts Medical Center

 

 

Structural Heart Occluders | March 24, 2020

Interview with Carey Kimmelstiel, M.D., FACP, FACC, director, cardiac catheterization laboratory, director, interventional cardiology, Tufts Medical Center, discusses the patent foramen ovale (PFO) closure program at Tufts.  

Tufts was the lead enrollment site in the Gore and Amplatzer PFO closure device trials. The center works closely with both neurology to select patients who might benefits from PFO closure to help prevent cryptogenic stroke and or migraine headaches. Tufts uses structural heart transcatheter occuders in various anatomical positions and in the left atrial appendage (LAA).

 

Related PFO Closure Content:

VIDEO: How Transcatheter PFO Closure Can Reduce Cryptogenic Stroke — Interview with John Rhodes, M.D.

SCAI Offers Recommendations for Safe Use of PFO Closure Technologies

VIDEO: An Overview of PFO Closure to Treat Cryptogenic Stroke — Interview with Karen Orjuela, M.D.

VIDEO: Demonstration of a Transcatheter PFO Occluder Implantation

VIDEO: Addressing Adult Congenital Heart Referrals — Interview with Ami Bhatt, M.D.

VIDEO: Transcatheter Closure of Holes in the Heart — Interview with Ziyad Hijazi, M.D.
 

Find more videos and content on the Tufts Medical Center

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) | March 20, 2020

An interview with Ehtisham Mahmud, M.D., FSCAI, chief, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, executive director of medicine, Cardiovascular Institute, director of  interventional cardiology and cardiac cath lab at UC San Diego Medical Center, and president of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI). He explains the how cardiology departments in the U.S. are now postponing cardiovascular procedures due to novel coronavirus (COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2) containment efforts and new guidelines from Medicare calling for delay of all elective procedures in the country. 

Mahmud explains how patients are being prioritized, with acute myocardial infarction patients or others with acute, life-threatening conditions, or at high risk for a near term hospital admission, will still receive cardiac catheterizations, cardiovascular surgery or structural heart procedures for MitraClip and transcatheter aortic replacement (TAVR) under certain circumstances. All other procedures are being postponed until further notice based in the spread and infection rates of COVID-19. He said most hospitals, including his own, are moving to telehealth visits via phone or online to continue clinic work with patients, including those with chronic conditions such as heart failure.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced March 18, 2020, that all elective surgeries, and non-essential medical, surgical and dental procedures should be delayed during the coronavirus outbreak. This move is three-fold. 
   1. It is to help with containment efforts by reducing patient and family travel to hospitals, which are at the center of the COVID-19 outbreak. 
   2. Delaying procedures will help preserve and inventory of personal protective equipment (PPE), hospital beds and ventilators and other medical supplies. 
   3. With the start of social distancing and the shut down of all large gatherings, this has severely impacted blood drives and other blood donations, so the nation's blood banks have severely limited supplies.

“The reality is clear and the stakes are high — we need to preserve personal protective equipment for those on the front lines of this fight,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

This will not only preserve equipment but also free up the healthcare workforce to care for the patients who are most in need. Additionally, as states and the nation as a whole work toward limiting the spread of COVID-19, healthcare providers should encourage patients to remain home, unless there is an emergency, to protect others while also limiting their exposure to the virus. 

Read Mahmud's SCAI President's letter The Evolving Pandemic of COVID-19 and Interventional Cardiology

 

Related Cardiology Related COVID-19 Content:

ACC COVID-19 recommendations for the cardiovascular care team

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The Cardiac Implications of Novel Coronavirus

ESC Council on Hypertension Says ACE-I and ARBs Do Not Increase COVID-19 Mortality

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CT Imaging of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Pneumonia

CT Imaging Features of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

Chest CT Findings of Patients Infected With Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV Pneumonia 

 

Additional COVID-19 Resources for Clinicians:

   ACC COVID-19 Hub page   

   Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center with inteavtive map of cases in U.S. and worldwide 

   World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 situation reports

   World Health Organization (WHO) coronavirus information page

   U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) COVID-19 information page

   Centers for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 information page

   Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) frequently asked questions and answers (FAQs) for healthcare providers regarding COVID-19 related payments
 

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) | March 18, 2020

This is a quick overview of clinical data on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as of March 17, 2020. It offers a brief overview on how the virus works, death rates by comorbities (with cardiovascular disease being the most lethal), lessons from the frontlines on coronavirus, and what to watch to determine if patient care should be escalated

Watch the related VIDEO: What Cardiologists Need to Know about COVID-19, an interview with Thomas Maddox, M.D., MSc, FACC, the chairman of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Science and Quality Committee, which recently created the ACC document on novel coronavirus (COVID-19) clinical guidance for the cardiovascular care team.

Editor's Note: This video was created by Jay Mohan, D.O., RPVI, interventional cardiology fellow at William Beaumont Hospital (Royal Oak). He is cardiology and internal medicine, echocardiography and nuclear cardiology board certified. He also serves as vice president of the Dr. Ramesh Kumar Foundation. He created this video with downtime March 17 because of elective cases being cancelled due to COVID-19 containment efforts.

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) | March 17, 2020

Interview with Thomas Maddox, M.D., MSc, FACC, the chairman of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Science and Quality Committee, which recently created the ACC document on novel coronavirus (COVID-19) clinical guidance for the cardiovascular care team. He explains the document and what cardiologists and the cardiac care team needs to know about caring for COVID-19 patients. The document points out COVID-19 combined with the comorbidity of cardiovascular disease has the mortality of any comorbidity, as high as 10.5 percent.

He explains the need for more serious attention to protective equipment, cardiovascular complications seen in COVID-19 (SARS‐CoV‐2) patients, suggestions on how to mitigate exposure if an echo or cath is required, and other considerations for the CV care team. He said the document will be updated on a regular bases and the committee is drafting other sets of related COVID-19 guidelines for cardiology departments.

Updates regarding COVID-19 and cardiology will be posted on the ACC COVID-19 Hub page.

Maddox is also the executive director of the Healthcare Innovation Lab of BJC Healthcare and Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis. He is also an assistant professor of cardiology at Washington University.

Read more on ACC COVID-19 recommendations for the cardiovascular care team.

 

Additional COVID-19 Resources for Clinicians:

   World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 situation reports

   World Health Organization (WHO) coronavirus information page

   U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) COVID-19 information page

   Centers for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 information page

   Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) frequently asked questions and answers (FAQs) for healthcare providers regarding COVID-19 related payments
 

 

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) | March 17, 2020

Interview with Mike Stone, M.D., an emergency physician at Northwest Acute Care Specialists in Portland, Ore., director of point of care ultrasound education at Butterfly Network Inc., and and former chief of the division of emergency ultrasound at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston. He explains what clinicians look for in lung ultrasound to evaluate patients for plural wall thickening and areas of congestion inside the lung typical of pneumonia and seen in patients with novel coronavirus (COVID-19, also referred to clinically as SARS-COV-2). 

Small hand-held ultrasound systems may offer advantages over X-ray or computed tomography (CT), because the entire system can be contained inside a protective sheath, making it easier to disinfect the device rather than an entire imaging room. Point of care ultrasound (POCUS) systems also allow triage of patients in tents or other areas outside of the hospital where other imaging modalities are not available. 

Stone shares examples of COVID-19 ultrasound images from Butterfly Network POCUS system technology, which turns an iPhone into an FDA-cleared ultrasound device for multiple POCUS exam types. It is the first POCUS system reported to be used for triage and monitoring COVID-19 patients. 
 

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Heart Failure | March 13, 2020

Interview with Navin Kapur, M.D., FAHA, FACC, FSCAI, executive director, The CardioVascular Center for Research and Innovation (CVCRI), and director of Cardiac Biology Research Center, Molecular Cardiology Research Institute (MCRI), Tufts Medical Center, Boston. He explains how temporary occlusion of the superior vena cava (SVC) appears to help reset the heart to normal function in heart failure patients. Kapur is currently involved in a trial using the PreCardia device pioneered at Tufts Medical Center.

Read more about the first late-breaking presentation of this technology at SCAI 2019 — Novel Therapeutic Approach Effective at Reducing Pressure for Heart Failure Patients
 

Find more videos and content on the Tufts Medical Center

Structural Heart | February 27, 2020

Charles D. Resor, M.D., MSc, assistant director, cardiac catheterization lab, Tufts Medical Center and assistant professor of medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, explains the structural heart program at Tufts Medical Center. He outlines the centers' use of a variety of transcatheter interventional devices, including the MitraClip to repair mitral valve and tricuspid valve; occluders to seal congenital holes in the heart; PFO closure to prevent cryptogenic stroke; and the Watchman device to close the left atrial appendage (LAA) in atrial fibrillation patients.

 

VIDEO: Overview of the TAVR Program at Tufts Medical Center — Interview with Andrew Weintraub, M.D.

VIDEO: The Expansion of TAVR Following the FDA Clearing its Use in All Patients — Interview with Torsten Vahl, M.D.

 

Find more content on Tufts Medical Center

 

Tufts Medical Center | February 26, 2020

Lara Reyelt, veterinary technician and preclinical surgeon at the Interventional Research Laboratories (SIRL) at Tufts Medical Center, Boston, explains how research at her lab has helped advance human cardiovascular device technologies. 

Tufts Medical Center is unique in that it has a preclinical cath lab at the hospital, which allows for very close working relationships between the preclinical and the clinical teams, speeding up the collaboration and translational procedures. An example of this collaboration was the development of a new technique to treat congestive heart failure by temporarily occluding the SVC, which helps "reset" the heart. The lab also pioneered a novel approach now being used in the FDA DTU Trial to treat STEMI heart attacks with Impella hemodynamic support first, followed by 30 minutes of hemodynamic support prior to revascularizing the patient with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). The lab also performed preliminary work with the HeartMate PHP System to determine protocols for the now ongoing SHIELD II clinical trial. The lab also was used to test several new device technologies prior clinical trials, including the Impella 5.5 device. 

Find more videos and content on the Tufts Medical Center

 

Heart Valve Technology | February 18, 2020

Andrew Weintraub, M.D., FACC, associate director, of the Interventional Cardiology and Vascular Center, medical director of the Vascular and Structural Heart Center, Tufts Medical Center, discusses the use of temporary pacing in transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) patients. Implantation of TAVR valves can cause pressure from the valve against the septal wall of the heart, causing conduction delays. These delays do not necessarily mean the patient needs a permanent pacemaker.

Instead, Tufts Medical Center uses temporary pacing leads, a small catheter with two electrodes, placed in the right ventricle of the heart through a vein in the groin or neck. The lead is then connected to an external pacemaker allowing a physician to monitor and control a patient’s heart rate for up to several days.  The center uses the BioTrace Medical Tempo Lead, which incorporates a novel active fixation mechanism, bipolar electrodes and a soft tip. Stabilizers provide secure fixation and maintain stable pace capture. An elastomeric balloon may be inflated to aid passage of the lead through the venous vasculature and into the right ventricle, and  aids in wall apposition during deployment of the stabilizers. This design helps secure and stabilize the cardiac pacing lead with the goal of reducing complications and allowing patients to ambulate sooner after procedures.

 

Related Content:

VIDEO: Overview of the TAVR Program at Tufts Medical Center — Interview with Andrew Weintraub, M.D.

VIDEO: The Expansion of TAVR Following the FDA Clearing its Use in All Patients — Interview with Torsten Vahl, M.D.

VIDEO: Overview of the Structural Heart Program at Tufts Medical Center — Interview with Charles D. Resor, M.D.,

 

Find more content on Tufts Medical Center

 

 

 

Antiplatelet and Anticoagulation Therapies | February 18, 2020

Carey Kimmelstiel, M.D., FACP, FACC, director, interventional cardiology, director, cardiac catheterization lab, Tufts Medical Center, explains research on platelet inhibition agents used in the interventional lab. He discusses research and optimization of GP IIb IIIa inhibitors, changing protocols for tirofiban and the use of bivalirudin. 

Watch another interview with Kimmelstiel — VIDEO: Septal Ablation to Treat Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.
 

Find more content on Tufts Medical Center 

Pacemakers | February 13, 2020

This video illustrates how the Micra AV leadless pacemaker is delivered via catheter and enables atrioventricular (AV) synchrony. The device was cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January 2020, expanding the number of potential candidates who can receive leadless, catheter delivered pacemakers in the U.S.

The device is the world’s smallest pacemaker with atrioventricular (AV) synchrony. It is indicated for the treatment of patients with AV block, a condition in which the electrical signals between the chambers of the heart (the atria and the ventricle) are impaired. It is similar to the single chamber Micra TPS pacemaker that has been on the market since 2016. However, the Micra AV has several additional internal atrial sensing algorithms which detect cardiac movement, allowing the device to adjust pacing in the ventricle to coordinate with the atrium, providing “AV synchronous” pacing therapy to patients with AV block. The device senses when blood is flowing through the right ventricle. 

 

Related Micra Leadless Pacemaker Content:

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Heart Failure | February 10, 2020

Interview with James Udelson, M.D., chief of the division of cardiology at Tufts Medical Center, Boston. The hospital created a team of heart failure experts to work together to provide the best care options for patients to help improve outcomes.

The Tufts heart failure program offers various levels of hemodynamic support, up to left ventricular assist devices (LVAD) and heart transplants. The center is also using several cutting edge device technologies, including intra-atrial shunt device and controlling baroreceptors with a pacemaker type device. Tufts is also using devices in clinical trials, including a short term aortic pump to augment blood flow, and balloon occlusion of the superior venacava (SVC) to mitigate some heart failure symptoms. 

Find more content on Tufts Medical Center

Hemodynamic Support Devices | February 07, 2020

Interview with Navin Kapur, M.D., FAHA, FACC, FSCAI, executive director, The CardioVascular Center for Research and Innovation (CVCRI), director, Acute Mechanical Circulatory Support Program; director, interventional research laboratories; director of Cardiac Biology Research Center, Molecular Cardiology Research Institute (MCRI), Tufts Medical Center. He explains the Door-to-Unloading (DTU) Trial, which is using Impella hemodynamic support to unload the heart 30 minutes prior to percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in ST-elevated myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients. 

Data from a pilot trial and pre-clinical testing shows early hemodyanmic support prior to PCI helps reduce or eliminate the ischemia and limits myocardial damage due to ischemia. It also appears to help reduce the no-reflow phenomenon, reperfusion injury that  occurs in some heart attack patients who are revascularized, but the restoration of blood flow does not immediately help the patient. The DTU Trial is investigating if immediate hemodynamic support improves outcomes in STEMI patients. If it does, this could be a paradigm shift in therapy for these patients.

 

Related Door-to-unloading Content:

FDA Approves Initiation of STEMI DTU Pivotal Randomized Controlled Trial

VIDEO: The Door-to-Unloading (DTU) STEMI Safety and Feasibility Trial — Interview Nevin Kapur, M.D.

VIDEO: The Importance of Ventricular Unloading in AMI and Cardiogenic Shock — Interview Nevin Kapur, M.D.

VIDEO: Tufts Uses a Hemodynamic Support Algorithm to Determine What Devices to Use — Interview Nevin Kapur, M.D.

VIDEO: Hemodynamic Support Protocols at Henry Ford Hospital — Interview with William O'Neill, M.D. 

Find more content on Tufts Medical Center 

 

Heart Valve Technology | January 28, 2020

Interview with Andrew Weintraub, M.D., FACC, associate director, of the Interventional Cardiology and Vascular Center, medical director of the Vascular and Structural Heart Center, Tufts Medical Center, and assistant professor of medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine. He explains the Tufts Medical Center transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) program.

Weintraub said TAVR usage has been increasing the past few years, and in 2019 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared the use of TAVR in all patient surgical risk categories, opening the procedure to all patients. He explained this will increase TAVR volumes in the coming years. 

Tufts Medical Center has been using the balloon-expandable Edwards Lifesciences Sapien valve for several years, but is plans to start using the self-expanding Medtronic Corevalve as well, because it may offer better outcomes in some types of patients. 

Learn how the pacemaker implant rate was reduced at Tufts Medical Center in the VIDEO: Use of a Temporary Pacing Lead in TAVR.

Watch the related VIDEO: The Expansion of TAVR Following the FDA Clearing its Use in All Patients — Interview with Torsten Vahl, M.D.

 

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Cath Lab | January 24, 2020

Interview with Carey Kimmelstiel, M.D., FACP, FACC, director, cardiac catheterization laboratory, director, interventional cardiology, Tufts Medical Center, and professor of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. He explains how septal ablation is used to treat hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). The Tufts Medical Center HCM program is the largest in New England. 

Tufts Medical Center performs septal ablation to treat medication-refractory HCM. They use a heart team approach to determine which patients are best served by surgical septal myectomy or alcohol septal ablation.

When drug treatments are ineffective, the center offers several procedures to treat HCM:
   
   • Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs)to prevent sudden cardiac death in high risk patients. 

   • Surgical septal myectomy for patients who experience significant limitation during physical activity and are unresponsive to medical drug treatment. This operation may be performed along with the Maze procedure to lessen the chances of recurrent atrial fibrillation.

   • Alcohol septal ablation for patients who are generally not ideal candidates for the myectomy operation. This procedure takes place in the catheterization laboratory without general anesthesia, and mimics the beneficial effects of surgery. 

   • Ablation for recurrent atrial fibrillation performed in the catheterization laboratory to lessen the likelihood for additional episodes.

   • Heart transplant for the some patients without obstruction who experience severe symptoms and are unresponsive to drug treatment.

 

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Hemodynamic Support Devices | January 24, 2020

Navin Kapur, M.D., FAHA, FACC, FSCAI, director, Acute Mechanical Circulatory Support Program and executive director of The CardioVascular Center for Research and Innovation (CVCRI), Tufts Medical Center, explains how Tufts determines the level of hemodynamic support a patient needs. They use an algorithm to determine if low levels of support are needed with an intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP), or incrementally high levels with a percutaneous Impella pump, TandemHeart, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), or a surgically implanted ventricular assist device (VAD).


Watch the related VIDEO: Hemodynamic Support Protocols at Henry Ford Hospital
 

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Robotic Systems | January 20, 2020

This video shows the first robotic percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI) performed in Germany with the Robocath R-One robotic catheter guidance system. The first procedures were performed by Professor Michael Haude, director of Medical Clinic I at Rheinland Klinikum Neuss Lukaskrankenhaus, and his team. read more in the article First Robotic Coronary Angioplasties Performed With Robocath System in Germany.

 

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Robocath Successfully Carries Out First Robotic Coronary Angioplasties in Humans

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RSNA | January 13, 2020

DAIC/ITN Editor Dave Fornell takes a tour of some of the most innovative new medical imaging technologies displayed on the expo floor at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) 2019 meeting. 

Technology examples include a robotic arm to perform remote ultrasound exams, integration of artificial intelligence (AI) to speed or automate radiology workflow, holographic medical imaging display screens, a new glassless digital radiography (DR) X-ray detector, augmented reality for transesophageal echo (TEE) training, moving DR X-ray images, 3-D printed surgical implants created from a patient's CT imaging, DR X-ray tomosynthesis datasets, radiation dose management and analytics software, and new computed tomography (CT) technologies.

 

Find more videos and news from RSNA 2019

 

Wearables | January 09, 2020

The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) is the world's gathering place for consumer technologies, with more than 175,000 attendees and more than 4,400 exhibiting companies. New healthcare technologies are among the top trends at CES. This video offers a quick look at the trends specific to healthcare technology.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the hottest technology trends across all product across the CES floor this year. There is also discussion by key note speakers that the internet-of-things (IOT) concept introduced at CES nearly a decade ago is now morphing into a new meaning for the interconnectivity-of-things. This can be seen in healthcare products shown here and across all types of consumer and business products. 

The device technology at CES include many examples of how integrated wearables can digitally enable healthcare. The future of healthcare will include system where consumers are continuously monitored with sensors, software and services that can pinpoint digital biomarkers — earlier warning signs that predict health events. This is the prediction of Leslie Saxon, M.D., executive director of the University of Southern California (USC) Center for Body Computing (CBC), is speaking as a panelist about digital health trends and challenges in the session “Proving the Impact of Transformative Technology.” 

Saxon is a board-certified cardiologist and digital health expert who understands how developing technologies can more accurately assess wellness and human performance among elite athletes, military personnel and patients. She explained this digital healthcare model of the future is a vast contrast to the current point-of-care model.

 

 

Cath Lab | January 09, 2020

Haval Chweich, M.D., medical director of the cardiac critical care unit (CCU) at Tufts Medical Center, and assistant professor at Tufts University School of Medicine, explains the role of intensivists on the cardiac care team. 

Chweich is an intensivist specialized in pulmonary and critical care. He interfaces with Tuft's cardiac surgeons and interventional cardiologists to care for patients as they transition after procedures into the CCU. He also plays a key role as part of the team caring for cardiogenic shock patients. 

Find VIDEOS and articles on Tufts cardiology program

Hemodynamic Support Devices | January 09, 2020

Richard Botto, CVT, RCSA, chief cardiovascular technologist, division of cardiology, cardiac cath lab, and Melissa Smith, RT, at Tufts Medical Center, Boston, explain the use of technology to remotely access data and waveforms on patients' temporary hemodynamic support system control consoles. 

Tufts Medical Center was one of the first hospitals to begin using the Abiomed Impella Connect technology, which enables remote smartphone access to Impella consoles. This allows a quick, remote check on patients using temporary hemodynamic support. The technology also is connected to a support center at Abiomed, so if a console or patient is experiencing issues out of the ordinary, techs can remote into the patient's Impella control console to take a look. Tuft's intensivists in the cardiac care unit (CCU) use the app to check on their patients' consoles without needing to walk into each room. 

Find VIDEOS and articles on Tufts cardiology program

 

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | January 06, 2020

Karen Ordovas, M.D., MAS, professor of radiology and cardiology at the University of California San Francisco (UCFS) School of Medicine and a Society of Cardiac Magnetic Resonance (SCMR) board member, explains how cardiac MRI can help in women's heart disease and to better define complex congenital heart anatomy. She spoke at the 2019 Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) meeting. 

She specializes in cardiac and pulmonary imaging, and has particular expertise in using CT and MRI techniques in cardiovascular imaging and the differences of presentation in imaging between male and female cardiac patients. Ordovas is helping advance education around heart disease in women and bring great awareness of quality tools to diagnose heart disease and how heart MRI can help. She also is heavily involved in the use of heart MRIs for pregnant women, since there is no radiation,  and patients with congenital heart disease where detailed imaging of the complex anatomy is required.

The use of cardiac MRI in congenital heart disease is common in serial imaging of patients with Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), one of the most common congenital heart diseases for which patients are referred for post-operative magnetic resonance (MR) imaging evaluation. In the past few decades, surgery has proved successful, but most patients require repeat imaging throughout their lives and MRI can offer more detailed soft tissue imaging without the use of radiation. 

 

Related Cardiac MRI Content:

Cardiac MRI Becoming More Widely Available Thanks to AI and Reduced Exam Times

VIDEO: Advances in Cardiac MRI Technology — Interview with James Carr, M.D.

Cardiac MRI Delivers Accurate Diagnosis for Frontline Chest Pain Evaluation

VIDEO: Dedicated Cardiac MRI Use at the Baylor Scott White Heart Hospital

Advantages and New Applications of Cardiac MRI

Will Cardiac MRI Expand?

 

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | December 20, 2019

James Carr, M.D., chair of the Department of Radiology, Northwestern University, and incoming 2020 President of the Society of Cardiac Magnetic Resonance (SCMR), explains why MRI is an ideal cardiac imaging modality, at the 2019 Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) meeting.

Heart MRI offers advantages over computed tomography (CT) and echocardiography because of its excellent soft tissue delineation and its ability to offer information beyond anatomical imaging, such as perfusion, morphology and metabolism. MRI can be technically challenging and the exams requiring a long time, but recent advances have helped cur cardiac imaging times down significantly. Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) also is making post-processing and quantification mush faster, brining it closer to the time it takes to scan and post-process CT imaging.

Northwestern is was one of the early adopters of cardiovascular MRI. Carr said heart MRI was not common in regular clinical use until the past decade at some luminary centers. In 2005, Carr was given the opportunity to develop a clinical cardiac MRI program at Northwestern.
 
He said MRI scanners have improved, and now much faster than a decade ago. They are also more optimized for cardiac imaging. While heart MRI is well known in large hospital centers, Carr said it still needs to develop and expand to community hospitals and rural hospitals outside major population centers. 

Artificial intelligence is playing a significant role in cardiac MRI automation of speeding workflow and quantification. Carr said these technologies will become mainstream in the next few years. AI also will play an increasing role in risk prediction based on new image analysis algorithms in development.

For more information on cardiac MRI, visit SCMR's website www.heartmri.org.

 

Related Cardiac MRI Content:

Cardiac MRI Delivers Accurate Diagnosis for Frontline Chest Pain Evaluation

Cardiac MRI Becoming More Widely Available Thanks to AI and Reduced Exam Times

VIDEO: Dedicated Cardiac MRI Use at the Baylor Scott White Heart Hospital — Interview with Haojie Wang, M.D.

VIDEO: Dedicated Cardiac MRI Use at the Baylor Scott White Heart Hospital

Advantages and New Applications of Cardiac MRI

Will Cardiac MRI Expand?

VIDEO: Use of Cardiac MRI in Congenital and Women's Heart Disease — Karen Ordovas, M.D., 
 

 

Cardiovascular Ultrasound | December 20, 2019

This is the LVivo auto cardiac ejection fraction (EF) app that uses artificial intelligence (AI) from the vendor Dia, displayed at the Radiological Society Of North America (RSNA) 2019. The user opens the app in a couple seconds the AI defines to myocardial border and calculates EF for left ventricle (LV). It is shown here integrated into the GE Healthcare VScan point-of-care-ultrasound system (POCUS).

The company also partners with Konica-Minolta to supply auto EF for ultrasound images on its cardio PACS.

Read more about the system from an ASE 2019 stud

Radiation Dose Management | December 19, 2019

 

Mahadevappa Mahesh, Ph.D., chief of medical physicist and professor of radiology and medical physics, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, treasurer of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM),a board member of the American College of Radiology (ACR), presented a late-breaking study on how medical imaging radiation dose has started to drop over the past decade. He is the co-chair of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measures Report (NCRP), and presented the most recent NCRP data analysis at the 2019 Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) meeting.

The new NCRP 184 report covers the period between 2006 and 2016, the period of the most current CMS data. It shows a decrease of about 20 percent in the radiation dose the U.S. population receives from medical imaging, compared to the NCRP 160 that covered the period of up to 2006.

Key findings of the study include:

   • CT dose dropped about 6 percent, despite a 20 percent increase CT scans since 2006;

   • Drop of more than 50 percent for nuclear imaging scans, mainly due to fewer procedures begin performed;

   • A 15-20 percent decrease across X-ray imaging modalities.

Mahesh says this shows the impact of using "as low as reasonably achievable" (ALARA) principals, new dose guidelines outlined jointly by numerous medical societies, and dose reduction initiatives like Image Wisely, Image Gently, and the American College of radiology (ACR) Dose Index Registry.

He said there was growing concern a decade ago when the last council report was published, which show a steep increase in radiation dose. This was mainly due to a rapid increase in the use of computed tomography (CT) and other types of X-ray based and nuclear radiotracer medical imaging. This prompted the ACR top create the Image Wisely program and push for the use of more thoughtful imaging doses based on patient size, using the "as low as reasonably achievable” (ALARA) principle. While CT dose was lowered, he said the biggest decline was in nuclear imaging.

 

 

Cardiovascular Ultrasound | December 19, 2019

This is an example of an augmented reality (AR) training system for transesophageal echo (TEE) created by the simulation company CAE. Rather than just looking at an overhead screen, this system allows the user to use a HoloLens visor to see the impact their probe manipulation has on the imaging and better shows the orientation of the ultrasound probe, the 2-D ultrasound image slice and the relation to the anatomy. It was displayed at the 2019 Radiological Society Of North America (RSNA) meeting.

Read more about this technology.

Find more technology news and video from the RSNA meeting

 

 

RSNA | December 18, 2019

DAIC Editor Dave Fornell and Imaging Technology News (ITN) Consulting Editor Greg Freiherr offer a post-game report on the trends and technologies they saw on the expo floor of 2019 Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) annual meeting. This includes artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality, holographic imaging, cybersecurity, and advances in digital radiography (DR) with a glassless detector plate, X-ray tomosynthesis, dual-energy X-ray and dynamic DR imaging. 

Find RSNA news and other videos

Nuclear Imaging | November 07, 2019

Rob Beanlands, M.D., FASNC, 2019 American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) president, shares a couple trends he sees in cardiac nuclear imaging. He is the Vered Chair and division head of cardiology and director of the National Cardiac PET Centre at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, Canada.

He said overall trends he sees in nuclear cardiology include the use of better myocardial reserve quantification so it is clear whether revascularization would help patients. Beanlands also said there is increasing interest in positron emission tomography (PET) imaging because of its superior image quality and increasing access to PET radiotracers. New tracers on the horizon will also increase the image quality and flexibility of PET to accommodate exercise stress.

He spoke on artificial intelligence (AI) development for medical imaging in sessions at the 2019 American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) annual meeting. 

Artificial Intelligence | November 07, 2019

Piotr J. Slomka, Ph.D., FACC, research scientist in the Artificial Intelligence in Medicine Program, Department of Medicine at Cedars-Sinai, and professor of medicine in-residence of the David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA. He explains how his team at Cedars-Sinai is working on intelligent patient risk prediction algorithms that will automatically extract information from medical imaging. He spoke on artificial intelligence (AI) development for medical imaging in sessions at the 2019 American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) annual meeting. 

Find more articles and video on AI

 

Nuclear Imaging | November 06, 2019

Robert C. Hendel, M.D., explains some of the new cardiac radiotracers in the pipeline that were discussed in sessions at the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) 2019 meeting. Hendel is a professor of medicine and radiology and the Sidney W. And Marilyn S. Lassen Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine, Tulane University. He also serves as the chief of the section of cardiology and director of the Tulane University Heart and Vascular Institute. 

He outlined three new radiotracers that may impact cardiac imaging:

   • Flurpiridaz F-18 PET perfusion agent that offers high quality images and can be used with exercise stress;

   • MIBG imaging to help better assess heart failure classes and if patients may need an ICD;

   • New F-18 agents to image cardiac amyloidosis; and

   • Nuclear agents to enable annexin imaging, allowing direct vsualization of myocardial apoptotic cells.

 

PET-CT | October 30, 2019

Rupa Sanghani, M.D., FASNC, associate professor, Rush Medical College, director of nuclear cardiology and stress laboratory, Rush University Medical Center, and associate director, Rush Heart Center for Women, explains how to create a high-volume cardiac positron emission tomography (PET) imaging program. She spoke on this topic at the 2019 meeting of the American Society Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) and led a tour for attendees of the PET-CT system at Rush, which was located close to the conference. 

Sanghani said the advantages of PET myocardial perfusion imaging include faster exam times and allowing additional information from coronary reserve flow assessments to better understand if revascularization will help a patient's heart recover. The 16-slice CT scanner is used not only to attenuate the PET images, but to perform a CT calcium scoring exam to assess the patient's risk for future cardiovascular events. The Rubidium-82 radiotracer used for PET exams only has a 75 second half life, so it can help increase the number of exams a center is able to perform each day. At higher volume centers, PET is optimized to handle all the patients who require pharmacological stress exams. 

In the video, Sanghani  outlines what Rush did to design its room, covers basics on training, what to look for in a scanner and other considerations when creating a PET program.

Read the article How to Start a Cardiac PET-CT Imaging Program, which includes more information from the Rush PET program.
 

Find more coverage of the ASNC

Find more news on nuclear imaging

 

 

Cardiac Diagnostics | October 29, 2019

Clyde Yancy, M.D., MSc, cardiology chief and vice dean for diversity and inclusion at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, was a keynote speaker at the 2019 American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) annual meeting. He said the traditional biases of seeing a patient and automatically making clinical assumptions because they are a certain race or gender are obsolete. For example, he said not all black patients have hypertension. Yancy added that genetics, especially with racial intermarriage over the past several generations, no longer predisposes patients to what is typically assumed for certain ethnic or racial backgrounds.

Yancy also said new research is showing how diet plays a major role in patient health and disease progression for things previously thought to be based on genetics. This includes the people who live in "food deserts" in urban areas where there are no sources of fresh food and vegetables, so they consume large amounts of packaged and processed foods that contain high levels of salt, phosphates and preservatives. He said these chemicals and diet may be the root cause of hypertension and diabetes in black populations in low income areas, rather than genetics as previously thought.

 

Related Content: 

VIDEO: Reducing Hypertension Among African-Americans — Interview with Kim Allan Williams, Sr., M.D.

VIDEO: Use of Plant-Based Diet to Reduce Cardiovascular Disease Risk — Interview with Kim Allan Williams, Sr., M.D.

VIDEO: New PLATINUM Diversity Data Shows Early DAPT Cessation OK in Minorities With New Generation Stent — Interview with Roxana Mehran, M.D., 

 

Radial Access | October 22, 2019

Sunil Rao, M.D., chief of cardiology, Durham VA Health System and a professor at Duke University, and Prashant Kaul, M.D., director of the cath lab, Piedmont, Atlanta, discuss trends in radial access at the 2019 Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) annual meeting. They discuss how radial access adoption has grown rapidly in the past few years and now makes up between 40-50 percent of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) procedural volume in the United States. They also discuss recent clinical trial data and the new concept of using distal radial access. 

 

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VIDEO: New Frontiers in Radial Access — Interview with Mladen I. Vidovich, M.D.

Find more news and on transradial access technique and technology

Radial Access Adoption in the United States
 

 

Vascular Closure Devices | October 17, 2019

Ashish Pershad, M.D., chief of interventional cardiology, Banner University Medical Center, Phoenix, explains the trend of using closure devices to seal larger vascular access sites from the use of TAVR, EVAR, TMVR and hemodynamic support devices at the 2019 Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) meeting. He was one of the moderators on a session on this topic at TCT 2019.

 

Related Large Bore Vascular Closure Device Content:

VIDEO: How to Achieve Hemostasis With Large Bore Device Access — Interview with Philippe Genereux, M.D.

First-in-Human Results Show Early Bird Device Effective in Early Detection of Internal Bleeding

Advances and Trends in Vascular Closure Devices

Manta Large-Bore Vascular Closure Device Cleared by the FDA

PerQseal Large Bore Closure Device Launches in Europe

Teleflex Acquires Essential Medical

 

Related Content With Dr. Pershad:

National Coverage Determination Will Make TAVR Available to More Patients at More Centers

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Antiplatelet and Anticoagulation Therapies | October 17, 2019

Roxana Mehran, M.D., FACC, FACP, FCCP, FESC, FAHA, FSCAI, professor of medicine and director of interventional cardiovascular research and clinical trials at the Zena and Michael A. Wiener Cardiovascular Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, explains the use of short dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) in minorities from the PLATINUM Diversity Trial. The first trial data was released in 2017, and she presented new data from the study at the 2019 Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) meeting. 

The study looked at use of the Promus Element Plus Post-Approval Study and the clinical impact of dual-antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) cessation within 12 months of drug-eluting stent implantation in caucasians and minorities. It is one of the first large trials to stress the importance of diversity in clinical trials, which tent to reflect a population of older white men.

 

Find more news and videos from TCT 2019

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