Since heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States, it’s among the most studied illnesses. As a consequence, there’s wealth of information out there. Read on for the latest must-know news.

  • A study headed up by Dr. Ross D. Feldman at the University of Western Ontario, which will appear in the April edition of Hypertension, claims that a streamlined treatment of high blood pressure using low doses of single pill combinations rather than multiple pills can be more effective.

  • After poring through data from 10 different clinical trials across the globe involving 8,000 test subjects, researchers at Stanford University have found that while coronary bypass surgery is the preferable course of treatment for patients who are over 65 or suffer from diabetes, angioplasty is a better choice for those 55 and younger. The mortality rate for patients with diabetes who had coronary bypass five years earlier was 12 percent; for those who had angioplasty five years previous, the mortality rate was 20 percent. Similarly, for patients over 65, the mortality rates were approximately 11 and 15 percent.1

  • Doctors at Johns Hopkins University are reporting that if the statin-prescribing criteria were widened, many more adults could benefit. Currently, statin is prescribed to people who already suffer from cardiovascular disease, are at risk of developing heart disease because of family history or conditions such as diabetes, or have been diagnosed with cholesterol above 160 milligrams per deciliter. But after reviewing the results of a trial conducted by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the Johns Hopkins’ scientists proposed that statins could prevent heart attack and stroke in people with low cholesterol but high C-reactive proteins, a blood marker for inflammation; using this new guideline could eliminate about 260,000 cardiovascular events over a five-year period.2

  • At the 34th annual meeting of the Society of Interventional Radiology in the beginning of March, radiologists from Johns Hopkins divulged a study in which they used seaweed to encircle and protect stem cells they were implanting in rabbits to treat peripheral arterial disease (PAD).3 They also engineered the stem cells to produce luciferase, the bioluminescent compound found in fireflies, so that the researchers could observe the stem cells in action. The hope is that one day a targeted delivery system can be designed to treat humans with PAD.




1 Stanford University Medical Center (2009, March 26). Heart Bypass Surgery Better Than Angioplasty For Certain Patients. Mark Hlatky, MD.­ /releases/2009/03/090319203850.htm

2 Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions (2009, March 23). 6.5 Million More Patients Might Benefit From Statins To Prevent Heart Attacks, Strokes. Erin D. Michos, M.D., Roger S. Blumenthal, M.D. /releases/2009/03/090318171202.htm

3 Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions (2009, March 16). Seaweed And Fireflies Brew May Guide Stem Cell Treatment For Peripheral Artery Disease.