Meta-analyses are becoming increasingly popular, especially in the fields of cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment. They are often considered to be a reliable source of evidence for making healthcare decisions. Unfortunately, problems among meta-analyses such as the misapplication and misinterpretation of statistical methods and tests are long-standing and widespread. The purposes of this statement are to review key steps in the development of a meta-analysis and to provide recommendations that will be useful for carrying out meta-analyses and for readers and journal editors, who must interpret the findings and gauge methodological quality. To make the statement practical and accessible, detailed descriptions of statistical methods have been omitted. Based on a survey of cardiovascular meta-analyses, published literature on methodology, expert consultation, and consensus among the writing group, key recommendations are provided. Recommendations reinforce several current practices, including protocol registration; comprehensive search strategies; methods for data extraction and abstraction; methods for identifying, measuring, and dealing with heterogeneity; and statistical methods for pooling results. Other practices should be discontinued, including the use of levels of evidence and evidence hierarchies to gauge the value and impact of different study designs (including meta-analyses) and the use of structured tools to assess the quality of studies to be included in a meta-analysis. We also recommend choosing a pooling model for conventional meta-analyses (fixed effect or random effects) on the basis of clinical and methodological similarities among studies to be included, rather than the results of a test for statistical heterogeneity.
Cardiac arrest in patients on mechanical support is a new phenomenon brought about by the increased use of this therapy in patients with end-stage heart failure. This American Heart Association scientific statement highlights the recognition and treatment of cardiovascular collapse or cardiopulmonary arrest in an adult or pediatric patient who has a ventricular assist device or total artificial heart. Specific, expert consensus recommendations are provided for the role of external chest compressions in such patients.
Mechanical circulatory support (MCS) offers a surgical option for advanced heart failure when optimal medical therapy is inadequate. MCS therapy improves prognosis, functional status, and quality of life. The INTERMACS (Interagency Registry for Mechanically Assisted Circulatory Support) tracks patient selection and outcomes for all implanted US Food and Drug Administration–approved MCS devices. From June 2006 until December 2014, >15 000 patients received MCS, and >2000 implantations are performed annually.
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a new and transformational technology for patients with severe aortic valvular stenosis. Although currently approved for use in patients with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis (AS) who are at intermediate to high surgical risk or are inoperable, it is likely that it will be utilized outside of clinical trials in lower-risk surgical candidates in the future. Since the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in 2011, over 50,000 patients have undergone TAVR in the United States alone. Multiple studies have documented favorable outcomes using a wide spectrum of endpoints, including survival, symptom status, quality of life, and need for repeat hospitalizations. The implementation of TAVR into the flow of patient care is complex, involving a Heart Valve Team and consideration of several key factors, such as clinical site selection, operator and team training and experience, patient selection and evaluation, procedural performance and complication management, and postprocedural care. Collaborative stakeholder involvement is required in the successful management of this high-risk patient population with extensive coexistent medical conditions. The intent of this clinical expert consensus pathway is to provide additional details and practical guidance about TAVR with point-of-care checklists and algorithms. These have been separated into 4 sections: 1) preprocedure evaluation of the patient being considered for TAVR; 2) imaging modalities and measurements; 3) key issues in performing the TAVR procedure; and 4) recommendations for patient follow-up after TAVR.
The Million Hearts Initiative has a goal of preventing 1 million heart attacks and strokes—the leading causes of mortality—through several public health and healthcare strategies by 2017. The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology support the program. The Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Model was developed by Million Hearts and the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services as a strategy to assess a value-based payment approach toward reduction in 10-year predicted risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) by implementing cardiovascular preventive strategies to manage the “ABCS” (aspirin therapy in appropriate patients, blood pressure control, cholesterol management, and smoking cessation). The purpose of this special report is to describe the development and intended use of the Million Hearts Longitudinal ASCVD Risk Assessment Tool. The Million Hearts Tool reinforces and builds on the “2013 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Assessment of Cardiovascular Risk” by allowing clinicians to estimate baseline and updated 10-year ASCVD risk estimates for primary prevention patients adhering to the appropriate ABCS over time, alone or in combination. The tool provides updated risk estimates based on evidence from high-quality systematic reviews and meta-analyses of the ABCS therapies. This novel approach to personalized estimation of benefits from risk-reducing therapies in primary prevention may help target therapies to those in whom they will provide the greatest benefit, and serves as the basis for a Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services program designed to evaluate the Million Hearts Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Model.
The American College of Cardiology, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, Society of Thoracic Surgeons, and American Association for Thoracic Surgery, along with key specialty and subspecialty societies, have completed a 2-part revision of the appropriate use criteria (AUC) for coronary revascularization. In prior coronary revascularization AUC documents, indications for revascularization in acute coronary syndromes and stable ischemic heart disease (SIHD) were combined into 1 document. To address the expanding clinical indications for coronary revascularization, and to align the subject matter with the most current American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines, the new AUC for coronary artery revascularization were separated into 2 documents addressing SIHD and acute coronary syndromes individually. This document presents the AUC for SIHD.
The incidence and prevalence of most cardiovascular disorders increase with age, and cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and major disability in adults >=75 years of age; however, despite the large impact of cardiovascular disease on quality of life, morbidity, and mortality in older adults, patients aged >=75 years have been markedly underrepresented in most major cardiovascular trials, and virtually all trials have excluded older patients with complex comorbidities, significant physical or cognitive disabilities, frailty, or residence in a nursing home or assisted living facility. As a result, current guidelines are unable to provide evidence-based recommendations for diagnosis and treatment of older patients typical of those encountered in routine clinical practice. The objectives of this scientific statement are to summarize current guideline recommendations as they apply to older adults, identify critical gaps in knowledge that preclude informed evidence-based decision making, and recommend future research to close existing knowledge gaps. To achieve these objectives, we conducted a detailed review of current American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association and American Stroke Association guidelines to identify content and recommendations that explicitly targeted older patients. We found that there is a pervasive lack of evidence to guide clinical decision making in older patients with cardiovascular disease, as well as a paucity of data on the impact of diagnostic and therapeutic interventions on key outcomes that are particularly important to older patients, such as quality of life, physical function, and maintenance of independence. Accordingly, there is a critical need for a multitude of large population-based studies and clinical trials that include a broad spectrum of older patients representative of those seen in clinical practice and that incorporate relevant outcomes important to older patients in the study design. The results of these studies will provide the foundation for future evidence-based guidelines applicable to older patients, thereby enhancing patient-centered evidence-based care of older people with cardiovascular disease in the United States and around the world.
Aortic stenosis (AS) is one of the most common valvular diseases encountered in clinical practice. Current guidelines recommend aortic valve replacement (AVR) when the aortic valve is severely stenotic and the patient is symptomatic; however, a substantial proportion of patients with severe AS are asymptomatic at the time of first diagnosis. Although specific morphological valve features, exercise testing, stress imaging, and biomarkers can help to identify patients with asymptomatic severe AS who may benefit from early AVR, the optimal management of these patients remains uncertain and controversial. The current report presents a comprehensive review of the natural history and the diagnostic evaluation of asymptomatic patients with severe AS, and is followed by a meta-analysis from reported studies comparing an early AVR strategy to active surveillance, with an emphasis on the level of evidence substantiating the current guideline recommendations. Finally, perspectives on directions for future investigation are discussed.
schemic stroke remains a significant risk for patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of the WATCHMAN device for percutaneous closure of the left atrial appendage (LAA) represents an important addition to the physician’s armamentarium to help mitigate this problem. The evolution of LAA occlusion technology has spanned nearly two decades and three FDA panel hearings, leading to FDA approval in 2015. As this technology becomes clinically available to a broader population of patients, it is essential that physician stakeholders establish criteria for the performance of these procedures that will be used in granting initial and ongoing privileges. These criteria are offered to support The Joint Commission mandate that medical staff privileges be granted on the basis of professional criteria specified in the medical staff bylaws to ensure safe and effective patient-centered care. The emergence of transcatheter valve therapies has provided a model whereby multiple societies collaborate to provide recommendations to institutions and operators to assess their potential to establish and maintain programs for these therapies (1–3). As an extension of this concept, the Society of Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI), the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS), and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) agreed to provide recommendations to institutions and interested physicians for the establishment and maintenance of LAA occlusion programs. An initial multisociety overview of the field of LAA occlusion has recently been published, highlighting the critical issues surrounding LAA occlusion therapies (4). This document states that the questions of who should perform these procedures and the institutional support required need further delineation. It is these issues that are the subject of this, the second multisociety document. As LAA occlusion is in its early developmental stages, the recommendations must initially rely on expert consensus. As experience with LAA occlusion grows, these recommendations will be revised and updated based on expanded expertise and published data. However, the recent FDA approval of the first percutaneous LAA occlusion device underscores the need to make initial recommendations now; this will provide a starting point for future modifications. The recommendations that follow were reviewed by the entire writing committee, with at least 70% concurrence required in order to be incorporated.
Background: Poor lifestyle behaviors are leading causes of preventable diseases globally. Added sugars contribute to a diet that is energy dense but nutrient poor and increase risk of developing obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity-related cancers, and dental caries.
Background: Kawasaki disease is an acute vasculitis of childhood that leads to coronary artery aneurysms in =25% of untreated cases. It has been reported worldwide and is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children in developed countries.
Background: Myocardial infarction with nonobstructive coronary arteries (MINOCA) occurs in 5% to 10% of all patients with myocardial infarction. Clinical trials of secondary prevention treatment in MINOCA patients are lacking. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the associations between treatment with statins, renin-angiotensin system blockers, ß-blockers, dual antiplatelet therapy, and long-term cardiovascular events.
Background: Individuals with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) have a high risk of cardiovascular complications, but it is unknown to what extent fulfilling all cardiovascular treatment goals is associated with residual risk of mortality and cardiovascular outcomes in those with T1DM compared with the general population.
Adults are living longer, and cardiovascular disease is endemic in the growing population of older adults who are surviving into old age. Functional capacity is a key metric in this population, both for the perspective it provides on aggregate health and as a vital goal of care. Whereas cardiorespiratory function has long been applied by cardiologists as a measure of function that depended primarily on cardiac physiology, multiple other factors also contribute, usually with increasing bearing as age advances. Comorbidity, inflammation, mitochondrial metabolism, cognition, balance, and sleep are among the constellation of factors that bear on cardiorespiratory function and that become intricately entwined with cardiovascular health in old age. This statement reviews the essential physiology underlying functional capacity on systemic, organ, and cellular levels, as well as critical clinical skills to measure multiple realms of function (eg, aerobic, strength, balance, and even cognition) that are particularly relevant for older patients. Clinical therapeutic perspectives and patient perspectives are enumerated to clarify challenges and opportunities across the caregiving spectrum, including patients who are hospitalized, those managed in routine office settings, and those in skilled nursing facilities. Overall, this scientific statement provides practical recommendations and vital conceptual insights.
Background: Cardiomyocytes are resistant to radiation. However, cardiac radiation exposure causes coronary microvascular endothelial inflammation, a perturbation implicated in the pathogenesis of heart failure (HF) and particularly HF with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). Radiotherapy for breast cancer results in variable cardiac radiation exposure and may increase the risk of HF.