The present report highlights the key messages of the 2009 Canadian Hypertension Education Program (CHEP) recommendations for the management of hypertension and the supporting clinical evidence. In 2009, the CHEP emphasizes the need to improve the control of hypertension in people with diabetes. Intensive reduction in blood pressure (to less than 130/80 mmHg) in people with diabetes leads to significant reductions in mortality rates, disability rates and overall health care system costs, and may lead to improved quality of life. The CHEP recommendations continue to emphasize the important role of patient self-efficacy by promoting lifestyle changes to prevent and control hypertension, and encouraging home measurement of blood pressure. Unfortunately, most Canadians make only minor changes in lifestyle after a diagnosis of hypertension. Routine blood pressure measurement at all appropriate visits, and screening for and management of all cardiovascular risks are key to blood pressure management. Many young hypertensive Canadians with multiple cardiovascular risks are not treated with antihypertensive drugs. This is despite the evidence that individuals with multiple cardiovascular risks and hypertension should be strongly considered for antihypertensive drug therapy regardless of age. In 2009, the CHEP specifically recommends not to combine an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor with an angiotensin receptor blocker in people with uncomplicated hypertension, diabetes (without micro- or macroalbuminuria), chronic kidney disease (without nephropathy [micro- or overt proteinuria]) or ischemic heart disease (without heart failure).
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Children and adolescents experiencing acute exacerbations of asthma benefit from the use of beta(2)-adrenoceptor agonists (beta(2)-agonists) and systemic corticosteroids. However, there have been conflicting reports regarding the efficacy of inhaled anticholinergic agents. This article summarizes the evidence provided by randomized controlled trials studying the efficacy of adding inhaled anticholinergic agents to beta(2)-agonists in nonhospitalized children and adolescents with acute exacerbations of asthma. This systematic review of randomized controlled trials suggests that the addition of inhaled anticholinergic agents to beta(2)-agonists is beneficial in children and adolescents, particularly those with severe exacerbations of asthma. When given in repeated doses, the addition of inhaled anticholinergic agents to beta(2)-agonists improves lung function and reduces the risk of hospital admission by 25%. Several treatment regimens, namely ipratropium bromide (250 or 500 microg per dose) every 20-60 minutes for two to three doses have been tested with similar beneficial effects. The addition of a single dose of an inhaled anticholinergic agent to beta(2)-agonists improves lung function but does not prevent hospital admission. The review did not identify any beneficial effects of anticholinergic agents in children with nonsevere asthma. Use of anticholinergic agents was not associated with increase in the incidence of nausea, vomiting or tremor. In conclusion, the addition of repeated doses of an inhaled anticholinergic agent to inhaled beta(2)-agonist is indicated in the emergency room management of children and adolescents with acute asthma, particularly those with severe exacerbations.
Acute heart failure (AHF) affects nearly every Canadian with heart failure (HF) at least once. Despite several attempts, no medical therapies have been shown to improve the natural history of AHF. In addition, the place of diagnosis of AHF is increasingly made in the outpatient setting. In this view, AHF is a moving target, and from recent registry data and from clinical trials, 5 critical lessons regarding the syndrome of AHF emerge: (1) The period of clinical instability preceding AHF may be much longer than previously thought. (2) Refinement of tools used to aid the early and accurate diagnosis of AHF will impact patient outcomes. (3) Standard supportive care of patients with AHF includes early use of diuretics with frequent reassessment in nearly all patients and supplemental vasodilators and oxygen therapy in selected cases. (4) Patients who survive presentation of AHF continue to suffer high rates of re-presentation, death, and rehospitalization following discharge from either hospital or emergency department. (5) Interventions shown to improve patient outcomes for AHF to date are related to process of care rather than new medications or devices. This report reviews the recent literature regarding the presentation, diagnosis, management, and prognosis of AHF. Areas of future research priority are indicated and guidelines for improving treatment are provided. AHF is an important clinical area that has not been as intensively studied as chronic HF; it presents both important needs and exciting opportunities for research and innovation.
OBJECTIVE: Many patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) are thought to be non-adherent to their prescribed medications. The objective was to describe perceptions about and adherence to regular medicines and study medication at baseline and study end in CHF patients participating in a clinical trial. METHODS: In the carvedilol or metoprolol European trial (COMET), patients (N = 3029) with CHF were randomised and followed during a 58-month period. Patients at some Swedish centres answered a questionnaire at baseline and study end concerning their perception of their regular heart medication and study medication. Adherence was established through estimation of drug usage. RESULTS: In the Swedish sub-study, 302 patients responded once to the questionnaire while 107 patients responded both at baseline and at follow-up. At baseline, 94% of the patients stated that they believed that the study medication would make them feel better and 82% believed that their regular heart medication would do so. During the study, patients' belief in their regular cardiac medication significantly increased. Lack of belief in medication at the start of the study was a strong predictor of withdrawal from the trial (64% versus 6.8%; p
Moderate alcohol consumption may reduce cardiovascular events, but little is known about its effect on atrial fibrillation in people at high risk of such events. We examined the association between moderate alcohol consumption and the risk of incident atrial fibrillation among older adults with existing cardiovascular disease or diabetes.
We analyzed data for 30 433 adults who participated in 2 large antihypertensive drug treatment trials and who had no atrial fibrillation at baseline. The patients were 55 years or older and had a history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes with end-organ damage. We classified levels of alcohol consumption according to median cut-off values for low, moderate and high intake based on guidelines used in various countries, and we defined binge drinking as more than 5 drinks a day. The primary outcome measure was incident atrial fibrillation.
A total of 2093 patients had incident atrial fibrillation. The age- and sex-standardized incidence rate per 1000 person-years was 14.5 among those with a low level of alcohol consumption, 17.3 among those with a moderate level and 20.8 among those with a high level. Compared with participants who had a low level of consumption, those with higher levels had an increased risk of incident atrial fibrillation (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 1.14, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.04-1.26, for moderate consumption; 1.32, 95% CI 0.97-1.80, for high consumption). Results were similar after we excluded binge drinkers. Among those with moderate alcohol consumption, binge drinkers had an increased risk of atrial fibrillation compared with non-binge drinkers (adjusted HR 1.29, 95% CI 1.02-1.62).
Moderate to high alcohol intake was associated with an increased incidence of atrial fibrillation among people aged 55 or older with cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Among moderate drinkers, the effect of binge drinking on the risk of atrial fibrillation was similar to that of habitual heavy drinking.
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To explore the relationships between anaemia or iron deficiency (ID) and symptoms, quality of life (QoL), morbidity, and mortality.
A post-hoc, non-prespecified, explorative substudy of the prospective randomized PREFER trial. One centre study of outpatients with severe HF and palliative need managed with advanced home care. Associations between anaemia, ID, and the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS), Euro QoL (EQ-5D), Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questions (KCCQ) were examined only at baseline but at 6months for morbidity and mortality.
Seventy-two patients (51 males, 21 females), aged 79.2±9.1years. Thirty-nine patients (54%) had anaemia and 34 had ID (47%). Anaemia was correlated to depression (r=0.37; p=0.001), anxiety (r=0.25; p=0.04), and reduced well-being (r=0.26; p=0.03) in the ESAS; mobility (r=0.33; p=0.005), pain/discomfort (r=0.27; p=0.02), and visual analogue scale of health state (r=-0.28; p=0.02) in the EQ-5D; and physical limitation (r=-0.27; p=0.02), symptom stability; (r=-0.43; p
Recent Canadian lipid guidelines recommend that all high-risk patients receive medication to reduce low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) below 2.5 mmol/L. The recently published Reversal of Atherosclerosis with Aggressive Lipid Lowering (REVERSAL) and Pravastatin or Atorvastatin Evaluation and Infection Therapy (PROVE IT) studies compared strategies of cholesterol lowering with atorvastatin 80 mg versus pravastatin 40 mg. Atorvastatin halted the progression of atherosclerosis (whereas atherosclerosis progressed in the patients receiving pravastatin), and resulted in a 16% reduction in the primary composite end point (all-cause death, myocardial infarction, unstable angina, revascularization and stroke) compared with the pravastatin-treated group. In the PROVE IT trial, LDL-C was reduced by atorvastatin to 1.6 mmol/L and by pravastatin to 2.46 mmol/L. Although lower LDL-C levels are one explanation for the improved outcomes with atorvastatin, pleiotropic differences of the two statins, such as their effects on inflammation and coagulation, cannot be excluded. Until trials are completed that compare outcomes from LDL-C lowering to different targets with the same statin, it is premature to recommend changes to the current Canadian guidelines. However, future recommendations may suggest much lower LDL-C targets than those currently recommended.
There are limited data on the prognostic implications of brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) assessment in patients with mildly symptomatic heart failure (HF) who receive cardiac resynchronization therapy with a defibrillator (CRT-D).
The effect of elevated baseline and 1-year BNP levels (dichotomized at the upper tertile BNP of 120 pg/mL) on the risk of HF or death was assessed among the cohort of 1197 patients with baseline BNP data enrolled in MADIT (Multicenter Automated Defibrillator Implantation Trial)-CRT. Elevated baseline BNP was associated with a significant 68% (P=0.007) and 58% (P=0.02) increase in the risk of HF or death among MADIT-CRT patients allocated to CRT-D and implantable cardioverter defibrillator-only therapy, respectively. At 1 year of follow-up, patients allocated to CRT-D displayed significantly greater reductions in BNP (26% reduction) levels compared with implantable cardioverter defibrillator-only patients (8% increase; P=0.005). Patients with CRT-D in whom 1-year BNP levels were reduced or remained low experienced a significantly lower risk of subsequent HF or death as compared with patients in whom 1-year BNP levels were high. Similarly, the echocardiographic response to CRT-D was highest among those who maintained low BNP levels or in whom BNP level at 1-year was reduced.
Our findings suggest that assessment of baseline and follow-up BNP provides important prognostic implications in patients with mildly symptomatic HF who receive CRT.