CVD congress watch
European Society of Cardiology Congress 2009
Europe’s heart experts will be meeting next week for the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Barcelona, Spain on August 29 to September. I will be bringing you updates from the meeting. Stay tuned!
CVD medical device watch
Heidelberg cardiac surgeons implant world’s first new DeBakey Heart Assist Device
Michael DeBakey may have move on to a better place but his legacy lives on. In July, cardiac surgeons at the Heidelberg University Hospital implanted the HeartAssist 5 ventricular assist device (VAD) for the very time. The heart pump is the modern version of the DeBakey VAD, developed by the renowned surgeon who passed away last year at the age of 99. The recipient was a 50-year old female with heart failure, who, for medical reasons cannot have a heart transplant. The implant will assist her heart permanently. The patient will be able to live a normal life at home.
The device is very small – it weighs only 92 g, and can completely replace the function of the heart’s left ventricle. It can be used for both adults and children. The pump can be also be used as a “bridge-to-transplant” device that keeps a patient’s heart working while waiting for a matching donor heart.
CVD drug approval watch
FDA Approves New Cholesterol-Lowering Drug
The US FDA approved earlier this month the 4 mg dose of the anti-cholesterol drug pitavastatin (Livalo). Pitavastatin is indicated for patients with elevated or abnormal blood cholesterol levels which exercise and diet control. In order to be approved, a drug has to be proven to be better and safer that nay that is currently available on the market. Livalo was compared to three currently marketed statins in 5 clinical trials.
CVD drug safety watch
More data linking thiazolidinediones to fractures
More bad news about rosiglitazone (Avandia). Avandia belongs to the class of drugs called thiazolidinediones (TZDs), drugs which are used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. A study suggests that the use TZDs increases the risk for bone fractures. The study looked at 2 TZDs, rosiglitazone and pioglitazone, and found that TZD use is associated with a 28% increase in the risk of having peripheral fractures. The association seems to be stronger among pioglitazone users. In fact, the US FDA requested two years ago that a warning on fracture risk be added to the labeling of pioglitazone (Actos by Takeda). The study concludes: “There is insufficient clinical-trial evidence to show that treatment with TZDs provides clinical benefits beyond glycemic control, and in the absence of mitigating clinical benefits, mounting evidence of harm should discourage physicians from prescribing those drugs.”
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