Discover top breakthroughs in heart health research, including new drugs, treatments, and approaches to managing cardiovascular disease. Improve your wellness journey today!

Kick-starting Cardiovascular Health: A Round-Up of Breakthrough Research in 2023

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) might sound like a tough nut to crack, but believe it or not, researchers have been tirelessly finding ways to keep this nut from spoiling our health. According to the 2023 list of top CVD advances from the American Heart Association (AHA), the scientific community is lighting up new paths to healthier hearts and pumping life into the fight against CVD. So buff up those reading glasses (eyebrows always need a good workout too) and join me as we huff and puff our way through a year’s worth of breakthroughs in heart health.

New Drug Helps Keep Blood Pressure in Check

Keeping blood pressure stable is like doing a complex balancing act on top of a Swiss ball—it requires dedication, accuracy, and consistency. Unfortunately, less than 25% of adults receiving treatment for hypertension maintain their balance. However, a new drug called zilebesiran, which targets angiotensinogen, may help. In a recent study, a single injection of this super wonder reduced blood pressure in patients with mild to moderate hypertension for up to six months. Now that’s something worth pumping your fists up in the air for!

Bigger Strokes, Big Time Benefits

Endovascular thrombectomies are usually reserved for small or medium-sized strokes. But 2023 saw some daring researchers try this technique on larger, nastier strokes. The results were magnificent, proving that early endovascular thrombectomies following large cerebral infarctions were far superior to standard care. Patients were more independent and experienced fewer disabilities during the three months after treatment. Sounds like a flawless victory, doesn’t it?

A Sharper Image Guides Stent Placement

If stents are the road maps for coronary arteries, it makes sense to get the best cartographer to chart these paths, right? In 2023, several studies unveiled the benefits of using advanced imaging techniques to guide stent placement in complex coronary lesions. Out with the old angiography and in with optical coherence tomography (OCT) and intravascular imaging—the future of PCI looks brighter and clearer.

Earlier Anticoagulation Guarding Against Stroke

Time waits for no man, woman, or stroke. With current guidelines suggesting varying wait times for starting DOAC therapy in AF patients after a stroke, researchers questioned if an earlier approach would be beneficial. Turns out, starting DOAC treatment sooner didn’t increase the risk for intracranial hemorrhage and further reduced the risk for ischemic events. Angles on anticoagulation therapy, people!

Innovative Diabetes Drugs Benefiting Obese Non-Diabetic Patients

We all know weight issues can put serious pressure on hearts, but what if a diabetes drug could lighten the load? Recent studies suggest sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors and glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists may not only lower the risk of CV events but also improve CV health in obese adults without diabetes. Could these off-prescription uses be a game-changer for managing obesity?

Social Determinants of Health Hitting Hard on CVD Mortality

You can’t spell ‘cardiovascular’ without ‘care,’ but it seems like some people might need more of it than others. Research emphasizes that social determinants of health continue to drive disparities in CVD outcomes and are particularly high in rural counties and areas with a large population of Black residents.

More Healthy Eating=Less Premature Death

Sounds simple, right? A recent large cohort study further validated the link between a healthy diet and lower risks of mortality from various causes. So, let’s put away those XXL protein bars (we all know they are just candy in disguise), and fill our plates with more nutrient-rich food instead.

Enter: Cardiovascular-Kidney-Metabolic Syndrome

This year, the AHA formally recognized the overlapping symptoms of heart disease, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity as an individual health threat, which they dubbed cardiovascular-kidney-metabolic (CKM) syndrome. The AHA also introduced a fancy new tool called the PREVENT risk calculator to accurately estimate your future CV risks.

Less Invasive Treatment Revolutionizing PAD Care

An endovascular approach appears to be a better option over vein bypass surgery for chronic, limb-threatening ischemia, an advanced form of PAD. Research shows these approaches lead to fewer major amputations or deaths during follow-up. Healthier hearts, healthier limbs—now that’s what I call a win-win!

So, whether you’re struggling to keep your cholesterol count in check, working on shedding some pounds, or simply interested in staying on top of the latest health news, here’s a lighthearted and (hopefully) enlightening round-up:

  • New antihypertensive zilebesiran offers longer-lasting blood pressure control
  • Large-scale stroke management improved by early endovascular thrombectomies
  • Advanced imaging techniques enhance stent placement
  • Sooner start to anticoagulation post-stroke can be successful
  • Diabetes drugs can improve CV health in obese adults without diabetes
  • Community and societal factors influence CVD outcomes
  • Healthy diet linked to lowered risk of premature death
  • Cardiovascular-kidney-metabolic syndrome formally recognized
  • Endovascular approaches triumph in treating advanced PAD

Source Citation: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/aha-names-top-cvd-advances-2023-2023a1000wtt

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