Study: COVID-19 an independent risk factor for acute ischemic stroke

A retrospective, 123-patient, case-control study looked at individuals presenting to the hospital for suspicion of stroke. When assessing the group of patients with stroke vs. non-stroke, the researchers saw a significantly elevated number of patients with COVID-19 infection among the stroke group after stratifying for other known common risk factors. The team said it was first major peer-reviewed study to establish a link between SARS-CoV-2 infection and increased stroke risk when accounting for confounding risk factors. They concluded that clinicians should evaluate COVID-19 patients early for acute neurological changes, and timely workup should be performed in patients suspected to have stroke to reduce morbidity and mortality. The findings were published June 25, 2020, in the American Journal of Neuroradiology.

New heart valve holds hope for open heart surgery

A new polymeric heart valve that could last longer vs. current artificial offering is being assessed. Of note, University of Bristol and Cambridge researchers see it as potentially eliminating the need for the millions of patients with diseased heart valves to require life-long blood thinning tablets. In fact, results, published in Biomaterials Science June 17, 2020, suggest that the Polivalve could last for up to 25 years. Worldwide, more than 1.3 million patients with diseased heart valves need replacement therapy annually. There are two artificial valves currently available for these patients; however, both have limitations either in durability or biocompatibility. Geoff Moggridge, head of the Structured Materials Group at Cambridge's department of chemical engineering and biotechnology, and Raimondo Ascione, NHS adult cardiac surgeon and head of the Translational Biomedical Research Centre at the University of Bristol, have spent three years conducting developmental work and ex vivo and in vivo testing on the Polivalve. The researchers noted that it combines excellent durability with biocompatibility, while addressing the limitations of current biological and mechanical artificial valves. Initial animal testing has taken place to ensure safety, while long-term in vivo testing already is planned and funded as a necessary additional step before bringing this new treatment to patients. "The transformational Polivalve results from an advanced Bristol/Cambridge-based biomedical cross-fertilization between experts in biomaterials, computational modeling, advanced preclinical development/testing and clinical academics understanding the patient needs,” Ascione explained. "The new valve could help millions of people worldwide and we aim to test in patients within the next five years."

Company unveils results on therapy to treat cardiovalvular diseases

Cardiawave, of Paris, has developed a Noninvasive Ultrasound Therapy for the treatment of cardiovalvular diseases, such as aortic stenosis. It recently detailed a 10-patient, first-in-human clinical trial of the technology, labeled as the Valvosoft device, that was conducted in Paris and the Netherlands. Participants were considered not suitable for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) or open-heart surgery, as a result of concomitant diseases or problems in obtaining access to the blood vessels with a catheter. The mechanism of the technology consists in widening the opening of the aortic valve by delivering short sequences of high intensity ultrasounds that are focused on the valve from outside the body, thereby eliminating the need for invasive treatment. The company is encouraged by the results; analysis of the patients' heart condition by echocardiography was performed by an independent core laboratory. At six months, the procedure was shown to be safe; further, it can improve the condition of the heart and the clinical status of these patients. It is hoped that this therapy could hold promise for other indications, such as improving patients' condition and prepare them for TAVR, as well as for helping less sick patients to slow down the progression of their disease and delay the replacement of their valves. Of note, the procedure can be done on an ambulatory basis and serve as a cost-effective option. In addition, because it is noninvasive, it likely can be repeated to further improve or maintain its effect. Results were presented during the PCR e-Course.

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