Keeping you up to date on recent headlines in cardiovascular healthcare:

Voluntary recall of medication to treat heart arrhythmias .... Watson Pharmaceuticals (Corona, California) reported that it is recalling one lot of Propafenone HCL 225 mg tablets used to treat cardiac arrhythmias because some tablets may contain a "slightly higher" level of active ingredient. The affected lot of tablets was shipped to between Oct. 15, 2008, and Nov. 26, 2008. No other strengths or lots were affected and the company does not anticipate any product shortages as a result of this recall. (www.watson.com)

Joint Commission, AHA certification for exemplary heart failure care .... The Joint Commission (Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois) and the American Heart Association (Dallas) have unveiled a Disease-Specific Care Advanced Certification Program in Heart Failure, a four-point assessment of hospital quality in care of heart failure patients. hospitals making exceptional efforts to foster better quality of care and outcomes for heart failure patients. Jean Range, RN, executive director of Disease-Specific Care Certification, The Joint Commission, said that achievement of certification "signifies that ... these organizations have the critical elements to achieve long-term success in improving outcomes [and] ... the care provided is effectively managed to meet the unique and specialized needs of heart-failure patients." (For information, call 630-792-5291 or e-mail, Jean Range, dscinfo@jointcommission.org.)

Study: Cardiac arrythmias, sleep-disordered breathing linked .... Researchers at the Ruhr University in Bochum have published research in the current edition of Deutsches Arzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2009; 106(10): 164 - 70) indicating the frequency of sleep-disordered breathing with atrial fibrillation (AF). Using cardiorespiratory polygraphy, the researchers found sleep impaired in 74% of 150 subjects, with 43% of this group suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). (www.aerzteblatt-international.de)

'Stent 4 Life' pushes primary PCI use in acute coronary patients ... . A coalition of European organization has launched "Stent 4 Life," a project designed to encourage the wider use of reperfusion therapy with percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI) in Europe. The campaign focuses on ST-segment elevation acute myocardial infarction (STEMI), about one-third of all acute coronary events. The campaign will identify those countries where the use of primary PCI can be encouraged, the quality of care improved. The recently reported National Infarct Angioplasty Project in the UK is one such plan. (More information: press@escardio.org.)

Genes identified in connection with sudden cardiac death .... A team of U.S., German and Italian researchers has identified 10 genes associated with changes in the so-called QT interval duration which measures the length of time the heart takes to contract. The researchers says that this discovery could help identify individuals most at risk of that complication and help the industry develop drugs that avoid that complication altogether. The paper, "Common variants at ten loci modulate the QT interval duration in the QTSCD Study" appears in the March 22 issue of Nature Genetics.

Gillibrand co-signs HEART for Women Act .... Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) has co-signed the Heart disease Education, Analysis and Research, and Treatment (HEART) for Women Act. HEART for Women would authorize grants to educate health professionals about the prevention and treatment of heart diseases in women and authorizes Medicare to conduct an awareness campaign about the risk for heart disease and stroke among older women. It also would expand, from 20 states to 50 states, a screening service from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta) for uninsured and underinsured women. (Full story: www.cnylink.com/cnynews/view_news.php?news_id=1237645761)

3rd EUROASPIRE survey on Europe's heart patients .... Large proportions of European coronary patients are failing to achieve lifestyle and risk targets to further disease, according to the third EUROASPIRE survey, a study of almost 9,000 patients throughout Europe with coronary heart disease. Lead investigator Kornelia Kotseva, MD, of the National Heart & Lung Institute (London), described smoking and obesity in European coronary patients as "alarming," noting that nearly one in five patients continued smoking after a coronary event. And: "Compared to our two previous surveys, the prevalence of obesity has substantially increased." She said that despite an increase in the use of preventative drug treatments, most patients are snot achieving blood pressure and cholesterol targets. (Full statement: www.escardio.org/about/press/press-releases/pr-09/Pages/results-third-EUROASPIRE-survey.aspx)

First U.S. advanced 3-D heart catheterizations in U.S. .... General Electric (Fairfield, Connecticut) said that two cardiologists at the third Interventional Catheterization Laboratory of The Good Samaritan Hospital are the first in U.S. to perform 3-D imaging of complex cardiac anatomy using the company's Innova 3D imaging system. The hospital says that the Invasive Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories offer patients the most advanced cardiac and peripheral interventional care, including diagnostic catheterization and stent placement as well as assessment of structural heart disease. (www.gshleb.org)

eCardio launches academic medicine initiative .... eCardio Diagnostics (The Woodlands, Texas) reported that it has launched an Academic Medicine initiative to provide a tailored offering to university-based health systems. eCaredio said this is the first time an arrhythmia monitoring company has addressed the unique workflow, teaching and research responsibilities of academic medical centers. (www.ecardio.com)

PNG may ban lamb meat amid heart disease spike .... A prominent Papua, New Guinea, cardiologist says banning a popular but fatty type of meat would reduce the country's skyrocketing rate of heart disease. MP Jamie Maxtone-Graham said he will introduce a bill into PNG Parliament this week banning the importation and selling of lamb flaps.

New JCF editor sought .... The Heart Failure Society of America is seeking applicants for the position of editor-in-chief for The Journal of Cardiac Failure, the official peer-reviewed journal of the HFSA and the Japanese Heart Failure Society, beginning Jan. 1, 2010. The initial appointment will be for five years.

— Compiled by Don Long, MDD National Editor

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