‘Heart-in-a-dish’ to study the effects of coronavirus Source: British Heart Foundation

August 6, 2020

Source: British Heart Foundation  

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Date of publication:  18 June 2020

Publication type: Research

In a nutshell:  BHF-funded researchers are using stem cell ‘heart-in-a-dish’ technology – originally created to explore potential treatments for heart failure – to help understand how and why coronavirus (Covid-19) impacts the heart.

Length of publication:  1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library. https://www.hlisd.org/

Acknowledgement:   https://www.bhf.org.uk/


Could a chip the size of a pen tip help hearts beat better?

April 21, 2020

Source: British Heart Foundation

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 Date of publication:  April 2020

 Publication type: News

In a nutshell:    Researchers we fund believe that a chip that reads the body’s own breathing signals could be much more effective than a pacemaker.  Our heart, like any popular melody, has a vital pulse.

Its beat is never constant, it varies with every breath – speeding up when you inhale and slowing down when you exhale.

But for many of us, it may beat too slowly, too quickly, or irregularly. For those with heart failure, this difference in heart rate can prove deadly.

It’s why pacemakers are fitted to set a regular heart rate, easing a hearts struggle to pump blood properly.

Now, researchers believe a chip that reads the body’s own breathing signals to control one’s heart beat could be much more effective.

Length of publication:  1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library. https://www.hlisd.org/

Acknowledgement:   British Heart Foundation


Are open fires and wood-burners bad for your health?

April 21, 2020

Source: British Heart Foundation

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 Date of publication:  April 2020

 Publication type: News

In a nutshell:   There are few who don’t enjoy warming up by a fire in winter or sitting around a fire pit outside in the summer. In fact, these are such popular activities that around one in 10 British homes feature an open fire or a wood-burning stove – a total of 2.7million residences.

Yet few people know that for every minute we spend warming ourselves by the fire, tiny toxic air pollution particles known as PM2.5 are being released into the air, causing harm to our health.

This is one of the most harmful forms of air pollution. In fact, our research has shown that PM2.5 can enter our bloodstream and increase our risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Length of publication:  1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library. https://www.hlisd.org/

Acknowledgement:   British Heart Foundation


Virtual heart map to help doctors locate artery blockages

April 21, 2020

Source: British Heart Foundation

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 Date of publication:  April 2020

 Publication type: News

In a nutshell:    Currently, when a patient has a cardiac event or sees their doctor to complain of chest pain, they will often be sent for an angiogram – an X-ray used to examine blood vessels that can show whether patients have coronary artery disease, where fatty plaques build up in the vessels supplying blood to the heart. However, because the results aren’t always clear, there can be ambiguity as to where the problem areas are and their severity.

A pressure wire test can be performed to more accurately measure the blood pressure gradient across a narrowing within the heart, and tell doctors whether a person will benefit from treatment to open the blood vessels up. However, few people receive the test as it is expensive and time-consuming.

Prof Gunn and his team have developed a computer model called virtual Fractional Flow Reserve (vFFR) that calculates the pressure measurements from pictures of the blood vessels without needing the wire. It could provide greater clinical insight for doctors when making decisions about how to treat coronary artery disease.

Using data collected from hundreds of existing angiograms, the software has been proven to be accurate as tested against real pressure wire measurements. It displays the pressure gradient in colour, a healthy blood pressure gradient being green, and a significant pressure gradient in red.

Length of publication:  1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library. https://www.hlisd.org/

Acknowledgement:   British Heart Foundation


New study could prevent future heart attacks and stroke for chest pain patients

March 5, 2020

Source: British Heart Foundation

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Date of publication: 20th January 2020

Publication type: Research/News

In a nutshell:  Doctors could better identify the warning signs of a future heart attack or stroke in patients with undiagnosed chest pain, thanks to a new study funded by us at Keele University.

Now, they have been awarded more than £200,000 for researchers for a study that will aim to determine which characteristics predict future heart attacks or stroke in patients who do not get a specific diagnosis for their chest pain.

Length of publication:  1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement:  British Heart Foundation


Smokers who switch to vaping could soon ‘have healthier hearts’

November 19, 2019

Source: NHS –Behind the Headlines

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Date of publication: November 2019

Publication type: News item

In a nutshell: “Smokers can improve the health of their hearts within weeks of switching to e-cigarettes, the largest trial of its kind shows”

The number of people using e-cigarettes, or vaping, has grown rapidly over the past decade and they have helped many people to give up smoking cigarettes. However, as e-cigarettes have only been available for a relatively short time, we’re still building evidence on their health effects – both positive and negative. In this new Scottish study researchers recruited 115 smokers, about two-thirds of whom were willing to switch to e-cigarettes while a third continued to smoke. After a month researchers found the arteries of those who switched to e-cigarettes were now better at widening (dilating) when there was an increased blood flow. This ability of the arteries to remain pliable and respond to changes in blood flow is known as vascular function. Poor vascular function is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, such as a heart attack.

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement:   NHS –Behind the Headlines


Loneliness may increase death risk in people with heart conditions

November 19, 2019

Source: NHS –Behind the Headlines

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Date of publication: November 2019

Publication type: News item

In a nutshell: “Lonely heart patients at ‘increased risk of dying’ after leaving hospital,” reports The Independent. A survey of people with heart diseases discharged from hospitals in Denmark found that those who said they felt lonely were more likely to report feeling depressed and anxious, report a lower quality of life and were almost 3 times more likely to have died within a year of being discharged. Loneliness is not the same as living alone, however. People in the study who said they lived alone were less likely to experience anxiety, and no more likely to have died than people who lived with others. The survey adds to evidence from previous studies drawing a link between loneliness, social isolation and poor outcomes for people with heart disease. The researchers say doctors should consider loneliness as part of their clinical risk assessment when treating heart patients.

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement:   NHS –Behind the Headlines


High blood pressure and cholesterol in young adults linked to heart disease in later life

August 16, 2019

Source: NHS News – Behind the Headlines

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Date of publication: July 2019

Publication type: News item

In a nutshell: Researchers in the US modelled the risk factors of 36,030 people who took part in 6 long-running studies. They estimated the effects of high cholesterol and high blood pressure in young adulthood (from the age of 18 to 39) on people’s risk of heart attack, stroke or heart failure in later adulthood.

They found that both raised LDL “bad” cholesterol and raised blood pressure in young adulthood were linked to an increased risk of heart disease in later life.

The researchers say their study adds to evidence that raised blood pressure and cholesterol in early adulthood can be particularly harmful, and that new ways of tackling cardiovascular risk in early adulthood are needed.

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement:   NHS News – Behind the Headlines


Over half living with heart and circulatory diseases have experienced sadness, anxiety and depression

August 16, 2019

Source: British Heart Foundation

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Date of publication: July 2019

Publication type: News item

In a nutshell: Survey suggests that more than half of people living with heart and circulatory diseases have experienced feelings related to anxiety or depression, but many are not getting the help they need.

The survey involving almost 5,000 people living with conditions such as a heart attack, stroke and heart failure, found that 58% of respondents living with heart and circulatory diseases had reported feeling sad, down or depressed.

It also found that 59% had experienced feelings of anxiety, and fear or uncertainty about the future.

If these results were representative of the 7.4 million in the UK living with the daily burden of heart and circulatory diseases, this would mean that around four million of those may have experienced these feelings at some stage.

Parallel has revealed that less than half of all cardiac rehabilitation programmes – which offer exercise and information sessions to help people following a heart attack, heart surgery or procedure – have staff designated to mental health management.

And, according to further analysis of patient data by us, more than one in three (37%) working age adults in the UK living with coronary heart disease have been diagnosed with anxiety or depression by their GP, up from 30% a decade earlier. Around 4 in 10 (41%) working age stroke survivors have also been diagnosed with anxiety or depression by their GP. A decade earlier, this figure was 33%. Coronary heart disease, which can cause a heart attack, and stroke are two of the most common types of heart and circulatory disease in the UK.

The BHF is now urging the NHS and Governments across the UK to ensure that emotional and psychological support is a core consideration in the care and support provided to everyone affected by heart and circulatory diseases. In the BHF’s latest strategy, the nation’s heart charity is calling for everyone to receive the support they need to make a good recovery and live free from the fear of these conditions.

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement: British Heart Foundation


Increased risk of heart disease for healthy 75-year-olds who stop taking statins

August 16, 2019

Source: British Heart Foundation

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Date of publication: August 2019

Publication type: Research

In a nutshell: Statins are known to reduce the risk of further problems in patients of any age who have already suffered heart problems or stroke. However, until now it has not been clear how effective their use is in preventing such events occurring in healthy people aged 75 and over, with no previous history of cardiovascular disease.

Now, a nationwide study of 120,173 people in France, who were aged 75 between 2012 and 2014 and had been taking statins continuously for two years, has found those who stopped taking their statins had a 33% increased risk of being admitted to hospital with heart or blood vessel problems during an average follow-up period of 2.4 years.

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement: British Heart Foundation


New stem cell combination could help to repair damaged hearts

August 16, 2019

Source: British Heart Foundation

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Date of publication: August 2019

Publication type: Research

In a nutshell: Researchers have found that, by transplanting an area of damaged tissue with a combination of both heart muscle cells and supportive cells taken from the outer layer of the heart wall, they may be able to help the organs recover from the damage caused by a heart attack.

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement: British Heart Foundation


New cholesterol-lowering drug shows promise

May 14, 2019

Source: NHS News – Behind the Headlines

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Date of publication: March 2019

Publication type: News item

In a nutshell: A study has looked into the safety of a new treatment to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL), commonly known as “bad” cholesterol.

High cholesterol can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, which kills about 150,000 people in the UK each year.

Researchers recruited over 2,000 people who were already taking statins to lower their cholesterol. They were split into 2 groups. One group was given the new drug, bempedoic acid, alongside their statin for 1 year. The other group was given a dummy drug (placebo).

After 3 months, those who took bempedoic acid had lowered their bad cholesterol by around 17% compared to those on the placebo. There was no difference in reported side effects between this drug and the placebo over the course of 1 year. The dropout rate because of side effects was slightly higher in the bempedoic acid group (11%) compared with the placebo group (7%).

This study adds to the research looking for new cholesterol-lowering treatments when statins either don’t work or cause undesirable side effects. However, bempedoic acid is not currently a licensed treatment. The safety of the drug needs to be confirmed before it is made available.

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement:   NHS News – Behind the Headlines