Stroke and thromboembolism prevention in atrial fibrillation.

Abstract: Prevention of stroke and systemic thromboembolism remains the cornerstone for management of atrial fibrillation (AF) and flutter. Multiple risk assessment models for stroke and systemic thromboembolism are currently available. […]

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Comparison of Outcomes After Percutaneous Coronary Interventions in Patients of Eighty Years and Above Compared With Those Less Than 80 Years.

Abstract: Life expectancy in the United States has increased due to advances in health care. Despite increased utilization of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), octogenarian patients are less likely to be […]

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Secondary stroke prevention: a population-based cohort study on anticoagulation and antiplatelet treatments, and the risk of death or recurrence.

Abstract: Using claims databases of a public healthcare program (Quebec) for the years 2010 – 2013, we conducted a cohort study of acute ischemic stroke (AIS) patients to describe secondary […]

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Speech and language therapy approaches to managing primary progressive aphasia.

The term primary progressive aphasia (PPA) describes a group of neurodegenerative disorders with predominant speech and language dysfunction as their main feature. There are three main variants – the semantic variant, the nonfluent or agrammatic variant and the logopenic variant – each with specific linguistic deficits and different neuroanatomical involvement. There are currently no curative treatments or symptomatic pharmacological therapies. However, speech and language therapists have developed several impairment-based interventions and compensatory strategies for use in the clinic. Unfortunately, multiple barriers still need to be overcome to improve access to care for people with PPA, including increasing awareness among referring clinicians, improving training of speech and language therapists and developing evidence-based guidelines for therapeutic interventions. This review highlights this inequity and the reasons why neurologists should refer people with PPA to speech and language therapists.

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A Framework for Evaluation of the Higher-Risk Infant After a Brief Resolved Unexplained Event.

In 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a clinical practice guideline that more specifically defined apparent life-threatening events as brief resolved unexplained events (BRUEs) and provided evidence-based recommendations for the evaluation of infants who meet lower-risk criteria for a subsequent event or serious underlying disorder. The clinical practice guideline did not provide recommendations for infants meeting higher-risk criteria, an important and common population of patients. Therefore, we propose a tiered approach for clinical evaluation and management of higher-risk infants who have experienced a BRUE. Because of a vast array of potential causes, the initial evaluation prioritizes the diagnosis of time-sensitive conditions for which delayed diagnosis or treatment could impact outcomes, such as child maltreatment, feeding problems, cardiac arrhythmias, infections, and congenital abnormalities. The secondary evaluation addresses problems that are less sensitive to delayed diagnosis or treatment, such as dysphagia, intermittent partial airway obstruction, and epilepsy. The authors recommend a tailored, family-centered, multidisciplinary approach to evaluation and management of all higher-risk infants with a BRUE, whether accomplished during hospital admission or through coordinated outpatient care. The proposed framework was developed by using available evidence and expert consensus.

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National Trends in Statin Medication Prescribing in Patients With a History of Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack.

Guidelines support statin therapy post-stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA); however, previously reported utilization rates are suboptimal.This study investigates the incidence of statin usage in patients with a documented stroke or TIA while identifying predictors of statin use.A retrospective, cross-sectional study utilizing data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.A total of 2963 unweighted visits were included in the analysis, representing a total of 52 645 000 office visits when weighted. Statin therapy was initiated or continued in 35.7% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 32.4-39.0%) of office visits. Upon multivariate analysis, positive predictors of statin therapy included a diagnosis of hyperlipidemia (odds ratio [OR]: 3.60; 95% CI: 2.40-5.41), angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE-I) therapy (OR: 2.52; 95% CI: 1.69-3.76), aspirin therapy (OR: 2.02; 95% CI: 1.40-2.93), and clopidogrel therapy (OR: 2.60; 95% CI: 1.69-4.02). Negative predictors of statin therapy included office visits with neurologists when compared to visits with primary care practitioners (OR: 0.55; 95% CI: 0.33-0.90) and office visits in rural areas when compared to office visits in urban areas (OR: 0.64; 95% CI: 0.41-0.99).Various factors impact statin therapy use with overall utilization being suboptimal, highlighting an opportunity for medication optimization.

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Meta-Analysis of Oral Anticoagulant Monotherapy as an Antithrombotic Strategy in Patients With Stable Coronary Artery Disease and Nonvalvular Atrial Fibrillation.

Guidelines recommend oral anticoagulant (OAC) monotherapy without antiplatelet therapy (APT) in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (AF) with stable coronary artery disease (CAD) of >1 year after myocardial infarction or percutaneous coronary intervention. More evidences are required for the safety and efficacy of OAC monotherapy compared with OAC plus APT. PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews were systematically searched up to February 2019. Nonrandomized studies and randomized clinical trials comparing OAC monotherapy with OAC plus single APT (SAPT) for patients with stable CAD and nonvalvular AF. The primary end point was major adverse cardiovascular events (composite of ischemic or thrombotic events) and secondary outcomes included major bleeding, stroke, all-cause death, and net adverse events (composite of ischemic, thrombotic, or bleeding events). From 6 trials, 8,855 patients were included. There was no significant difference in major adverse cardiovascular event in patients with AF treated using OAC plus SAPT compared with those treated with OAC monotherapy (hazard ratio [HR] 1.09; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.92 to 1.29). OAC plus SAPT was associated with a significantly higher risk of major bleeding compared with OAC monotherapy (HR 1.61; 95% CI 1.38 to 1.87), as well as in terms of net adverse event (HR 1.21; 95% CI 1.02 to 1.43). There were no significant differences in rates of stroke and all-cause death. In conclusion, in this meta-analysis, OAC monotherapy and OAC plus SAPT treatment showed similar effectiveness, but OAC monotherapy was significantly associated with a lower risk of bleeding compared with OAC plus SAPT in patients with nonvalvular AF and stable CAD.

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Effect of Systolic and Diastolic Blood Pressure on Cardiovascular Outcomes.

The relationship between outpatient systolic and diastolic blood pressure and cardiovascular outcomes remains unclear and has been complicated by recently revised guidelines with two different thresholds (?140/90 mm Hg and ?130/80 mm Hg) for treating hypertension.Using data from 1.3 million adults in a general outpatient population, we performed a multivariable Cox survival analysis to determine the effect of the burden of systolic and diastolic hypertension on a composite outcome of myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, or hemorrhagic stroke over a period of 8 years. The analysis controlled for demographic characteristics and coexisting conditions.The burdens of systolic and diastolic hypertension each independently predicted adverse outcomes. In survival models, a continuous burden of systolic hypertension (?140 mm Hg; hazard ratio per unit increase in z score, 1.18; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.17 to 1.18) and diastolic hypertension (?90 mm Hg; hazard ratio per unit increase in z score, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.06 to 1.07) independently predicted the composite outcome. Similar results were observed with the lower threshold of hypertension (?130/80 mm Hg) and with systolic and diastolic blood pressures used as predictors without hypertension thresholds. A J-curve relation between diastolic blood pressure and outcomes was seen that was explained at least in part by age and other covariates and by a higher effect of systolic hypertension among persons in the lowest quartile of diastolic blood pressure.Although systolic blood-pressure elevation had a greater effect on outcomes, both systolic and diastolic hypertension independently influenced the risk of adverse cardiovascular events, regardless of the definition of hypertension (?140/90 mm Hg or ?130/80 mm Hg). (Funded by the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Community Benefit Program.).

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Hypersensitivity reactions to recombinant tissue plasminogen activator.

Recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA) is currently the only approved thrombolytic agent for treating acute ischaemic stroke that is widely used in clinical practice. However, it may cause haemorrhage and hypersensitivity reactions. Orolingual angioedema is an infrequent, usually mild but potentially life threatening, hypersensitivity reaction to rtPA. Our understanding of the basic biology of angioedema has increased in recent years. There is growing evidence that rtPA-induced orolingual angioedema is driven mainly by bradykinin generation rather than it being an anaphylactic response. Monitoring is important because orolingual angioedema may evolve and compromise airways and a small number do have angioedema as part of systemic anaphylaxis. There are no published guidelines for treating rtPA-induced orolingual angioedema, although some evidence suggests that those refractory to standard antianaphylactic agents may resolve with bradykinin B2 receptor antagonists. It is important that responses to orolingual angioedema are proportionate and that patients are closely monitored.

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Alert-based computerized decision support for high-risk hospitalized patients with atrial fibrillation not prescribed anticoagulation: a randomized, controlled trial (AF-ALERT).

Despite widely available risk stratification tools, safe and effective anticoagulant options, and guideline recommendations, anticoagulation for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation (AF) is underprescribed. We created and evaluated an alert-based computerized decision support (CDS) strategy to increase anticoagulation prescription in hospitalized AF patients at high risk for stroke.We enrolled 458 patients (CHA2DS2-VASc score ?1) with AF who were not prescribed anticoagulant therapy and were hospitalized at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Patients were randomly allocated, according to Attending Physician of record, to intervention (alert-based CDS) vs. control (no notification). The primary efficacy outcome was the frequency of anticoagulant prescription. The CDS tool assigned 248 patients to the alert group and 210 to the control group. Patients in the alert group were more likely to be prescribed anticoagulation during the hospitalization (25.8% vs. 9.5%, P < 0.0001), at discharge (23.8% vs. 12.9%, P = 0.003), and at 90 days (27.7% vs. 17.1%, P = 0.007). The alert reduced the odds of a composite outcome of death, myocardial infarction (MI), cerebrovascular event, and systemic embolic event at 90 days [11.3% vs. 21.9%, P = 0.002; odds ratio (OR) 0.45; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.27-0.76]. The alert reduced the odds of MI at 90 days by 87% (1.2% vs. 8.6%, P = 0.0002; OR 0.13; 95% CI 0.04-0.45) and cerebrovascular events or systemic embolism at 90 days by 88% (0% vs. 2.4%, P = 0.02; OR 0.12; 95% CI 0.0-0.91).An alert-based CDS strategy increased anticoagulation in high-risk hospitalized AF patients and reduced major adverse cardiovascular events, including MI and stroke.NCT02339493.

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Low-Dose Alteplase for the Treatment of Submassive Pulmonary Embolism: A Case Series.

Pulmonary embolism (PE) can lead to significant morbidity and mortality. Thrombolytics are currently approved for the treatment of massive PE; however, the CHEST guidelines recommend against systemic thrombolytic use in acute PE patients without hypotension, unless these patients deteriorate on anticoagulation alone. Several studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of thrombolysis in submassive PE; however, the full thrombolytic dose resulted in significantly increased risk of non-intracranial bleeding and hemorrhagic stroke. The MOPETT trial demonstrated that low-dose tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) significantly reduced the risk of pulmonary hypertension and recurrent PE compared to anticoagulation alone in submassive PE patients without any bleeding events.This case series highlights 5 patient cases utilizing low-dose tPA for submassive PE. All patients had successful resolution of their symptoms and improvement in vitals and laboratory values. Furthermore, no patient had any bleeding during or after tPA administration. Three patients showed improved right ventricle function and reduced or normal right ventricle size on echocardiogram after tPA administration.The potential for low-dose tPA as a safe and efficacious treatment option for submassive PE is illustrated by this case series. However, larger, randomized controlled trials are needed to establish low-dose tPA as an accepted treatment modality.

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Oral anticoagulants in atrial fibrillation with valvular heart disease and bioprosthetic heart valves.

Current guidelines endorse the use of non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs) in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). However, little is known about their safety and efficacy in valvular heart disease (VHD). Similarly, there is a paucity of data regarding NOACs use in patients with a bioprosthetic heart valve (BPHV). We, therefore, performed a network meta-analysis in the subgroups of VHD and meta-analysis in patients with a BPHV.PubMed, Cochrane and Embase were searched for randomised controlled trials. Summary effects were estimated by the random-effects model. The outcomes of interest were a stroke or systemic embolisation (SSE), myocardial infarction (MI), all-cause mortality, major adverse cardiac events, major bleeding and intracranial haemorrhage (ICH).In patients with VHD, rivaroxaban was associated with more ICH and major bleeding than other NOACs, while edoxaban 30?mg was associated with least major bleeding. Data combining all NOACs showed a significant reduction in SSE, MI and ICH (0.70, [0.57 to 0.85; p<0.001]; 0.70 [0.50 to 0.99; p<0.002]; and 0.46 [0.24 to 0.86; p<0.01], respectively). Analysis of 280 patients with AF and a BPHV showed similar outcomes with NOACs and warfarin.NOACs performed better than warfarin for a reduction in SSE, MI and ICH in patients with VHD. Individually NOACs performed similarly to each other except for an increased risk of ICH and major bleeding with rivaroxaban and a reduced risk of major bleeding with edoxaban 30?mg. In patients with a BPHV, results with NOACs seem similar to those with warfarin and this needs to be further explored in larger studies.

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Implementing clinical guidelines.

Clinical guidelines that support practice and improve care are essential in this era of evidence-based medicine. However, implementing this guidance often falls short in practice. Sharing knowledge and auditing practice are important, but not sufficient to implement change. This article brings together evidence from the study of behaviour, education and clinical practice and offers practical tips on how practising neurologists might bring about change in the healthcare environment. Common themes include the importance of team working, multidisciplinary engagement, taking time to identify who and what needs changing, and selecting the most appropriate tool(s) for the job. Engaging with the challenge is generally more rewarding than resisting and is important for the effective provision of care.

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