Best of the Cardiology Web: Atherosclerosis Edition

A compilation of news summaries and links to additional information about new developments in atherosclerosis research.

A compilation of news summaries and links to additional information about new developments in atherosclerosis research.

The January 2010 issue of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases featured a pair of articles that looked at the association between kidney function and atherosclerosis. A team of Japanese researchers studying the relationship between chronic kidney disease (CKD) and severity of coronary atherosclerosis found that CKD “is associated significantly with severity of coronary atherosclerosis” and recommended that clinicians should consider patients with CKD to be “a high-risk population for advanced coronary atherosclerosis.” In the second study, researchers used data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study to “quantify the relative risk of ESRD [end-stage renal disease] in a community-based African American and white population associated with established cardiovascular risk factors.” They reported that “Male sex, African American race, diabetes, hypertension, history of coronary heart disease, smoking, older age, body mass index, and triglyceride concentration were associated with increased risk of ESRD after adjustment for baseline estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR).”

Is nanotechnology the next frontier for treating atherosclerosis? An article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports that researchers used “hybrid nanoparticles with a lipid shell interface surrounding a polymer core” to deliver slow-eluting conjugates of paclitaxel that inhibited human aortic smooth muscle cell proliferation in vitro. This approach “showed greater in vivo vascular retention during percutaneous angioplasty over nontargeted controls.”

MedGadget has more on the use of nanoburrs to treat atherosclerosis.

CardioBrief’s Larry Husten says that “recent advances in technology may one day allow cardiologists to see 3D images of the coronary arteries in the catheterization lab.” Husten also recently wrote about a study that found evidence that “an approach using fixed doses of statins based on the risk levels of individual patients” may be better than the current practice of “treat to target.”

A Cardiovascular Business article says that researchers in Turkey have found that the utilization of carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) can predict coronary artery disease (CAD). Study results published in Cardiovascular Ultrasound showed that “increase in CIMT is associated with the presence and extent of CAD.” The authors said that the use of carotid doppler ultrasound to measure CIMT is “a valuable screening tool due to its several advantages, including ease of application, reproducibility, low cost and strong correlation with atherosclerosis.”

Eric Topol, MD, asks “should we be measuring Lp(a) genetic variants to assess the risk of coronary disease? Should Lp(a) levels be modulated with drugs such as niacin or other alternatives?” citing this article, which provides “the strongest evidence yet that Lp(a) causes heart disease.”

The authors of an article on optical molecular imaging in atherosclerosis in the current issue of the Journal of Nuclear Cardiology say that “novel imaging techniques like optical imaging can evaluate the biological and cellular processes inside the plaque and provide information which can be vital for better patient risk stratification.” The article reviews various optical imaging techniques and their application in assessing biological processes in atherosclerosis.