Once a problem primarily in developed, Western nations, atherosclerosis is on the rise in developing countries and has become a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. As the burden of atherosclerosis has shifted geographically and socioeconomically, the way in which the disease is approached and treated has shifted as well. Peter Libby, MD, a cardiovascular medicine specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, has helped drive the latter of these changes.
The tricuspid valve is often referred to as the “forgotten valve.” That’s because when it begins to malfunction, it usually doesn’t result in the same severity of symptoms as when there are problems with the aortic and mitral valves. Additionally, when it does stop working properly, fewer interventions are available for treatment.
Fainting is a fairly common reaction to painful or emotional stimuli. It is especially common in young children, but most people eventually grow out of it or are able to manage the occasional occurrence. For a small group of people, however, neurocardiogenic syncope becomes debilitating, with fainting spells happening every couple of weeks, often without any provoking factors.
As part of its continuing mission to innovate safer, more effective treatments, the Cardiac Arrhythmia Service at Brigham and Women’s Hospital has introduced a new version of a minimally invasive procedure for people with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (Afib). The procedure, which currently uses the WATCHMAN™ FLX device, extends the option of left atrial appendage (LAA) closure to patients who may not have qualified for it before.
Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital are investigating genetic drivers of vascular disease to help prevent aortic dissection and aneurysm in patients with a familial risk. Using a simple blood draw, they are testing patients for genetic abnormalities that can cause the often-deadly condition.
Timely diagnosis of an acute aortic dissection is the first key step to saving a patient’s life. However, not all hospitals are equipped to handle the next critical step: administering timely treatment to reestablish true lumen flow in the aorta. In these cases, according to an invited expert review published in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, rapid transfer of the patient to a center of excellence is advisable.
Today’s cancer therapies are helping patients live longer. However, treatments including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and certain targeted and immunological therapies increase the risk of developing cancer-associated thrombosis (CAT). Physicians at Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Heart & Vascular Center are working with colleagues at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) to help prevent CAT and minimize its effect on timely cancer care.
The Heart & Vascular Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital has a well-established reputation for innovation in atrial fibrillation (Afib) treatment. Twenty years ago, the Brigham pioneered cryoablation therapy, which currently comprises about 20 percent of Afib ablations conducted worldwide.
Over the past decade, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) has evolved from a high-risk procedure to one that has become a standard of care. Each year, thousands of patients undergo this minimally invasive procedure.
Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is a mainstay of therapy for rheumatic diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, its use in treating COVID-19 patients in recent months has raised concerns over a possible link to acute cardiac toxicity.