The Most Relevant Articles of 2018 in Pharmacology and Clinical Cardiology

1- New High Blood Pressure Guidelines

The wait is finally over: the high blood pressure guidelines that have been in the works for the past 3 years saw the light of day at the American Heart Association (AHA) 2017 Scientific Sessions.

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2- New European Hypertension Guidelines Contrast with American Recommendations

The European guidelines on hypertension have been updated and now feature differences compared with American guidelines regarding how to diagnose and treat patients with high blood pressure. The main difference particularly lies in how aggressive physicians should be in lowering blood pressure. These data are available from a preview of the document presented at the Meeting on Hypertension in Barcelona, soon to be formally published. Many of the recommendations do not match those in American guidelines.

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3- Ten Commandments of the European Hypertension Guidelines: Several “Sins Allowed” Compared with American Guidelines

These new hypertension guidelines (which were as long-awaited as the American ones, back then) finally emerged in Barcelona, at the European Society of Hypertension (ESH) Congress. The document was issued jointly with the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

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4- What to Do with Blood Pressure Levels Between 130/80 and 139/89 mmHg

The decision to be made with a treatment-free patient with systolic blood pressure over 160 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure over 100 mmHg is an easy one. All guidelines agree: treatment should be started immediately alongside lifestyle changes.

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5- ESC 2018 | ARRIVE: Aspirin in the Eye of the Storm of Primary Prevention

Aspirin failed to reach the primary endpoint in a population that was at risk of experiencing cardiovascular disease. However, something that a short time ago seemed obvious could not be proved by randomizing 12,000 patients. The ARRIVE trial, presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2018 and simultaneously published in The Lancet, joins the ASCEND trial and together force aspirin against the ropes as regards the primary prevention setting.

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6- ESC 2018 | ASCEND: Aspirin for Primary Prevention in Diabetic Patients Fails the Cost-Benefit Analysis

The obvious risk of bleeding posed by aspirin was too clear in this work, casting a shadow of doubt over the indication of aspirin for primary prevention in diabetic patients. According to the ASCEND trial, presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) 2018 Congress and simultaneously published in NEJM, aspirin reduces cardiovascular events as primary prevention, but the cost in terms of major bleeding is too high to support its use in this setting.

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7- Angioplasty Complexity May Define the Duration of Dual Antiplatelet Therapy

The DAPT study concluded that continued thienopyridine plus aspirin beyond a year after coronary angioplasty is associated with a decrease in the rate of stent thrombosis and major cardiovascular events. In contrast, there is a significant increase in moderate to severe bleeding when compared with continued aspirin alone.

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8- When and How to Switch Dual Antiplatelet Therapies

Dual antiplatelet therapy with aspirin and a P2Y12 inhibitor is the treatment of choice for patients with acute coronary syndrome who undergo coronary angioplasty. Different oral P2Y12 inhibitors (clopidogrel, prasugrel, ticagrelor) present different characteristics as regards efficacy, risk for bleeding, cost, and timing of administration. In this sense, physicians frequently switch among drugs according to the specific clinical scenario.

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9- Complex PCI: DAPT defining factor?

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) has recently published a study on the role of coronary anatomy and PCI technical difficulty in the cost benefit ratio of prolonged vs. short post procedural DAPT. This study was carried out by Robert Yeh, Laura Mauri and the DAPT trial researchers.

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10- Clinical and Economic Costs Compete in the De-Escalation of Antiplatelet Therapy

Patients undergoing primary angioplasty for ST-segment elevation acute myocardial infarction have similar clinical outcomes at 1 year regardless of whether they are treated with ticagrelor or prasugrel, according the PRAGUE-18 study.

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