New clues found to help protect heart from damage after heart attack

Studying mice, scientists have shown that boosting the activity of specific immune cells in the heart after a heart attack can protect against developing heart failure, an invariably fatal condition. Patients with heart failure tire easily and become breathless from everyday activities because the heart muscle has lost the ability to pump enough blood to […]

Safety-Net Hospitals Fare Better Under New Medicare Reimbursement Rules

New Medicare reimbursement rules provide some relief to safety-net hospitals, shifting the burden of financial penalties toward hospitals serving wealthier patient populations, according to a new study led by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The new rules also reduce the burden of such penalties on hospitals in states that have more generous […]

Obese Mouse Mothers Trigger Heart Problems in Offspring

A diet high in fats and sugars is known for its unhealthy effects on the heart. Scientists now have found that a high-fat, high-sugar diet in mouse mothers before and during pregnancy causes problems in the hearts of their offspring, and that such problems are passed down at least three generations, even if the younger […]

Is Intermittent Fasting the Cure for Diabetes?

(CNN) Three men with Type 2 diabetes used “intermittent fasting” to reverse their dependence on insulin, according to a report published on [October 9th, 2018] — but you shouldn’t try it without medical supervision, experts say. The new case report says the three patients also lost weight, and their HbA1Cs, a measure of blood sugar […]

Lowering hospitals’ Medicare costs proves difficult

A payment system that provides financial incentives for hospitals that reduce health-care costs for Medicare patients did not lower costs as intended, according to a new study led by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The researchers assessed what is called a bundled-payment system, in which hospitals are assigned a target cost for […]

Scientists ID source of damaging inflammation after heart attack

Scientists have zeroed in on a culprit that spurs damaging inflammation in the heart following a heart attack. The guilty party is a type of immune cell that tries to heal the injured heart but instead triggers inflammation that leads to even more damage. Further, the researchers have found that an already approved drug effectively […]

Study of smoking and genetics illuminates complexities of blood pressure

Analyzing the genetics and smoking habits of more than half a million people has shed new light on the complexities of controlling blood pressure, according to a study led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The research, published Feb. 15 in The American Journal of Human Genetics, stems from an […]

Deadly heart rhythm halted by noninvasive radiation therapy

Radiation therapy often is used to treat cancer patients. Now, doctors at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that radiation therapy — aimed directly at the heart — can be used to treat patients with a life-threatening heart rhythm. They treated five patients who had irregular heart rhythms, called ventricular tachycardia, […]

Aggressive testing provides no benefit to patients in ER with chest pain

Patients who go to the emergency room (ER) with chest pain often receive unnecessary tests to evaluate whether they are having a heart attack, a practice that provides no clinical benefit and adds hundreds of dollars in health-care costs, according to a new study from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. […]

Drug trial shows promise for deadly neurological disorder

Results of a small clinical trial show promise for treating a rare neurodegenerative condition that typically kills those afflicted before they reach age 20. The disease, called Niemann-Pick type C (NPC), causes cholesterol to build up in neurons, leading to a gradual loss of brain function. In the drug trial, researchers have shown that treatment […]

Type of sugar may treat atherosclerosis, mouse study shows

Researchers have long sought ways to harness the body’s immune system to treat disease, especially cancer. Now, scientists have found that the immune system may be triggered to treat atherosclerosis and possibly other metabolic conditions, including fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes. Studying mice, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis […]

BJC, School of Medicine establish Health Systems Innovation Lab

Improving patients’ health while reducing costs has become a mantra in health care, but this requires new ways of thinking about patients’ medical needs and delivering care more efficiently. At the same time, the pace of scientific discovery continues to accelerate, particularly in understanding how genes, behaviors and environments affect one’s health. These developments are […]

Genetic errors associated with heart health may guide drug development

One family with rare gene mutation gives clues to preventing heart attacks. Natural genetic changes can put some people at high risk of certain conditions, such as breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease or high blood pressure. But in rare cases, genetic errors also can have the opposite effect, protecting individuals with these helpful genetic mistakes from […]

Study reveals ways to improve outcomes, reduce costs for common heart procedure

Hospitals can improve patient care and reduce costs associated with coronary angioplasty if cardiologists perform more of these procedures through an artery in the wrist and if they take steps to discharge such patients on the same day, according to a new study led by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Coronary angioplasty […]

Genetic error that increases risk of aortic rupture identified

A study led by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, in collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, has identified a genetic error that weakens the aorta, placing patients with this and similar errors at high risk of aortic aneurysms and ruptures. The findings will help diagnose, monitor and treat patients with […]

New Guidelines Open Competitive Sports to Some Athletes with Heart Conditions

New guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology have loosened some restrictions placed on competitive athletes with certain heart conditions. Cardiologists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis led two of the task forces responsible for updating the guidelines that help doctors decide when it is safe for […]

Dietary Nitrate Increases Muscle Speed and Power in Patients with Heart Failure

Washington University researchers have demonstrated that beetroot juice, which is rich in nitrate (NO3), can increase muscle function in heart failure patients. This may enhance their ability to perform activities of daily living and hence improve their quality of life. Although heart failure starts out as a disease of the heart, it ultimately becomes a […]

Genetic Study Identifies Individuals Who Benefit Most From Statins

Researchers at Washington University have shown that a panel of genetic markers can identify individuals at increased risk for heart attack. Those same individuals appear to benefit most from statin therapy (read more). The research appears online March 5th in the Lancet. For patients at risk of heart disease, doctors routinely prescribe statins, known for […]

Multiple Rare Gene Mutations Associated With Increased Risk of Heart Attack

Research performed at Washington University and other leading biomedical research institutions found that multiple rare mutations in two genes increase an individual’s risk of heart attack. The research appears online this week in the journal Nature. Nathan Stitziel, MD, PhD, a cardiologist at Washington University School of Medicine and co-first author of the report, helped […]

New Treatment For Marfan’s Syndrome Shows Promise

An investigational treatment for Marfan’s syndrome is as effective as the standard therapy at slowing enlargment of the aorta, new research shows (read more). The findings indicate a second treatment option for Marfan’s patients, who are at high risk of sudden death from aortic dissection. “For years, standard medical therapy for Marfan’s syndrome consisted of […]

Gene Mutations in NPC1L1, the Target of the Drug Ezetimibe, Found to Reduce Cholesterol and Protect Against Heart Attack

Researchers at Washington University have shown that mutations in the gene NPC1L1 are associated with lower cholesterol and about 50% reduction in risk of heart attack. The research was led by Washington University Cardiologist Dr. Nathan Stitziel and appears online November 12th in the New England Journal of Medicine. Ezetimibe, a drug commonly prescribed to […]

The Heart’s Own Immune Cells Can Help It Heal

Researchers at Washington University have found the heart holds its own pool of immune cells capable of helping it heal after injury, according to a new study in mice at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis. Research led by cardiologist Dr. Kory Levine, showed that the injured pediatric and adult heart contains two […]

New Experimental Drug Reduces Tissue Damage Following Myocardial Infarction and Minimizes the Risk of Bleeding

Researchers at Washington University and St. Louis based APT Therapeutics Inc., show that a novel drug known as APT102 significantly reduced tissue damage to heart muscle following experimental myocardial infarction and minimized the risk of bleeding during follow-up treatments. The research team at Washington University was led by Dr. Dana Abendschein. Myocardial infarction causes damage […]

Regions of the Genome Once Mislabled as ‘Junk’ are Linked to Pathogenesis of Heart Failure

Dr. Jeanne Nerbonne and a team of Washington University researchers from the Center of Cardiovascular Research (CCR) reported results from a comprehensive analysis of different families of RNA molecules expressed in the human heart. The researchers studied non-failing hearts and failing hearts before and after patients received mechanical pump support from left ventricular assist devices […]

Nanoparticles Treat Muscular Dystrophy in Mice

A team of researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have demonstrated a new approach to treating muscular dystrophy. (Read more) Mice with a form of this muscle weakening disease showed improved strength and heart function when treated with nanoparticles loaded with rapamycin, an immunosuppressive drug recently found to improve recycling of […]

New Insights Into How Immune Cells Heal Injured Hearts

The immune system plays an important role in the heart’s response to injury. But until recently, conflicting data made it difficult to distinguish the immune factors that encourage the heart to heal following a heart attack, versus those factors that can lead to further damage. (Read more) Now, research performed by Dr. Slava Epelman and […]

2nd Annual CV Research Day

The Cardiovascular Division held its Second Annual Cardiovascular Research Day on December 5, 2013. The event drew more than 150 participants, and focused on a wide variety of basic, clinical and translational cardiovascular research efforts. Junior faculty presented on current research and both graduate students and postdoctoral research fellows offered poster presentations. The event was […]

New Study from Washington University Investigators Shows that Black Patients Undergo Aortic Valve Replacement Less Frequently

In a study, published online in the American Journal of Cardiology, Drs. Michael Yeung (Division of Cardiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA) and Alan Zajarias (Division of Cardiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, USA) noted that although prior studies have shown that Black patients undergo interventions for acute myocardial infarction less frequently […]

First Annual Cardiovascular Research Day

The Cardiovascular Division held its First Cardiovascular Research Day and Alumni Celebration on December 7, 2012. The event was the highlight of the division’s 65th anniversary year. Junior faculty presented on current research and both graduate students and postdoctoral research fellows offered poster presentations. The plenary session lecturer was Eugene Braunwald, MD, Distinguished Hersey Professor […]

Over-Use of Drug-Eluting Stents Found

A review of more than 1.5 million percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) procedures documented in the National Cardiovascular Data Registry has found that cardiologists are “routinely over-using” drug-eluting stents versus bare-metal stents for patients at low risk for repeat blockages of arteries. The study, published online in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that DES use […]

Noninvasive Imaging Technique May Help Kids with Heart Transplants

Washington University cardiologists have developed a noninvasive imaging technique that may help determine whether children who have had heart transplants are showing early signs of rejection. The technique could reduce the need for these patients to undergo invasive imaging tests every one to two years. The noninvasive technique, which involves the use of gadolinium contrast-enhanced […]

Heart Disease and Diabetes

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine have received a $4.7 million grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to study heart disease in patients with diabetes. The study is led by Jean Schaffer, MD, the Virginia Minnich Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Director of the Diabetic Cardiovascular Disease Center and Diabetes Research […]

Calorie-restricted diet keeps heart young

A research team led by Dr. Phyllis Stein has found that a key measure of the heart’s ability to adapt to physical activity, stress, sleep and other factors that influence the rate at which the heart pumps blood, doesn’t decline nearly as rapidly in people who have significantly restricted their caloric intake for an average […]

Genetic Study Shows Racial Differences to be Factor in Mortality in Heart Attack Patients Receiving Anti-Platelet Therapy

Dr. Sharon Cresci and a team of Washington University researchers have identified the first genetic variations linked to race that begin to explain a higher risk of death among some African-American and Caucasian patients taking the clopidogrel (Plavix) after a heart attack. These variants increased patients’ risk of dying in the year following a first […]