March 2021 News Roundup

This month features breathing help for COVID-19 long-haulers, cath lab discrimination, upgraded safety eyewear, and more.

March 2021 News Roundup

Every month, Section Editor L.A. McKeown curates a roundup of recent news tidbits from journals and medical meetings around the globe.

maskOne year into the pandemic, 81% of nurses working in hospitals report they are still being forced to reuse single-use personal protective equipment (PPE), and only 52% say that all patients at their institution are being screened for COVID-19. The nationwide survey of more than 9,200 nurses in the United States also found that 54% of RNs overall, and 61% of those working in hospital settings, report ever having been tested for COVID-19 themselves.

In a contemporary analysis of more than 58,000 patients who had a carotid revascularization (endarterectomy or stenting), contralateral carotid occlusion (CCO) occurred in 7.9%. Writing in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers reported that when CCO occurred, it was an important predictor of the risk of in-hospital death, MI, or stroke, but only in endarterectomy patients.

New guidelines from the American Society of Echocardiography are aimed at all cardiac sonographers, regardless of pediatric experience, who may be asked to perform echocardiograms on newborns to screen for congenital heart disease conditions. The guidelines are published in the Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography.

singingA unique program developed in conjunction with the English National Opera is helping COVID-19 long-haulers improve their breathing. As the New York Times reports, the 6-week program, which is conducted over Zoom, utilizes vocal training with professional opera singers to help patients combat the exertion and anxiety that long-term respiratory issues can cause.

The Gender-CATH study of cath lab professionals in Italy has found that women are more likely than men to report some type of job discrimination. Additionally, women working in labs are nearly three times more likely than their male colleagues to be unmarried, and while 70% of them say pregnancy/breastfeeding can negatively impact their professional skill development and career advancement, only 44.6% of men thought that to be true.

The Heart Failure Society of America, Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology, and Japanese Heart Failure Society have proposed a new universal definition of heart failure. The report published in the Journal of Cardiac Failure, includes revised stages and revised classification of HF according to left ventricular ejection fraction.

eyeA novel modification to leaded eyewear can lower radiation exposure to the eye closest to the radiation source compared with standard eyewear with built-in lead shields, according to a single-center study published in the Journal of Vascular Surgery.

Follow-up out to 2.9 years suggests that while TAVI is technically complex and challenging in adult patients with congenital heart disease, it is overall safe, with no deaths reported at 30 days in a small British study published in the International Journal of Cardiology: Congenital Heart Disease.

Researchers reporting in EClinical Medicine say optical coherence tomography (OCT) scanning may help detect cardiovascular disease by showing evidence of retinal ischemic perivascular lesions (RIPLs). Individuals in the study with intermediate and high 10-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk scores had more RIPLS than those with lower ASCVD scores, suggesting that these lesions may be early biomarkers of CV risk.

Some physicians use atherectomy in every peripheral vascular intervention they do, while others never use it, according to a study of over 1,600 physicians published in JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions. Atherectomy was more frequently used in patients with claudication and diabetes, and it was independently associated with several physician factors, including male sex, less time in practice, high peripheral vascular case volume, and working in ambulatory centers or office-based labs.