New research was presented at ESC 2015, the European Society of Cardiology’s annual congress, from August 29 to September 2 in London. The features below highlight some of the studies that emerged from the conference.

Preoperative Statins Reduce Cardiovascular Surgical Complications

The Particulars: Research indicates that more than 5% of non-cardiac surgical patients suffer a cardiovascular complication within 30 days of surgery. However, safe and effective interventions for preventing these complications are lacking.

Data Breakdown: For a study, researchers assessed the effects of preoperative statin use in patients aged 45 and older who were undergoing non-cardiac surgery. When compared with patients who did not receive preoperative statins, those who did had a 17% lower risk of any cardiovascular complication in the study, which included all-cause mortality, myocardial injury, or stroke. Statins were associated with a 43% lower risk of all-cause mortality, a 52% lower risk of cardiovascular mortality, and a 14% lower risk of myocardial injury.

Take Home Pearl: Preoperative statin use appears to decrease the risk of cardiovascular complications among patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery.

Respiratory Infection Ups Post-AMI Mortality

The Particulars: Previous studies have suggested a potential relationship between acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and respiratory infection. However, little is known regarding the impact of respiratory infections on in-hospital cardiovascular mortality among patients admitted to the hospital for AMI.

Data Breakdown: An investigation of patients admitted to the hospital for AMI found that 6% of these individuals later develop respiratory infections. After adjusting for multiple factors, people with a respiratory infection had at nearly four times higher the risk of in-hospital cardiovascular mortality. Development of an respiratory infection was associated with a worse disease course, longer length of stay, higher Killip Class, three or more malignant arrhythmias, ischemic stroke, reinfarction, and more frequent need for transfusional, circulatory, and respiratory support.

Take Home Pearl: Patients who develop respiratory infection after AMI appear to have about a four-fold higher risk of in-hospital cardiovascular mortality when compared with those who do not develop these infections.


Depression, Blood Pressure, & Vascular Events

The Particulars: Prior research indicates that patients with heart disease, diabetes, or stroke are at higher risk for future heart attacks or strokes when compared with the general population, particularly in those with extremely high or low blood pressure (BP) readings or depressive symptoms. However, the effects of having both depressive symptoms and extremes of BP are not well defined among patients with heart disease, diabetes, or stroke.

Data Breakdown: Scottish researchers investigated the effect of depressive symptoms and extreme BP levels and how it influences the rate of harmful vascular events in more than 35,000 patients with existing heart disease or stroke. Patients with high BP levels and depressive symptoms had an 83% greater risk of a major harmful event (further stroke or heart attack, heart failure, or dying due to heart disease) when compared with those with normal BPs and no depressive symptoms. Those with low BPs and depressive symptoms had a 36% higher risk of these events.

Take Home Pearl: Depressive symptoms and BP extremes appear to predict the highest rates of harmful vascular events in patients with existing heart disease, diabetes, or stroke.