New research presented at CHEST 2009, the annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians, from October 31 to November 5 in San Diego addressed key issues in the field of chest diseases. The features below highlight just some of the studies that emerged from the assembly.

Statins May Prevent Clotting in CVD Patients

The Particulars: Studies have indicated an association between atherosclerosis and venous thrombosis. Researchers investigated the association between statin use and incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Data Breakdown: Patients with CVD not taking statins were three times more likely to develop VTE than those receiving the medication (26.3% vs 8.3%). Even after controlling for factors related to VTE, statin use was still associated with a low risk of developing VTE. Patients receiving high-dose statins (>40 mg/day) had a lower occurrence of VTE than those on standard-dose statins.

Take Home Pearls: Statins may provide potentially life-saving benefits for patients with CVD by helping reduce the incidence of blood clots. Patients with atherosclerosis receiving statins had a significantly reduced risk of developing VTE, and those on higher doses of statins had the lowest likelihood of developing VTE.

Race May Be a Predictor of RLS

The Particulars: Restless legs syndrome (RLS) may not be easily recognized by patients and clinicians. Providing education about RLS signs and symptoms may raise awareness and lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment. There are significant ethnic differences in disease prevalence, but the exact causes are unknown.

Data Breakdown: Researchers analyzed standardized interview responses from 190 patients seen at a primary clinic. Among African Americans, the diagnosis of RLS was definite in 12% of patients, as compared with a 36% rate for non-African Americans. The prevalence of RLS was 12% for both genders among African Americans, but rates were 29% for men and 40% for women among non-African Americans. Women were more likely to be iron deficient than men and have rheumatoid arthritis.

Take Home Pearls: Non-African Americans appear to experience RLS four times more often than African Americans. Some risk factors for RLS appear to be more common among women.

The Link Between Bruxism & OSA

The Particulars: About 8% of the general population suffers from bruxism, or nocturnal teeth grinding. High levels of anxiety can lead to bruxism, and untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is known to cause mood disturbances.

Data Breakdown: A retrospective chart review assessed the prevalence of bruxism in 150 men and 150 women with OSA. Each group consisted of 50 Caucasians, 50 African Americans, and 50 Hispanics. Results showed that 25.6% of all patients suffered from teeth grinding. Bruxism was higher in men than in women (42% vs 31%). Caucasians had the highest rate of bruxism when compared with other ethnic groups.

Take Home Pearls: There appears to be a high prevalence of bruxism in patients with OSA, particularly in men and in Caucasians. When treating OSA, clinicians should recognize and address secondary health conditions, such as bruxism, to fully manage sleep disorders.