In light of the unrest in Baltimore in late April 2015, QCOR 2015, the American Heart Association’s Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions, were canceled. However, abstracts for the conference were published as planned. The features below highlight some of the studies that are available on conference’s website.

Negative Life Events & MI Risk

The Particulars: Few studies have assessed whether negative life events are associated with cardiovascular disease in middle-aged and older women when compared with younger women.   

Data Breakdown: For a study, more than 26,000 women answered questions about negative and traumatic life events and were followed for 9 years to ascertain myocardial infarction (MI) risk. Cumulative negative life events were associated with MI only in women with an annual household income of less than $50,000. Women with traumatic life events or serious financial problems were at significantly higher risk for MI than their counterparts.

Take Home Pearl: Negative life events appear to increase risks for MI among middle-aged and older women, particularly those with low incomes and who have suffered major traumatic life events.

Telemonitoring for Low-Income CHF Patients

The Particulars: Telemonitoring has been found in previous research to reduce hospital readmissions and mortality in patients with congestive heart failure (CHF). The utility of telemonitoring in low-income African-American patients with CHF, however, is not well known.      

Data Breakdown: For a study, a clinic that predominantly served low-income African-Americans with CHF was provided a telemonitoring system with tools for reminding patients to take their medication and to measure and transmit vital sign information to a secure website. Among participants, 75% said the system was “extremely easy” to use, with the remaining 25% reporting it was “easy” to use. Blood pressure with heart rate was recorded on most study days (73.7%), followed by weight (62.5%) and pulse oximetry (51.5%).

Take Home Pearls: Telemonitoring appears to be feasible and may increase patient satisfaction when used in low-income African-Americans with CHF. The approach may also help identify abnormal vital signs and increase compliance with medical therapy.

Language Barrier a Non-Issue in tPA Receipt

The Particulars: Nearly one-fifth of the United States primarily speaks a language other than English. Although limited-English proficiency (LEP) may negatively impact patients, the influence of LEP on the receipt of thrombolysis in stroke patients has not been well defined.   

Data Breakdown: Massachusetts General Hospital investigators analyzed data on nearly 4,000 acute ischemic stroke patients. They examined associations between LEP status and the use of intravenous (IV) tPA . Patients with LEP were more likely than English-speaking patients to receive IV tPA after adjusting for socioeconomic factors. Stroke severity appeared to be the driving force behind IV tPA receipt.

Take Home Pearl: Acute ischemic stroke patients with LEP appear more likely to receive IV tPA than English-speaking patients, a finding that may be driven by the level of stroke severity.