Cardiovascular Disease

Carotid Endarterectomy: Too Much or Not Enough at VA?

Carotid Endarterectomy: Too Much or Not Enough at VA?

By Annette M. Boyle SAN FRANCISCO — For selected patients with carotid stenosis, national guidelines recommend revascularization for primary or secondary prevention of stroke. Increasingly, though, it appears that veterans who could benefit the most from these procedures do not… Read More

Staff Shortages Prevent Full Implementation of VA Stroke Directive

Staff Shortages Prevent Full Implementation of VA Stroke Directive

Effort Seeks to Standardize Care Across VAMCs By Annette M. Boyle INDIANAPOLIS — Since the publication of the VHA directive on treatment of acute ischemic stroke (AIS) in November 2011, VA medical facilities nationwide have responded by adding structure to… Read More

Heart Failure Is Latest Serious Health Condition Linked to PTSD

Chronic Conditions Also Associated With Past Combat Experience Annette M. Boyle MINNEAPOLIS — Serious health conditions linked to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) continue to mount. Researchers recently uncovered a significant link between the condition and the risk of developing heart… Read More

Pillbox Program Helps Improve Adherence for Hypertensive Patients

Annette M. Boyle ASHEVILLE, NC — Screening, frequent appointments and other interventions enabled the VA by 2010 to bring blood pressure under control in more than three-quarters of patients with hypertension. Helping the remaining one-quarter adhere to medication regimens to… Read More

Despite Risks, Female Veterans with Heart Disease Less Likely to Receive Statins

Despite Risks, Female Veterans with Heart Disease Less Likely to Receive Statins

HOUSTON — Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women veterans, yet they remain undertreated

Heart Disease Added to List of Health Effects After Experiencing Combat

Heart Disease Added to List of Health Effects After Experiencing Combat

SEATTLE – While combat has long been known to increase the risk of musculoskeletal injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

VA Tackles Obesity Paradox:

VA Tackles Obesity Paradox:

Why Do Overweight Patients Live Longer with Heart Failure?
Now the leading cause of hospital admissions in the VA Health Care System, heart failure is associated with high mortality rates and poor quality of life.

VA’s COPD Knowledge, Treatment Improving, But Still ‘Tip of the Iceberg’

VA’s COPD Knowledge, Treatment Improving, But Still ‘Tip of the Iceberg’

By Stephen Spotswood WASHINGTON – Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is sometimes referred to as the “quiet” or “silent” killer by clinicians trying to treat it. It presents few symptoms in its earliest stages and so is often not diagnosed… Read More

Mortality Rates Drop Dramatically with Wider Use of Anticoagulants

Mortality Rates Drop Dramatically with Wider Use of Anticoagulants

New Formulations Might Be More Effective By Annette M. Boyle BETHESDA, MD – In the last 50 years, the use of anticoagulants has transformed mortality rates for deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE) and atrial fibrillation, and new anticoagulants… Read More

VA Proposes Physician Pay Increases, Begins Major Recruiting Campaign

VA Proposes Physician Pay Increases, Begins Major Recruiting Campaign

By Sandra Basu WASHINGTON – The maximum rates of annual pay for incoming VHA physicians and dentists would be increased as much as $35,000, under a VA proposal announced last month. The updated pay tables would allow physicians and dentists… Read More

Should Digoxin Be Prescribed for Atrial Fibrillation?

Should Digoxin Be Prescribed for Atrial Fibrillation?

VA Study Latest in Debate about Old Drug’s Safety By Brenda L. Mooney PALO ALTO, CA – A new study is calling into question the practice of treating atrial fibrillation with digoxin, finding that patients on the digitalis derivative were… Read More

Milwaukee VA Develops Reversal Protocol for Novel Oral Anticoagulants

Milwaukee VA Develops Reversal Protocol for Novel Oral Anticoagulants

By Annette M. Boyle MILWAUKEE – Many patients prefer the devil they know. When asked whether they want to go on or switch to a novel oral anticoagulant (NOAC) that requires little monitoring, has few drug-drug or food interactions, appears… Read More

Stroke Kills Young American Indian/Alaska Natives at Twice Rate of Whites

Stroke Kills Young American Indian/Alaska Natives at Twice Rate of Whites

By Annette M. Boyle ATLANTA – While three-quarters of stroke patients are older than 65, a “brain attack” can affect people of any age. For young American Indians and Alaskan Natives (AI/AN), that information is especially significant because they have… Read More

Black Servicemembers At More Hypertension Risk, Despite Equitable Healthcare

Black Servicemembers At More Hypertension Risk, Despite Equitable Healthcare

SILVER SPRING, MD — Military research is raising a new question about an old issue: Why do African-Americans have higher incidence rates of hypertension compared with servicemembers of other races and ethnicities despite equitable access to healthcare within the armed forces?

Greater Pharmacist Intervention Tested to Increase Anticoagulant Adherence Rates

Greater Pharmacist Intervention Tested to Increase Anticoagulant Adherence Rates

By Annette M. Boyle PALO ALTO, CA — Medication is only effective if taken, yet how to make sure patients maintain adherence with anticoagulants and many other long-term medications for chronic diseases poses one of the greatest dilemmas for healthcare… Read More

VA, Army Clinicians Rapidly Increase Prescribing of Novel Anticoagulants

VA, Army Clinicians Rapidly Increase Prescribing of Novel Anticoagulants

WASHINGTON — Use of novel anticoagulants has risen sharply both at the VA and in the Army in the last three years, freeing more atrial fibrillation patients from food restrictions and regular checks for coagulation time, as required when using warfarin.

Female Veterans Develop CVD Risk Factors at Younger Ages

Female Veterans Develop CVD Risk Factors at Younger Ages

By Annette M. Boyle BOSTON — During the past 15 years, female veterans have developed risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) at ever-younger ages, challenging many providers’ concept of the population at risk for heart disease. “Historically, the focus in… Read More

PTSD Linked to Increased Myocardial Ischemia

SAN FRANCISCO — A new study adds to the growing evidence that patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) also have increased risks for developing myocardial ischemia.

Pharmacist Monitoring Increases Veteran Adherence to ACS Therapy

Pharmacist Monitoring Increases Veteran Adherence to ACS Therapy

DENVER — Personalized attention from a pharmacist increases medication adherence in patients to nearly 90% in the year following hospitalization for acute coronary syndrome (ACS), according to a recent study.

For Veterans, Acute Kidney Injuries Are More Lethal than Heart Attacks

For Veterans, Acute Kidney Injuries Are More Lethal than Heart Attacks

WASHINGTON — Veterans discharged with a diagnosis of acute kidney injury (AKI) have twice the mortality rate of those diagnosed with myocardial infarction (AMI), yet a lack of awareness and treatment options limit physicians’ ability to manage the condition.