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Study: Higher 30-day mortality rate among women after ACS

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK A new study from NYU School of Medicine found that women may have a slightly higher risk of death than men in the 30 days following an acute coronary syndrome, but that these differences appear to be attributable to factors such as severity and type of ACS.

The study, published in the Aug. 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, found, however, that overall there was no significant difference in mortality observed between the sexes after a heart attack. The large observational study pooled 136,247 ACS patients from 11 independent, international randomized clinical trials between 1993 and 2006.

Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of both men and women. The major cause of death from cardiovascular disease is acute coronary syndromes, the dangerous rupture of plaque inside the heart’s coronary artery. Three types of ACS, or heart attack, include unstable angina (worsening chest pain or chest pain at rest) that may progress to a heart attack; a less severe heart attack with partial or temporary blockages known as Non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI); or a more severe heart attack called ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) — caused by complete or a persistently blocked blood supply to the heart.

“Our research concludes that there is a difference in mortality between men and women depending on the type of ACS they suffer,” stated lead study author, Jeffrey Berger, director of Cardiovascular Thrombosis, Cardiovascular Clinical Research Center, The Leon H. Charney Division of Cardiology at NYU School of Medicine. “Among STEMI or more severe heart attacks, 30-day mortality was significantly higher among women than men. For NSTEMI or less severe heart attacks and unstable angina, women had lower 30-day mortality than men. The lower risk in women after a less severe presentation is likely explained by the less severe blockages seen in women. The higher risk of women after a more severe presentation — following total coronary occlusion STEMI — may be explained by the reduced collateral blood flow observed in women.”

According to study authors, sex is an important factor in the study of ACS and should be considered in future research and delivery of care to men and women who present with ACS. “This study shines a light on ACS in men and women. Studies like this have the ability to improve health care for men and women — helping physicians understand sex-differences in why heart attacks happen, and therefore target treatments more effectively and provide for better outcomes,” said Berger.

“Discovering and understanding the health differences among men and women may lead to better diagnostics, risk assessment and  better treatment of all patients with ACS and the ability to save more lives,” commented co-author Judith Hochman, director of Cardiovascular Clinical Research Center at New York University School of Medicine. “Our study indicates that STEMI, NSTEMI and unstable angina should be evaluated separately. We are actively investigating the mechanism of STEMI and NSTEMI heart attacks in women without coronary blockages.”

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Safeway adds two to board of directors

BY Michael Johnsen

PLEASANTON, Calif. Safeway on Monday named Arun Sarin and Michael Shannon to the company’s board of directors. The company’s board of directors will expand from 10 to 12 members with these new appointments, the company stated.

“We are fortunate to have individuals with these credentials joining the board,” stated Safeway chairman, president and CEO Steve Burd. “[Sarin] and [Shannon] have each run substantial businesses, and their experience will be valuable to our board.”

Sarin has worked in the telecommunications industry for the majority of his career. Most recently, he was the CEO of Vodafone Group, one of the world’s largest mobile phone companies by revenue. Sarin has served on numerous boards including Gap, Charles Schwab and Cisco Systems. He recently retired from being a non-executive director of the Court of the Bank of England.

Shannon founded KSL Capital Partners in 2004 and its predecessor, KSL Recreation Corporation, in 1992, serving as its president and CEO. KSL Capital Partners is a U.S. private equity firm dedicated to investments in travel and leisure businesses. Shannon also founded and became CEO of KSL Resorts in 2004, following the sale of KSL Recreation. During his tenure as CEO, KSL Recreation grew to become one of the largest independent owners and operators of resorts. From 1986 to 1992, Shannon served as president and CEO of Vail Associates, owner of the Vail and Beaver Creek resorts in Colorado. He currently serves on the board of ING Direct, the Vail Valley Foundation, the United States Ski and Snowboard Association and Eisenhower Memorial Hospital.

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IRI discusses health care during recession in new report

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO Information Resources Inc. on Thursday released a report, “The Changing Landscape of Healthcare and the American Consumer,” outlining the forward impact the current recession will have on how Americans research, purchase and use health care.

“Health care is costly, and people are rethinking how they take care of themselves in order to conserve funds,” Thom Blischok, president, consulting and innovation, IRI, wrote in the opening of the report. “Instead of sticking with their tried-and-true healthcare options, consumers are aggressively seeking affordable solutions for health and wellness, both in terms of how they obtain care and in the healthcare products they choose.”

And while Americans are changing how they choose health care, the Food and Drug Administration is “flexing its regulatory muscles again.” And while the new FDA activism is expected to make medicines and supplements safer, it also has the potential to add significant costs overall — including added costs in drug development as well as added costs to keep those medicines already approved on store or pharmacy shelves.

The study is available as a free PDF download at http://us.infores.com/Insights/Publications/IRIPointofView/tabid/197/ctl/Details/mid/923/ItemID/900/Default.aspx.

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