The Timing of Infant Heart Retrieval After Cardiac Death
Three new reports challenge current guidelines on how long after cardiac death doctors must wait before taking a heart from an infant organ donor. The Institute of Medicine recommended in 1997 that five minutes should pass between the time the heart stops and organ retrieval begins. However, it's now suggested that cardiac death becomes irreversible after just one minute. In the New England Journal of Medicine issue published today, surgeons from Denver Children's Hospital describe three infant heart donor cases where surgeons reduced the time between when the heart stopped and when organ retrieval began. In one case, the time was shortened to three minutes, and in the other two to just 75 seconds.
Shortening the interval reduces the time that transplantable organs are deprived of oxygen, which likely increases the success of transplants. It may also help to increase the number of available organs for donations. This is important because as many as one in four babies awaiting a heart transplant dies while on the waiting list, according to the New England Journal of Medicine study.
Study: Angioplasty No Better Than Medication Treatment
For people with heart disease, the advantages of angioplasty—a procedure used to open clogged arteries—over drug treatment alone may disappear within three years, according to a study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers tested angioplasty with stents against drug treatment in 2,287 people with stable coronary disease. By 36 months, the two treatment groups showed no significant difference in health status. Angioplasty does, however, offer a better quality of life for months to a few years, reported the study authors. For people with stable coronary disease, the report suggests, the decision to have angioplasty may depend on how they feel. "If people say, 'My [chest] pain is so bad I can't function,' that is one thing," William S. Weintraub, study leader and chief of cardiology at the Christiana Health Care System in Delaware, told HealthDay. "If people say, 'I have angina, but I'm doing OK,' that's another."
Last year, U.S. News's Avery Comarow reported on speeding up emergency angioplasties during heart attacks. In 2006, Comarow explained the flaws in the long-held belief—based on studies done more than 20 years ago—that it's never too late to open a blocked coronary artery.
Might Taking Birth Control Lead Women to the Wrong Men?
Women are sexually attracted to guys who smell like good genetic matches, but birth control pills may make women choose the wrong men, WebMD reports. Previous research shows that women prefer men who have a genetic makeup different from their own, which increases the chances of having healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. But taking birth control pills may lead a woman to pick a man who is more genetically similar to herself than she'd otherwise be drawn to, according to the study authors. The findings, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, are based on animal findings, so it's not known if the research applies to humans.
Ready to Give Running a Try? Here’s How
Wondering how to start or maintain a new running routine? U.S. News's Katherine Hobson consulted with Runners World columnist John "the Penguin" Bingham on the best advice for middle- and back-of-the-pack runners. Earlier this week, Hobson wrote about three myths and one truth about running and one's health. overcoming the excuses And earlier this year, Hobson discussed how to determine whether you're just sore or actually injured, as well as why you may not lose weight when you start an exercise routine.
—January W. Payne