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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GPs set to win pay boost over surge in statin workload

CKD's anaemia heart risk

Anaemia significantly increases risk of cardiovascular disease in patients with chronic kidney disease, a US study reports.

Researchers studied 3,015 patients, 8.1 per cent of whom had anaemia and 13.8 per cent CKD.

After a median follow-up of 8.6 years, 600 CHD events, 300 strokes and 857 deaths had occurred.

In patients with CKD, anaemia increased risk by 88 per cent for all-cause mortality, 81 per cent for stroke and 64 per cent for MI/fatal CHD.

Anaemia was not found to be a risk factor in patients without CKD.

Journal of the American Society of Nephrology

2005 early online publication

Fish oil curbs heart rate

Fish oil can significantly reduce heart rate, a Dutch meta-analysis reports.

Researchers collated data from 30 randomised trials evaluating the effect of fish oil on heart rate.

Consuming fish oil reduced heart rate by 1.6bpm compared with placebo.

The effect of fish oil did not vary by dose but its greatest effect was when used long-term or in patients with baseline heart rate over 69bpm.

Circulation 2005, 112:1945-52

Gene link to drug deaths

Patients with acute coronary syndrome who have variants of the ADRB2 gene are at increased risk of dying following treatment with ß-blockers, a US study reports.

Researchers studied 735 acute coronary syndrome patients, 597 of whom were discharged with ß-blocker therapy. Over the following three years there were 84 deaths.

Patients on ß-blockers with the 79 CG

polymorphism of ADRB2 had a 51 per cent increase in mortality.

Those with the 46 GA polymorphism had a 48 per cent increase in mortality.

ADRB2 genotype had no effect on mortality in patients not taking ß-blockers.

JAMA 2005, 294:1526-33

Infant methadone risks

Dosage of methadone maintenance treatment taken during pregnancy does not affect the risk of neonatal abstinence syndrome, a US study finds.

Researchers studied 81 pregnant women and their 81 offspring. Half of the mothers took doses of methadone over 100mg throughout their pregnancy while the other half took lower doses.

Of the newborn, 46 per cent needed treatment for NAS. But there was no difference in medication required or days spent in hospital between the high- or low-dose groups.

American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology

2005; 193:606-10

Ovulation and asthma risk

Women may be at increased risk of asthma exacerbations during the pre-ovulatory phase of the menstrual cycle.

US researchers assessed the menstrual phase at symptom onset in 792 women aged 18 to 54 presenting to an emergency department with acute asthma.

Some 28 per cent of women experienced onset of symptoms during the preovulatory phase, compared with 21 per cent in the post-ovulatory phase.

Thorax 2005 60:806-9

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