New and Noteworthy Scientific Publications

Updated:Oct 11,2016

Are differences in B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) levels across racial/ethnic groups associated with patients with heart failure? Get With The Guidelines–Heart Failure (GWTG-HF) data was used to help answer the question.
Patient characteristics and BNP levels at admission were compared among 4 racial/ethnic populations: white, black, Hispanic, and Asian. Median BNP levels were higher in Asian and black patients than in white and Hispanic patients. Race and ethnicity were independently associated with BNP levels. Irrespective of race/ethnicity, patients in higher BNP quartiles were more likely to be older and male and have lower body mass index, reduced ejection fraction, and renal insufficiency, whereas those in the lowest quartile were more likely to have diabetes. Elevated BNP levels remained associated with longer LOS and increased mortality in all racial/ethnic groups. BNP levels at admission provided prognostic value for in-hospital mortality and hospital LOS irrespective of race/ethnicity. For more details see Selim Krim’s: Racial/Ethnic Differences in B-Type Natriuretic Peptide Levels and Their Association With Care and Outcomes Among Patients Hospitalized With Heart Failure. Findings From Get With The Guidelines–Heart Failure. J Am Coll Cardiol HF 2013;1:345–52.

Improving teamwork in operating room can boost patient safety, study shows
Improving communication and strengthening teamwork among cardiac surgery teams are among the recommendations for reducing preventable mistakes in the cardiac operating room, according to an August 5, 2013 scientific statement from the American Heart Association.
The statement reviewed evidence-based research focused on communication within and between teams, the physical workspace and the organizational culture of the cardiac operating room and provides recommendations for improving patient safety.

Statement Highlights include:
  • Using checklists and/or briefings before every cardiac surgery, followed by postoperative briefings;
  • Developing institutional policies to define disruptive behaviors by medical professionals in all hospital settings, with transparent, formal procedures for addressing unacceptable behaviors;
  • Establishing an institutional culture of safety by implementing a robust quality improvement system that encourages input from all team members in order to continuously identify and correct safety hazards.
The August 5 news release summarizes the findings of the draft manuscript in Circulation. Lead author of the statement is Joyce A. Wahr, MD, FAHA.