News in brief: CSANZ elects next president; Winter respiratory-cardiac admissions theory dispelled; Hypertension and osteoarthritis link explored

Thursday, 12 Aug 2021

CSANZ elects next president

Professor Stephen Nicholls has been announced as President-elect of the CSANZ following the Society’s AGM.

Previously the CSANZ’s Honorary Secretary, Professor Nicholls will step up to the top job after current president Professor Clara Chow steps down in August 2022.

Professor Nicholls is director of the Victorian Heart Institute, director of MonashHeart at Monash Health, and Professor of Cardiology at Monash University. He also leads the Victorian Heart Hospital (VHH) that is due to open at Monash University’s Clayton campus in 2022.

Before his move to Melbourne in 2018, he was the inaugural Heart Foundation Heart Health Theme Leader at the South Australian Health & Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).

Winter respiratory-cardiac admissions theory dispelled

The belief that a winter peak of heart failure admissions is driven by respiratory viral infections has been dispelled by their absence during the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

Data for New Zealand hospital admissions from March 2020 showed a marked reductions in acute respiratory admissions including influenza and pneumonia, as well as COPD, compared to previous years.

However there was little change in hospital admissions for congestive heart failure or acute coronary syndrome (ACS).

The findings were consistent with a large meta-analysis that found that influenza vaccination did not reduce mortality or hospitalisations in heart failure patients, the study investigators said

They suggested the winter peak in heart failure may be due to other factors such as colder temperatures or higher levels of  air pollution over winter.

Similarly, the pattern of admissions did not support the hypothesis that common circulating respiratory viruses precipitate substantial numbers of ACS events, said the authors from Waikato Hospital and the University of Otago


Hypertension and osteoarthritis link explored

An article in Nature Reviews Rheumatology has revisited the link between hypertension and osteoarthritis.

The Review notes that systemic hypertension leads to subchondral bone perfusion abnormalities and ischaemia, which disrupts angiogenic–osteogenic coupling and impairs the integrity of the bone–cartilage functional unit.

“At the molecular level, systemic activation of the renin–angiotensin, endothelin and Wnt–β-catenin signalling pathways induces a phenotypical change in articular chondrocytes and triggers cartilage degradation.”

The take-home message is that antihypertensive medications that exhibit chondroprotective effects in preclinical studies warrant further investigation in patients with osteoarthritis and systemic hypertension.


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