Blog | Monday, October 27, 2008

Conference News: Chest 2008

Hot off the presses from beautiful central Philly, where the Chest 2008 conference is underway:

  • Statins may reduce VTE in patients with solid organ tumors. A new study of hospitalized cancer patients found that 8% of those who received statins developed VTE compared with 21% of patients who didn't. Study author Danai Khemasuwan, ACP Member, noted that a cause and effect relationship can't be inferred since the study was done by reviewing medical records, but hopes an RCT will confirm the results. Moderator David Gutterman, MD, said it makes sense that statins might improve the venous side of circulations, since it's already known they improve endothelial function. The author hopes to do an RCT next that will compare different kinds of statins, as well as different dosage levels.
  • Biphosphonates may increase the risk for serious atrial fibrillation. A meta-analysis of 16,322 patients found that 1-2% of those who took alendronate or zoledronic acid for osteoporosis experienced serious AF (i.e. hospitalization or death)-- an approximately 66% greater risk than patients taking placebo, author Jennifer Miranda, MD, said. There were only 3 studies in the analysis, however, and none assessed whether the patients had other risks for CV disease. Dr. Miranda said it's her understanding that FDA wants to conduct more trials to look at the CV effects of biphosphonates.
  • Most providers have scant knowledge of how to help smokers quit. A survey of 600 providers, including doctors, NPs, social workers and PAs, found less than 6% knew the AHRQ treatment guidelines for tobacco dependence. Only 16% of prescribers and 8% of nonprescribers knew which drugs were OTC vs. prescription, and the majority failed to recognize contraindications. Now that Medicare reimburses up to 8 visits/year for counseling people on quitting smoking, providers should take the opportunity to learn how to do this. One good first step, said the author: refer patients to 1-800-QUIT-NOW, a national quit line.