Join Clinical Trials for Angina
If you are suffering from angina (chest pain or discomfort), you may be frightened by the symptoms you experience: pain, pressure, and generalized discomfort in your chest, shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, and/or back. These symptoms can all be scary and cause you to worry about your health and the health of your heart in particular.
Although angina is bothersome and uncomfortable, it serves a valuable purpose: it is a warning sign to you that you have underlying heart disease – usually coronary heart disease – and should serve as a call to take action to protect your heart and ultimately your health in general.
For example, common risk factors for coronary heart disease (which as previously mentioned can result in angina) include diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, obesity, and smoking. By addressing the contributing factors to coronary heart disease, both angina and overall health can be improved.
In order to accomplish this, you may seek out clinical trials as a means of understanding or treating the source of your angina. Fortunately, there is considerable research underway to help scientists and doctors learn more about angina as a whole, and better methods to treat and control it.
What Will Clinical Trials for Angina Be Like?
The types of tests and assessments used in angina clinical trials will ultimately depend on the specific nature of the study and what aspects of angina are being investigated. Provided below is a list of frequent procedures and tests used to evaluate cardiovascular disease in general, many of which may be incorporated for use in clinical trials:
- Physical exam
- Cardiac catheterization: a procedure during which a long, thin, and flexible tube (i.e., catheter) is inserted into a blood vessel in the arm, upper thigh, or neck and threaded through until it reaches your heart. This allows doctors to perform diagnostic tests and treatments, as well as to evaluate blockages in the blood vessels.
- Computed tomography (CT scan, or “CAT scan”) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans: these are non-invasive imaging procedures, similar to an x-ray, that allow doctors to take detailed pictures of your heart and blood vessels.
- Coronary angiography: a procedure during which a dye is injected into a vein in your arm and then viewed using a special x-ray machine, CT scanner, or MRI machine. This allows doctors to view the insides of the arteries that provide blood to your heart. Angiography may also be used to evaluate other blood vessels throughout the body.
- Nuclear heart scan: a test that uses a small but safe amount of a radioactive compound, injected into your body through a vein in the arm. This compound then travels to the heart and allows special cameras to take detailed pictures of the heart to evaluate 1) blood flow; 2) damaged heart muscle; and 3) pumping ability and efficiency.
- Stress test: a test performed while you exercise (usually by walking or running on a treadmill, or pedaling a stationary bicycle), which allows doctors to evaluate how your heart works during episodes of physical stress.
- Nuclear stress test: a combined nuclear heart scan and stress test.
- Echocardiography (“echo”): a painless procedure that uses ultrasound to create moving pictures of your heart, which allow doctors to see its size, shape, and how well it is working. During a procedure known as transesophageal echocardiography, a long, thin ultrasound probe is guided down the throat into the esophagus, which is directly behind the heart, in order to obtain more detailed pictures.
- Blood tests to evaluate the effectiveness or chemical properties of a medication, if you are participating in a clinical trial that is investigating the use of a new drug.
- Blood tests to look for chemical markers that indicate the presence of heart disease. Examples of these markers include troponin, CK-MB enzyme, myoglobin, hs-CRP, and BNP or NT-proBNP, pH, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. A sample of spinal fluid may also be analyzed.
- Pain and quality of life assessments, as well as exercise diaries, may also be required in some studies, depending on the research question being studied.
Typical Protocol for Clinical Trials for Angina:
Specific examples of clinical trials for angina might include the following:
- A study to evaluate the effectiveness of two different doses of a new drug on the heart rate of individuals with angina.
- A randomized trial that evaluates the effects of standard treatment plus a new drug compared to standard treatment plus placebo on the total exercise time of angina patients to determine if adding the new drug to standard therapy allows them to exercise for longer without added side effects.
- A study that evaluates the impact of behavior modifications (including smoking cessation, dietary intervention, and stress management techniques) on various quality of life measures among individuals with angina.
- A randomized trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a new drug compared to a placebo on the average number of weekly episodes of angina among women with a diagnosis of coronary artery disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus.
A brief word about randomized trials and placebos:
Many clinical trials involve the comparison of an investigational treatment to a “standard” treatment. Some studies determine which therapy a patient receives through a process known as randomization, in which patients are randomly assigned to receive either the investigational treatment or the standard treatment.
On occasion, a trial will investigate the use of a standard treatment plus a new drug compared to standard treatment plus a placebo. Placebos are inactive or “sham” treatments that are identical in appearance to the active treatment but have no therapeutic value.
Placebos are necessary to help determine if adverse effects that occur during the clinical trial are the result of the investigational treatment or due to some other factor. They also allow researchers to measure the effects of the active treatment and observe what would have happened without it.
In rare instances where no standard therapy exists, or when a new drug is being investigated (such as the fourth clinical trial example provided above), the investigational treatment might be compared to a placebo alone. In these types of trials, those patients who are randomized to the placebo group do not receive an active treatment.
It is important to know that placebo-only trials are only conducted when scientifically necessary and when patients have been adequately informed that they may end up receiving the placebo rather than the active treatment.
It is very important to note, however, that no one should ever participate in such a placebo trial when there is a widely available and highly effective standard treatment already in existence for their particular disease or condition.
Trial Eligibility and Medical Information Needed:
The type of clinical trial you may be eligible for often depends on many factors, including your medical history and a variety of clinical findings. Therefore, it is important to know as many details as possible related to your specific diagnosis when searching for clinical trials. Examples of the details you may want to have on hand include:
- Your specific diagnosis of angina (i.e., chronic stable angina, variant angina, vasospastic angina, etc.)
- Your prior history of heart disease.
- Your prior history of treatment for heart disease (including any surgeries, procedures, and medications) and angina.
- Your current medications (including aspirin), vitamins, and dietary supplements
- Your most recent blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride (i.e., lipid) levels.
Suggested Search Terms:
“angina treatment,” “angina risk factors,” “angina causes,” “angina diabetes,” “angina heart disease,” “angina smoking,” “angina obesity,” and “angina exercise.”
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General Clinical Trial Information