American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2005, Nov. 13-15, 2005
The American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions took place in Dallas from November 13-15 and attracted more than 27,000 attendees.
In the opening session, AHA President Robert Eckel, M.D., encouraged cardiologists to spend just three minutes per visit asking patients about their physical activity and nutrition. Cardiologists can play a greater role in helping patients make lifestyle changes that could have an impact on cardiac health, Eckel said.
This year's meeting also focused on the gender gap in awareness and treatment of cardiac-related illness. In displays and "red dress" pins worn by attendees throughout the meeting, the AHA encouraged a greater awareness that heart disease is the leading cause of death in women. As part of the "Go Red for Women" campaign, physician "toolkits" containing posters, guidelines, reports, and appointment cards were made available.
Among the more than 3,800 abstracts and poster presentations, there were many outstanding presentations. Milton Packer, M.D., of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, reported the results of Revive II: Multicenter Placebo-Controlled Trial of Levosimendan on Clinical Status in Acutely Decompensated Heart Failure, in which 600 patients in the United States, Australia and Israel were randomly assigned to 24-hour treatment with either placebo or levosimendan. The drug demonstrated a favorable effect in a group of patients that has "very little evidence-based medicine to guide treatment," Packer said.
Serena Tonstad, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Oslo in Norway, reported the results of a Pfizer-sponsored trial that suggested that the odds of quitting smoking at 9-12 weeks, defined as a 4-week continuous quit rate by carbon monoxide testing, were 1.96-fold higher with an experimental nicotinic receptor agonist, varenicline, than with bupropion (44.4% versus 29.5%). Varenicline shows a "robust and superior efficacy at smoking cessation," Tonstad said.
Volker Schachinger, M.D., of the J.W. Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, and other teams of researchers in Europe presented promising results using progenitor or stem cells in the treatment of patients with angina, long-term left ventricular dysfunction and other cardiac complications. Schachinger reported that patients with persistent dysfunction after myocardial infarction (up to 12 years in some cases) had a significant improvement in left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) and NYHA class when treated with autologous bone marrow progenitor cells.
The AHA is now offering detailed information on the Scientific Sessions for purchase. For more information, go to http://www.scienceondemand.org/cgi-bin/purchase.
Warfarin Beats Clopidogrel for Atrial Fibrillation
FRIDAY, Nov. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Oral anticoagulants are more likely than aspirin/clopidogrel to prevent vascular events in patients with atrial fibrillation who have at least one stroke risk factor, according to the results of ACTIVE-W (Atrial Fibrillation Clopidogrel Trial with Irbesartan for Prevention of Vascular Events) presented this week at the American Heart Association's scientific sessions in Dallas.
Fish Oil Plus Statins Helps Hypercholesterolemia
FRIDAY, Nov. 18 (HealthDay News) -- A combination of fish oil supplements and statins is more effective than statins alone at reducing cardiovascular events in patients with hypercholesterolemia, according to results of the Japan EPA Lipid Intervention Study (JELIS) presented this week at the American Heart Association's scientific sessions in Dallas.
Pactimibe Doesn't Help, May Hurt in Atherosclerosis
FRIDAY, Nov. 18 (HealthDay News) -- ACAT inhibitors are a promising new class of drugs that have been shown to slow atherosclerosis in mice, but the first trial of one such drug, pactimibe, has been a disappointment, according to results from the ACTIVATE (ACAT Intravascular Atherosclerosis Treatment Evaluation) study presented this week at the American Heart Association's scientific sessions in Dallas.
Progenitor Cells Help Patients with LV Dysfunction
TUESDAY, Nov. 15 (HealthDay News) -- An infusion of progenitor cells collected from peripheral blood or bone marrow can boost heart function in patients who have left ventricular dysfunction that persists months or years after a myocardial infarction, according to a study presented Tuesday at the American Heart Association's scientific sessions in Dallas.
New Drug May Outperform Zyban for Smoking Cessation
TUESDAY, Nov. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Smokers treated with varenicline, an experimental drug that is a partial agonist of the alpha-4 beta-1 nicotinic receptor, have greater odds of quitting than patients treated with Zyban (bupropion) or placebo, according to a study presented Tuesday at the American Heart Association's scientific sessions in Dallas.
Levosimendan Shows Promise in Chronic Heart Failure
MONDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Patients who are hospitalized with acutely decompensated heart failure are more likely to show clinical improvement if treated with the experimental drug levosimendan than with placebo, according to a late-breaking clinical trial presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions in Dallas. Levosimendan, one of a new class of drugs known as calcium sensitizers, is available for clinical use in Europe, but not the United States.