2014 Top Heart Disease, Stroke Research Announced


The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association will offer ten stories featuring the top advances in heart disease and stroke research in 2014.


DALLAS, Dec. 18, 2014 — The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association will offer ten stories featuring the top advances in heart disease and stroke research in 2014.

The series of stories can be found on Heart.org through the end of December. Each story was selected by a panel of the association’s science staff and volunteers. The organization has compiled an annual list of the major advances in heart disease and stroke research each year since 1996.

The series can be found at http://blog.heart.org/top-ten-cardiovascular-disease-research-advances-2014-summary.

For information about other upcoming articles and for the full list, please see below:

Bariatric surgery improves blood sugar control in obese people with Type 2 diabetes

  • Bariatric Surgery versus Intensive Medical Therapy for Diabetes — 3-Year Outcome — STAMPEDE. Schauer, March 31, 2014 NEJM.

Bariatric surgery improved blood sugar control, reduced the need for medications and improved the quality of life for obese patients with Type 2 diabetes, according to a three-year follow-up study published this year.

Renal denervation no better than sham at lowering resistant high blood pressure

  • A Controlled Trial of Renal Denervation for Resistant Hypertension-SIMPLICITY HTN-3. Bhatt, April, 2014 NEJM.

Despite showing early promise for high blood pressure patients who don’t respond to multiple medications, a medical procedure called renal denervation was no better than a sham procedure, according to a trial published this year.

Collaborative pre-hospital and hospital systems speed treatment and benefit stroke patients

  • Door-to-Needle Times for Tissue Plasminogen Activator Administration and Clinical Outcomes in Acute Ischemic Stroke Before and After a Quality Improvement Initiative (Target-Stroke SM). Fonarow, April 22, 2014, JAMA.
  • Effects of Golden Hour Thrombolysis A Prehospital Acute Neurological Treatment and Optimization of Medical Care in Stroke (PHANTOM-S) Substudy. Ebinger, Nov. 17, 2014, JAMA-Neurology.

A drug called tissue plasminogen activator, tPA, is the only approved treatment for patients with stroke caused by blocked blood vessels in the brain, but it must be given within a few hours. Two studies highlighted systems that helped emergency medical systems and hospitals work together to speed treatment time and benefit stroke patients.

Modern methods lead to discoveries in rare heart disease, post-stent vessel changes

  • Modeling the mitochondrial cardiomyopathy of Barth syndrome with induced pluripotent stem cell and heart-on-chip technologies. Parker/Pu, May 11, 2014, Nature Medicine
  • Oxido-reductive regulation of vascular remodeling by receptor tyrosine kinase ROS1. Ashley, Nov. 17, 2014, Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Researchers pioneered a “heart on a chip” model to learn how a single mutation affects the heart cells of children with a rare disorder. Others harnessed the power of “big data” to learn how two genes influenced blood vessels after stenting. Both led to the use of promising experimental treatments that may one day change how these diseases are treated.

Future one-time treatment could lower cholesterol for life

  • Permanent alteration of PCSK9 with in vivo CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing.Musunuru, June 10, 2014, Circ. Research

A single injection could eliminate a lifetime of high cholesterol, if humans respond to it as dramatically as mice did in a study published this year. Researchers lowered cholesterol by 35 percent to 40 percent in mice, just days after delivering a treatment that increased the liver’s ability to remove LDL “bad” cholesterol from the body.

Experimental blood test finds early heart damage that may go undetected in diabetics

  • Diabetes, Pre-Diabetes and Incidence of Subclinical Myocardial Damage. Selvin, Aug. 22, 2014, Circulation.

A new, highly sensitive blood test shows that people with diabetes may have increasing, undetected heart damage. The finding may lead to earlier monitoring of people with diabetes and more aggressive early treatment.

Promising experimental heart failure drug reduces deaths, hospitalizations

  • Angiotensin—Neprilysin Inhibition versus Enalapril in Heart Failure-PARADIGM-HF. McMurray/Packer Sept. 11, 2014 NEJM.

A new experimental drug has the potential to help many heart failure patients live longer, better lives, according to research published this year. Researchers found the experimental drug LCZ696 lowered deaths from cardiovascular disease compared to the existing heart failure drug, enalapril.

Extended use of aspirin plus another anti-clotting medication reduced heart attacks

  • Dual Antiplatelet Therapy Beyond One Year After Drug-eluting Coronary Stent Procedures-DAPT. Mauri, NEJM, Nov. 16, 2014;
  • Extended duration dual antiplatelet therapy and mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis-DAPT meta-analysis. Elmariah, Lancet Nov. 16, 2014

Balancing the risk of bleeding with the need to prevent heart attacks, blood clots and plaque build-up in coronary stents has challenged medical experts for years, but this study found extending the amount of time people take a combination of two anti-clotting medications (aspirin and either clopidogrel or prasugrel) could give prevention efforts a major boost.

Daily aspirin fails to prevent heart attacks, increases bleeding risks

  • Low-Dose Aspirin for Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Events in Japanese Patients 60 Years or Older With Atherosclerotic Risk Factors-A Randomized Clinical Trial. Ikeda, Nov. 17, 2014, JAMA.

A new, large-scale study in Japan showed that people over 60 with atherosclerosis risk factors who took daily aspirin did not have a lower risk of heart attacks stroke or cardiovascular death compared to people not taking aspirin.

No clear winner in comparison of two Marfan syndrome drugs

  • Atenolol versus Losartan in Children and Young Adults with Marfan’s Syndrome.Lacro, Nov 18, 2014 NEJM

Put to the test, two types of drugs (losartan, an angiotensin receptor blocker and atenolol, a beta blocker) are generally equally matched for treating Marfan syndrome, giving doctors new information for treating the genetic disorder that can stretch and weaken the aorta.

Look for new featured pieces on Heart.org weekdays through December 31.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Original news and feature stories from Heart.org are available to the media for linking, quoting and excerpting. Copyright is owned or held by the American Heart Association and we reserve all rights, but you are granted permission, at no cost and without need for further request, to link to, quote or excerpt from these stories in any medium anywhere as long as you do not alter the text used and provide proper attribution to the American Heart Association. Full terms of use and attribution language can be found here.)


The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association receives funding mostly from individuals. Foundations and corporations donate as well, and fund specific programs and events. Strict policies are enforced to prevent these relationships from influencing the association’s science content. Financial information for the American Heart Association, including a list of contributions from pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers, is available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

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