American College of Cardiology 2023 Scientific Sessions Promise Innovation, Connection

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American College of Cardiology President Edward Fry, MD, FACC, discussed what attendees can look forward to at the 2023 Scientific Sessions.

In an interview with Pharmacy Times, American College of Cardiology President Edward Fry, MD, FACC, discussed what attendees can look forward to at the 2023 Scientific Sessions, taking place March 4 through 6 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Q: The 2023 Scientific Sessions have the theme of “Advancing Cardiovascular Care for All.” What does this mean to you and to ACC?

Edward Fry, MD, FACC: Well, I think it really refers to several things and I would sort of break it down as consistent with the mission of the college, which is to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health for all, which emphasizes the inclusive aspect, an equitable aspect, focusing specifically then also on health equity. The “all” part also focuses on the entirety of the cardiovascular team, and especially this year, given that the ACC 2023 is in partnership with the World Heart Federation for the World Cardiology Congress. So, the global nature, the “all” part related to the global nature of cardiovascular medicine, especially given the fact that heart disease is the number one killer, not only in the United States, but around the world.

Q: What does equity look like, particularly in a cardiovascular context?

Edward Fry, MD, FACC: Well, I think equity should be interpreted broadly, across all aspects of health care. But to me, it means the equal opportunity to have access to high quality care, and access to all types of care. And then within cardiology, or cardiovascular medicine, to all aspects of cardiovascular practice. And that the quality and standard of outcomes is the same for everybody, no matter what their background or their situation or socioeconomics or other social determinants of health. And certainly, the end result of achieving equity is to eliminate disparities that we know exist all too much.

Q: What is the value of bringing together all of these experts and perspectives in cardiology?

Edward Fry, MD, FACC: Well, certainly there is power, there's a synergy and a power in numbers. There is that inherent increase in collective creativity when people are together. And although that has been sustained in a virtual world and with virtual meetings, there's nothing that replaces the person-to-person component and amplifies that synergy and that creativity that occurs. And the real purpose of bringing everybody together is that nobody has a monopoly on good ideas. And what tends to come, in my experience, from these types of meetings, and I've had the good fortune of being able to sort of observe them all over the world this past year, is people bring their best practices and they bring their new ideas. And at an academic level, they form connections and relationships that, you know, help in their research and their education. But even outside of pure academic pursuits, also, those connections and relationships are helpful in terms of learning new ways and better ways to take care of patients. And it certainly opens a lot of doors to opportunity, especially to trainees and to young cardiologists, early career cardiologists, in terms of having them develop that professional network that will sustain them throughout the course of their career, as well.

Q: What are you most looking forward to at the meeting this year?

Edward Fry, MD, FACC: I think it’s very much an exciting lineup of science. You know, having a large number of late breaking clinical trials, some of which will be really pivotal, and which will change practice in cardiology. I think that's very exciting. I think also learning some of the newer things, you know, the developing technologies related to less and less invasive ways of managing things, particularly like in structural heart disease and valvular heart disease, the rise of transcatheter valve therapies is very exciting. Advances in medical therapies related to high cholesterol, hyperlipidemia. And then the elephant in the room, I think, is just the explosion of health IT and, in particular, artificial intelligence, which is viewed by some as a threat and viewed by others as a salvation. The truth probably lies in the middle. But it's very exciting to see how we're sort of combining these information technologies with clinical practice. And I think that that's one of the most exciting things going forward. And then lastly, I would say, because of the global nature of the meeting, is the opportunity to work with colleagues from around the world and the partnership with the WCC and the WHF in terms of having this unified approach to combating cardiovascular disease around the world.

Q: Are there any sessions or events you’d like to highlight?

Edward Fry, MD, FACC: Well, very selfishly, the first late-breaking clinical trials session has 3 trials and I'm a moderator of that session. And so, I find the trials to be very interesting. One is about use of an approved but a new lipid-lowering, cholesterol-lowering medication, bempedoic acid, being used in patients who specifically can't take statins, and what the outcomes are in terms of not just their cholesterol levels but moving beyond to their clinical response. And that's very exciting. The second trial in that lineup is one looking at new catheter-based technique to treat tricuspid regurgitation, which has really been sort of an entity that's been forgotten about and surgically is very difficult to manage. So, the potential that there would be a technology demonstrated to be very effective. And then lastly in that group is use of a very common cholesterol-lowering medication in patients undergoing chemotherapy for lymphoma, to see if there is protection against the adverse effects of chemotherapy and heart pumping function. So those are exciting things.

There is another session, the third late-breaking clinical trial session, 3 of 5, which is very much about digital health and digital clinical decision support. Not having the robots take care of patients but being able to give clinicians information to help them in their decision-making process, bringing information to them in a digital format to support their practice. I think that's very exciting too.

Q: Is there anything you want to add?

Edward Fry, MD, FACC: Well, just the technology piece, I think as long as we remember that there's a person on the other end of it. I mean, I think we can't be seduced by the technology piece, you know. We need to remember what the end game and the end result is, which is improvement in the quality of life and reduction of disease burden in patients. So, I think we're also starting to learn now that it's going to be so much more important for us to turn upstream to earlier prevention. You know, we're very good at taking care of patients late in their disease process, but we have to become much better at preventing that from occurring in the first place. And that may be something that, paradoxically, technology really helps us. We tend to think of technology as really being something applied in complex, late-stage disease, but technology may well be the secret sauce in terms of approaching prevention effectively.

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