Round Up of ACC Scientific Session Presentations

March 17, 2015

As the 2015 American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific Session and Expo concludes, take a look at a few of the latest discoveries that were presented at the conference.

As the 2015 American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific Session and Expo concludes, take a look at a few of the latest discoveries that were presented at the San Diego, California, conference.

Here are a few of the key findings, presented from March 14-16, 2015:

Weight Loss Reduces Atrial Fibrillation Symptoms

Obese patients who lose more weight, keep it off, and have less weight fluctuation are more likely to see reductions in atrial fibrillation burden and severity when compared with individuals who do not lose weight. In a recent study, patients who lost at least 10% of their body weight were 6 times more likely to have reduced atrial fibrillation symptoms. Weight loss also provided the patients in the study with other benefits, such as improved blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.

Heart Disease, Excessive Sitting Linked

Sitting for many hours a day is associated with increased coronary artery calcification, which can be an indicator of heart problems. The study found that exercise was not associated with coronary artery calcification, and their results suggested that exercise may not be able to counteract the consequences of sitting for too many hours. The researchers posited that each hour per day sitting was associated with a 14% increase in coronary artery calcification burden.

Mediterranean Diets Protects Against Vascular Disease

Researchers have found evidence that points to Mediterranean diets having certain benefits for the heart. Their study of 10,590 subjects suggested that the diet could provide protection against major vascular events and coronary events. However, there were no associations with all-cause mortality or cardiovascular mortality.

Older Patients May Benefit From More Aggressive Treatment

Patients aged >80 with acute coronary syndromes may benefit from invasive tests and therapies that are typically offered to younger patients. The patients in the recent study who underwent invasive procedures to evaluate and correct narrowed arteries had a 47% reduction in measures of subsequent heart attacks, stroke, and death, when compared with patients who were treated more conservatively. The patients who were treated more conservatively were given medications but saw no invasive interventions.

Bivalirudin Tests Show Mixed Results

While tests of bivalirudin did meet the study’s secondary endpoints, the anticoagulant did not show significant improvements in the study’s 2 primary endpoints, which were a composite of rate of death, heart attack, or stroke at 30 days, and a composite of those events plus major bleeding. However, bivalirudin was associated with lower rates of bleeding complications and death. The study involved patients with acute coronary syndrome undergoing angioplasty.

Antidepressants May Improve Cardiovascular Outcomes

Treating moderate to severe depression could also help reduce the risk of heart disease among patients, according to a new study. Patients who took antidepressants alone had a lower risk of death, coronary heart disease, and stroke compared with patients who experienced depression but who did not take antidepressants or statins. Statins alone or in combination with antidepressants was not associated with a significant risk reduction.

Women More Likely to Be Delayed Getting to Hospital During Heart Attacks

Delays in calling 911 or getting to the hospital cause women experiencing heart attacks to have a greater risk of adverse outcomes. Researchers found that women were nearly twice as likely to die in the hospital compared with men. Women were also less likely to undergo treatment to open clogged arteries, which works best soon after a heart attack, when compared with men.

Prevent Onset of Risk Factors for Heart Failure Before Age 45

Having hypertension or diabetes or being obese by the age of 45 may lead to a greater likelihood of being diagnosed with heart failure earlier than those who did not develop those risk factors by age 45. A new study found that those who develop these known risk factors for heart failure were diagnosed with heart failure 11 to 13 years earlier than their counterparts. In addition, patients who only exhibited 1 or 2 of the risk factors, but not all 3, developed heart failure an average of 3 to 11 years earlier than those without hypertension, diabetes, or obesity.

Cardiovascular Risk Not Associated With Testosterone Therapy

Two studies that examined more than 120,000 men have failed to find a connection between testosterone therapy and heart problems. Previous research had suggested a link did exist between the therapy and adverse cardiovascular events. Meanwhile, further studies of the effects of testosterone therapy on metabolic parameters and bone fractures is ongoing.

More Counseling on Defibrillators Needed for Heart Failure Patients

Only 1 in 5 hospitalized heart failure patients who might benefit from an implantable defibrillator receives pre-discharge counseling about it. Women, non-whites, and Hispanics were less likely to receive counseling, according to a recent study. Women were just as likely to get implantable cardioverter defibrillators as men if they received counseling.