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Contact: Beth Casteel, 202-375-6275, bcasteel@acc.org

  • December 27, 2006 Drug-Eluting Stents May Hamper Heart's Self-Healing Mechanism Coronary collateral function is nature's bypass system, a method the heart uses of rerouting blood past blocked arteries. When physicians use stents to keep blocked arteries open, further blockages can occur, including a rare condition called stent thrombosis. Coronary collateral function can prevent complications that can lead to heart attack. According to new research that appears in the January 2, 2007 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology , coronary collateral function could be significantly impaired with the use of drug-eluting stents, the most common and effective kind of stents. The research was conducted at the University Hospital in Bern, Switzerland. Lead researcher Christian Seiler, MD, professor and co-chairman of cardiology at University Hospital, said the goal of the study was to determine the effects of these stents on an unstudied area of coronary collateral function, and investigate whether the potential toxicities of drug-eluting stents extended to these little natural bypass channels of collaterals. Read More
  • December 12, 2006 New Research Explores Limits of Non-invasive Coronary Imaging Tests in Identifying Plaque Build-up and Artery Blockage If multi-slice computed tomography (MSCT) shows that a patient has plaque build-up in the artery walls, does it also mean that there is actual reduced blood flow in the artery? New research shows that more often than not, the plaque in coronary artery walls does not necessarily harm blood flow to the heart. Two distinct non-invasive imaging tests were used to examine complimentary characteristics of coronary artery disease (CAD) – plaque build-up and artery blockage. The research, led by Jeroen J. Bax, MD, PhD, Department of Cardiology at the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, appears in the Dec. 19 edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. In a quest to find new, non-invasive ways to detect the blockage of coronary arteries, researchers sought to determine whether MSCT, a promising non-invasive imaging technique that detects narrowing of the coronary arteries due to plaque build-up (atherosclerosis), can also accurately identify reduced blood flow in the arteries due to the blockage (ischemia). Read More
  • November 28, 2006 Heart Attack-Related Depression Puts Patients at Risk for Further Cardiovascular Emergencies People who experience their first-ever bout of depression after having a heart attack are at greater risk for future heart problems than are patients who either don’t become clinically depressed after the medical emergency or who were depressed even before the incident, new research shows. As a result, new depression-related screening protocols and treatment strategies may be needed to help reduce the likelihood of future heart problems in these patients, according to the research, which appears in the Dec. 5, 2006 edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Read More
  • November 14, 2006 New Research Focuses on Effectiveness of Noninvasive Whole-Heart MRI Researchers have long sought to find a reliable way to see inside the human heart without having to insert tubes, inject dyes or expose patients to potentially dangerous radiation. One possible solution is the whole-heart MRI, which provides 3-D images of the heart and its blood vessels without the risk of an invasive procedure. One drawback of MRIs of the heart is that clear images can be difficult to obtain. The heart’s constant beating coupled with a patient’s constant breathing can blur images, rendering them unusable. Read More
  • November 13, 2006 The American College of Cardiology and Partners Launch National Alliance The American College of Cardiology (ACC), together with the American Heart Association (AHA) and other key national healthcare organizations, announces the launch of its latest quality campaign, “Door to Balloon (D2B): An Alliance for Quality.” A Guidelines Applied in Practice (GAP) Program, the D2B campaign is aimed at improving the timeliness of lifesaving therapy for patients with heart attacks at the nation’s hospitals that perform emergency angioplasty. Door-to-balloon time refers to the interval between arrival at the hospital and the opening of a blocked artery with an angioplasty balloon. Patients who receive prompt treatment are more likely to survive a common type of heart attack called ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Previously published guidelines developed by the ACC and the AHA recommend that hospitals treating STEMI patients with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) should reliably achieve a door-to-balloon time of 90 minutes or less. However, accomplishing this level of performance is an organizational challenge and many patients are not treated within the guideline recommendation. Thus, improving timeliness of treatment represents an important opportunity to improve the quality of patient care. Read More
  • November 8, 2006 Jack Lewin, M.D. Takes CEO Post at the American College of Cardiology John C. (Jack) Lewin, M.D. has joined the American College of Cardiology as the new chief executive officer. Dr. Lewin’s appointment was announced in June following an extensive national search. “ACC is already considered the premier specialty society in measuring quality and appropriateness of care nationally for cardiologists,” said Dr. Lewin. “Now we plan to leverage those responsible actions to contribute more vigorously to address the challenges related to expanding access to care, and transforming Medicare and the U.S. health care sector toward greater effectiveness and viability.” Read More
  • November 2, 2006 The American College of Cardiology Foundation's NCDR™ Creates Acute Coronary Syndrome Outcomes Network to Measure and Improve Patient Care Washington, DC – The American College of Cardiology Foundation’s National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR™) announced today that it will launch a new initiative to improve safety and outcomes for patients with Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS). This initiative will combine the data collection and quality reporting features of two leading national ACS registries to create the largest and most comprehensive national cardiovascular patient database ever developed. The NCDR-ACTION Registry will establish a national standard for understanding treatment patterns, clinical outcomes, drug safety, and the overall quality of care provided for ACS patients. The NCDR-ACTION Registry (Acute Coronary Treatment and Intervention Outcomes Network) will launch January 1, 2007. The NCDR-ACTION Registry represents the combination of: The National Registry for Myocardial Infarction (NRMI), an observational study sponsored by Genentech, Inc., and CRUSADE, a quality improvement program coordinated by the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) and sponsored by Schering Plough and Bristol-Myers Squibb Sanofi Partnership. Read More
  • October 31, 2006 Regular Exercise Helps Obese Youths Reduce, Reverse Risk for Heart Disease, Study Shows Regular exercise can help obese children shrink more than just their waistlines, new research shows. The activity also can help them to reduce – and even reverse – their risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including hardening of the arteries. The research, conducted at the University of Rostock in Germany, appears in the Nov. 7, 2006 edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Read More
  • October 17, 2006 Eating Walnuts with High-Fat Meals Helps to Protect Arteries against Short-Term Damage If you’ve been going a little nuts trying to eat a healthier diet, you just might be on the right track. New research shows that consuming a handful of raw walnuts along with meals high in saturated fat appears to limit the ability of the harmful fat to damage arteries. Adding olive oil, however, does not provide the same type of vascular protection. The research, conducted at the University of Barcelona’s Hospital Clínico, appears in the Oct. 17, 2006 edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Read More
  • October 3, 2006 Heartburn Drug May Help to Slow Progression of Chronic Heart Failure An over-the-counter medication used to treat heartburn and acid reflux also appears to help decrease the debilitating effects of chronic heart failure, preliminary research shows. But more testing must be done before the drug is recommended for use by heart failure patients, doctors say. According to the research, the same type of chemical reaction that allows stomach acid to cause heartburn and create ulcers also appears to damage and weaken diseased hearts. Blocking this process with the drug famotidine (Pepcid) may help to slow the progression of chronic heart failure (CHF). Read More
  • September 19, 2006 High Levels of Two Chemicals in the Bloodstream Indicate Need for Aggressive Action to Help Patients with Clogged Arteries Avoid Heart Attack, Death, New Study Shows (BETHESDA, MD) –Researchers working to decode chemical SOS signals sent out by disease-damaged hearts believe they now know better when to aggressively clear clogged arteries and when medical procedures may be unnecessary and even harmful. The research, led by Uppsala University in Sweden, appears in the Sept. 19 edition of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Read More
  • September 18, 2006 Annual flu shot may protect cardiovascular disease patients DALLAS, Sept. 19 – The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology are asking heart doctors to do something they may not normally do — give flu shots to their patients. However, patients with cardiovascular disease should not get the nasal-spray flu vaccine. Patients with cardiovascular disease are more likely to die from influenza than patients with any other chronic condition, according to the new AHA/ACC scientific advisory. Read More
  • September 5, 2006 Doctors Know Best When It Comes to Treating Chronic Coronary Artery Disease Medication, angioplasty or surgery? For some heart disease patients, there’s no clear-cut choice. The key to getting the best care is to follow your individual doctor’s advice, new research shows. For the study, researchers reviewed data collected during the Medicine, Angioplasty or Surgery Study II (MASS II) to determine how physician-recommended care affected patient outcomes one year after treatment. All patients were diagnosed with severe coronary artery disease affecting at least two blood vessels but not yet causing a loss of heart function. Coronary artery disease occurs when a buildup of cholesterol in the arteries prevents oxygen-rich blood from nourishing the heart muscle. Read More
  • August 15, 2006 Meals high in saturated fat impair ‘good’ cholesterol’s ability to protect against clogged arteries Before you bite into that burger or devour that doughnut, first chew on this: New research shows that just one meal high in saturated fat can affect the body’s ability to protect itself against some of the underlying causes of heart disease and stroke. According to the study, even a single meal high in saturated fat can reduce the ability of the body’s “good” cholesterol, or high-density lipoproteins (HDL), to protect the inner lining of the arteries from inflammatory agents that promote the formation of artery-clogging plaques. A single high-fat meal also can affect the ability of the arteries to expand in order to carry adequate blood to tissues and organs. Read More
  • August 1, 2006 Moderate fish consumption may reduce risk of sudden cardiac death For older adults who haven’t added weekly servings of fish to their diets, new Harvard-led research offers more reasons to get hooked on tuna and other broiled or baked fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids. The study states that for people age 65 or older, eating fish just once or twice a week (in 3-ounce to 5-ounce servings) may help to: lower the resting heart rate, slow the time between when the heart is signaled to pump blood and the pumping occurs, reduce the risk of the heart’s electrical system not resetting properly after each beat. Read More
  • July 18, 2006 Light-to-Moderate Drinkers Less Likely to Develop Heart Failure Drinking up to two alcoholic beverages a day on average does not appear to damage the heart muscle of older adults, and these light-to-moderate drinkers tend to develop heart failure at a lower rate than older people who drink no alcohol, according to a new study in the July 18, 2006, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The researchers, including first author Chris L. Bryson, M.D., M.S., from the University of Washington and the VA Puget Sound Health Services Research and Development Service (HSR&D) in Seattle, analyzed data collected on 5,595 Medicare recipients who participated in the Cardiovascular Health Study. This study recruited generally healthy participants during the late 1980s and early 1990s and tracked their heart health for up to nine years. The average age of the participants was 72 at the time they enrolled. Read More
  • July 18, 2006 New Research Questions Need to Allow Blood-Thinning Medication to Clear From Patients’ Bodies Before They Undergo Heart Bypass Surgery Current guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recommend patients wait at least five days after receiving blood-thinning medication before undergoing heart bypass surgery. New research indicates these guidelines often are ignored – but suggests lower-risk patients may be better off as a result. Although the surgery exposed the patients to increased bleeding risks, “these bleeding risks must be weighed against the benefits of clopidogrel use demonstrated in randomized clinical trials, as well as against the economic impact of delaying coronary artery bypass graft surgery,” the researchers state. The study was led by Rajendra H. Mehta, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.C., of Duke Clinical Research Institute and Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. Read More
  • July 4, 2006 Walking Test Predicts Survival of Heart Failure Patients Heart failure patients who could walk farther and faster a couple of weeks after physicians adjusted their medical therapy were more likely to still be alive two years later, according to a new study in the July 4, 2006, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The researchers studied 476 patients (488 were enrolled, but 12 were lost to follow-up) with chronic heart failure who had been referred to a residential rehabilitation program because of persistent or worsening symptoms, for clinical evaluation, or for evaluation for a potential heart transplant. During stays that averaged about two weeks, doctors adjusted the medical therapy of the patients. Read More
  • July 4, 2006 Screening Test Could Save Medicare $700 Million a Year A cost-effectiveness analysis involving the potential implications of using a screening test before deciding to implant cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) in Medicare patients at risk of developing life-threatening heart arrhythmias indicates that it is much less cost-effective to give implants to lower-risk patients, according to a study in the July 4, 2006, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. MADIT-II was a major clinical trial that studied the benefits of implanting defibrillators in patients who had heart failure following a heart attack. The model used in this study included patients similar to those who fit the criteria for the MADIT-II trial. Read More
  • June 20, 2006 Jack Lewin, M.D., Named CEO of the American College of Cardiology John C. (Jack) Lewin, M.D., has been appointed as the new chief executive officer of the American College of Cardiology. Following an extensive national search, Dr. Lewin was selected from a field of outstanding candidates as the right leader at the right time for the ACC. He will assume his new duties in the fall of 2006 following the College’s move to Washington, D.C., in September. “Dr. Lewin brings a lifetime of experience in health care leadership and innovation,” said Steven E. Nissen, M.D., F.A.C.C., president of the American College of Cardiology. “His vision and passion will greatly enhance our ability to fulfill our mission: to advocate for quality cardiovascular care — through education, research promotion, development and application of standards and guidelines — and to influence health care policy.” Read More
  • June 6, 2006 It’s Never too Late to “Hurry Up” Angioplasty Treatment Slicing minutes off the time it takes hospitals to deliver emergency angioplasty (the “door-to-balloon” time) improves the survival of appropriate heart attack patients, even when patients have been feeling symptoms for a few hours, according to a new study in the June 6, 2006, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. “There is a belief among some clinicians that patients presenting late will not benefit from faster door-to-balloon time (a “cow is already out of the barn” philosophy). We were able to show that door-to-balloon time matters for all patients regardless of time to presentation. Furthermore, we were able to show that door-to-balloon time mattered for both low and high risk patients. In summary, all patients can benefit from shorter door-to-balloon times,” said Robert L. McNamara, M.D., M.H.S. from the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. Read More
  • June 6, 2006 Men and Women May Need Different Heart Transplant Assessment Criteria Peak oxygen consumption during an exercise test is one of the key criteria used to determine when a heart failure patient may need a heart transplant, but the standard values currently used may not accurately predict outcomes for female patients, according to a new study in the June 6, 2006, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Peak oxygen consumption (VO2) is a powerful and reliable predictor of survival in patients with advanced heart failure. If a patient who is working hard on the treadmill is consuming less than about 12 milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute (ml/kg/min), then the odds of long-term survival may be poor and it is generally thought to be appropriate to consider heart transplantation, Dr. Kao said. Read More
  • June 6, 2006 Overweight and Obesity Enlarges Teenagers’ Hearts The effects of excess weight on heart health can be seen even in adolescents, with abnormal enlargement and impaired pumping function evident in subjects by age 20, according to a new study in the June 6, 2006, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The Strong Heart study (SHS) is a longitudinal study of cardiovascular risk factors and cardiovascular disease that enrolled 4,549 people in American Indian communities in Arizona, Oklahoma, and North and South Dakota. This analysis included data from examinations of 460 participants age 14 to 20 years (245 girls and 215 boys). The researchers used ultrasound and other methods to measure the size, shape and pumping function of the teenagers’ hearts. Read More
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