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News Releases

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

  • December 15, 2008 Number of female cardiologists nearly doubles, but under-representation and discrimination remain The number of female doctors in cardiology nearly doubled in the last decade, and male and female cardiologists both report a high level of job satisfaction, according to findings from a 10-year follow-up survey published in the December 16/23, 2008, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Still, women account for less than 20 percent of all cardiologists, despite nearly equal numbers of men and women graduating from medical schools. Moreover, two-thirds of women continue to report discrimination, mostly due to competing demands of parenting and family responsibilities. Read More
  • December 1, 2008 Lack of Vitamin D could spell heart trouble Vitamin D deficiency—which is traditionally associated with bone and muscle weakness—may also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). A growing body of evidence links low 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels to common CVD risk factors such as hypertension, obesity and diabetes, as well as major cardiovascular events including stroke and congestive heart failure. In their review article, published in the December, 9, 2008, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), the authors issue practical recommendations to screen for and treat low vitamin D levels, especially in patients with risk factors for heart disease or diabetes. Read More
  • November 12, 2008 American College of Cardiology (ACC)/American College of Gastroenterology (ACG)/American Heart Association (AHA) Joint Comment on Studies Regarding Possible Interaction of Clopidogrel and Proton Pump Inhibitors Two studies released today at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2008 came to opposite conclusions in studying whether a class of heartburn drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) alter the ability of clopidogrel, an anti-platelet drug, to prevent cardiovascular events after stent placement. American College of Cardiology (ACC)/American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines and statements recommend dual anti-platelet therapy (aspirin plus a thienopyridine such as clopidogrel) following stent placement. Previous research shows that combining a PPI with clopidogrel lessens the risk of GI bleeding. However, other recent studies have suggested that adding a PPI could blunt clopidogrel’s anti-platelet effect. This interaction has not been studied in large numbers of patients, so there is no definitive evidence that the use of PPIs will keep clopidogrel from working to prevent cardiac events. Neither of the studies presented today provides sufficient evidence to change clinical practice. In the interest of patient safety, the AHA/ACC and the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) advise that patients who are currently taking these medications should not change their medication regimen unless advised by their healthcare provider. Read More
  • November 10, 2008 New performance measures refine tools for improving care of heart attack patients A new set of clinical performance measures will help doctors and hospitals give the best possible care to heart attack patients by providing up-to-date tools for gauging how closely they’re sticking to guideline recommendations and where they need to improve. Jointly developed by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, the performance measures appear in the December 9, 2008, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and the December 9, 2008, issue of Circulation. They identify some of the most important steps in helping patients return to a healthy life after surviving a heart attack—steps that sometimes are missed even by well-intentioned doctors. Read More
  • November 10, 2008 Time to Reperfusion Performance Measures Please note: The ACC/AHA 2008 Task Force on Performance Measures’ Statement on Performance Measurement and Reperfusion Therapy will webpost on Monday, November 10 at 2 pm ET. The statement clarifies key issues in the measurement of reperfusion therapy for patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. The use of reperfusion therapy, drugs or procedures that restore blood flow to the heart during a heart attack, is one of the most powerful interventions available to improve a patient’s likelihood of survival. While the appropriate and timely use of reperfusion therapy has improved substantially over the past decade, significant gaps in the quality of this important process of care persist. Proper measurement is critical to the assessment of hospital and health system performance and to identify targets for quality improvement. Read More
  • November 7, 2008 Guidelines Break New Ground in Adult Congenital Heart Disease These days most children born with congenital heart disease live well into adulthood, thanks to innovative surgical, interventional and medical treatments. That means that not only are cardiologists caring for a growing number of adults with repaired heart defects, but the resulting cardiac anatomy and physiology are often much more complex than in the past. To assist cardiologists in making everyday clinical decisions for this challenging group of patients—and in knowing when to refer patients to specialists with expertise in congenital heart disease—the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have jointly released a comprehensive set of practice guidelines on the management of adults with congenital heart disease (CHD). Read More
  • October 20, 2008 AMERICAN COLLEGE OF CARDIOLOGY AND CENTER OF EXCELLENCE FOR SIMULATION RESEARCH OF WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY (CESR) PARTNER FOR IN SITU SIMULATION TO IMPROVE TEAM COMMUNICATION AND DOOR-TO-BALLOON (D2B) TIME The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the Center of Excellence for Simulation Research (CESR) of Western Michigan University announced the launch of an educational and research partnership, using in situ simulation to improve the time from hospital presentation with an acute myocardial infarction (MI) to balloon angioplasty (D2B). Mentice, Inc. was selected as the exclusive technology vendor, utilizing its Vascular Intervention Simulation Trainer (VIST™) and newly launched MenticeSIM™ platform for enhanced videocapture, skills evaluation and post-experience assessment. The ACC is the nation’s leader in promoting evidence-based care for cardiovascular disease (CVD), including its educational programs sponsored by the American College of Cardiology Foundation (ACCF) and its quality improvement efforts such as reducing door-to-balloon times through the D2B Alliance. W. Douglas Weaver, M.D., F.A.C.C., ACC President, asserted that “I am proud that the ACC is collaborating with leaders in simulation technology to advance patient care. In situ simulation has improved safety in commercial aviation and it also will bring many benefits to acute MI care, where a team of healthcare providers must quickly and expertly respond to emergency situations where every minute counts.” Read More
  • October 6, 2008 Consensus Document Outlines Practical Steps for Reducing Gastrointestinal Risks The American College of Cardiology in collaboration with the American College of Gastroenterology and the American Heart Association today released consensus guidelines outlining a stepwise approach for reducing the risk of ulcers and gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding among patients using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) along with antiplatelet agents. Gastrointestinal bleeding is a major and potentially life-threatening complication for patients taking antiplatelet and NSAID therapy, according to Deepak L. Bhatt, M.D., document co-chair and chief of cardiology, VA Boston Healthcare System. Patients taking low-dose aspirin plus NSAIDs have a two- to four-fold increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding compared with those not taking these medications. Read More
  • September 16, 2008 AMERICAN COLLEGE OF CARDIOLOGY LAUNCHES QUALITY FIRST CAMPAIGN TO SET NEW STANDARDS FOR HEALTH CARE REFORM The American College of Cardiology (ACC) today kicked off its Quality First campaign which advocates for new standards for quality in health care reform, while setting forth initiatives that will immediately begin to move the American health care system dramatically forward. At the launch of the Quality First campaign, the ACC released findings from a recent survey revealing the American public’s dissatisfaction with the current health care system and the need for doctors, especially cardiologists, to be involved in the reform movement. The results showed that not only do 52 percent of Americans feel that the costs of health care are too high, but 77 percent are also unhappy with the way the health care system is being regulated. Read More
  • August 13, 2008 Air Pollution Damages More Than Lungs: Heart and Blood Vessels Suffer Too As athletes from around the world compete in the Beijing Olympics, many are on alert for respiratory problems caused by air pollution. They should also be concerned about its toxic effects on the heart and cardiovascular system, mounting research shows. According to an article published in the August 26, 2008, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), air pollution has both short- and long-term toxic effects that injure the heart and blood vessels, increase rates of hospitalization for cardiac illness, and can even cause death. Read More
  • August 7, 2008 ALLIANCE BETWEEN LEADERS IN HEALTH AND MEDICINE TO ADDRESS HEALTHCARE DISPARITIES THROUGH EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVE In an effort to help reduce racial, ethnic and gender disparities in healthcare, leading professional organizations and academic medical institutions have joined forces in a unique collaborative alliance with the goal of creating a comprehensive educational initiative that aims to improve the quality of care and outcomes for traditionally underserved minority populations. The collaboration between The American College of Cardiology, the Association of Black Cardiologists, the National Kidney Foundation, Joslin Diabetes Center, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and The Institute for Johns Hopkins Nursing will focus on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and chronic kidney disease (CKD) - conditions with consistently higher rates of morbidity and mortality among ethnic patients. The initiative will additionally examine multiple aspects of patient care including effectiveness of healthcare quality, patient safety, timeliness of and access to healthcare services and patient centeredness. Read More
  • July 28, 2008 Japanese Diet Rich in Fish May Hold Secret to Healthy Heart If you’re fishing for ways to reduce the risk of heart disease, you might start with the seafood-rich diet typically served up in Japan. According to new research, a lifetime of eating tuna, sardines, salmon and other fish appears to protect Japanese men against clogged arteries, despite other cardiovascular risk factors. The research, published in the August 5, 2008, issue of Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), suggests that the protection comes from omega-3 fatty acids found in abundance in oily fish. In the first international study of its kind, researchers found that compared to middle-aged white men or Japanese-American men living in the United States, Japanese men living in Japan had twice the blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids—a finding that was independently linked to low levels of atherosclerosis. Read More
  • July 15, 2008 The American College of Cardiology Applauds Congressional Action to Halt Pay Cuts to Physicians The American College of Cardiology (ACC) is grateful and relieved for the congressional action today overriding the presidential veto and passing legislation that reverses the 10.6 percent Medicare physician payment that took effect July 1. The ACC now calls on Congress to begin focusing on real health system reform. “Because of today’s action, physicians will be able to continue providing our Medicare patients with access to the quality cardiovascular care they deserve,” said Jack Lewin, M.D., CEO of the American College of Cardiology. Read More
  • July 9, 2008 The American College of Cardiology Applauds Senate Action to Halt Pay Cuts to Physicians, Calls on President Bush to Act on Behalf of Medicare Patients and Focus on Real Health System Reform The American College of Cardiology (ACC) is grateful and relieved for the Senate’s action today passing legislation that reverses the 10.6 percent Medicare physician payment that took effect July 1. As passed, the bill will stop the 10.6 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements for 18 months, extend the 0.5 percent payment update for 2008 and provide a 1.1% update for 2009. In addition, the bill improves and extends payments to rural providers and continues the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative through 2011. It also includes an accreditation requirement for advanced imaging modalities and would fund a two-year voluntary appropriateness criteria demonstration project supported by the ACC in an effort to refocus the imaging debate toward more quality-focused policy solutions. Read More
  • June 3, 2008 The American College of Cardiology Says Reform is Crucial Today the Senate Finance Committee hosted a hearing titled, “Rising Costs, Low Quality in Health Care: The Necessity for Reform.” The American College of Cardiology (ACC) is grateful for the Committee’s interest in tackling this important topic and looks forward to working together with Congress in order to bring about real health system reform. With heart disease the number one killer in the United States, and with more than 40 percent of Medicare spending going towards cardiovascular-related medicine, cardiology is in a good position to refocus the debate and help set a new standard for health system reform. Read More
  • June 3, 2008 Women Now on Par With Men in PCI Outcomes Women with heart disease have a new reason to feel encouraged about the future. A study published in the June 17, 2008, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) shows that angioplasty and stenting—procedures that are used to open narrowed coronary arteries—are far more effective in women than they were in the past. Equally important, women who undergo percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) fare just as well as men, both shortly after the procedure and over the long run. The study, conducted at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, is expected to help dispel the notion that PCI, which has revolutionized the treatment of coronary artery disease in men, is less effective in women. Read More
  • June 2, 2008 Skyscape Partners with American College of Cardiology to Launch SPECT MPI Appropriateness Tool Marlborough, Mass—Skyscape®, the worldwide leading service for trusted medical information by specialty for mobile devices, announces a new mobile software tool that helps clinicians assess the appropriateness of ordering specific imaging diagnostics (SPECT MPI) for patients who have or are at risk for cardiovascular disease. The American College of Cardiology Foundation (ACCF) and the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) jointly developed the appropriateness criteria by blending evidence-based information and clinical experience, to enable a more efficient and equitable allocation of healthcare resources. Skyscape’s convenient mobile implementation on PDAs and Smart phones makes it quick and easy for clinicians to receive a clear indication as to whether a particular patient would benefit from diagnostic tests and procedures, using simple inputs based on clinical presentation and patient characteristics. Read More
  • May 28, 2008 ACC and CRF Announce Partnership on American College of Cardiology’s Innovation in Intervention: i2 Summit The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the Cardiovascular Research Foundation (CRF) announced today a multi-year partnership to jointly sponsor the ACC i2 interventional cardiology meeting in Orlando, Fla., March 28–31, 2009, during ACC.09, the ACC’s 58th Annual Scientific Session and the world’s premier cardiovascular meeting. This will be the beginning of a five-year partnership committed to collectively developing the interventional component of the ACC Annual Scientific Session. The ACC’s Innovation in Intervention: i2 Summit in partnership with the Cardiovascular Research Foundation in Orlando will deliver in-depth and cutting-edge science provided in a forum for both general cardiologists and interventional specialists, educating and guiding physicians, as well as cardiac care team members, to the next level of knowledge and practice. The meeting will emphasize the translation of evidence-based science and clinical trial data into daily interventional practice. Read More
  • May 26, 2008 Cocoa Could Be a Healthy Treat for Diabetic Patients For people with diabetes, sipping a mug of steaming, flavorful cocoa may seem a guilty pleasure. But new research suggests that indulging a craving for cocoa can actually help blood vessels to function better and might soon be considered part of a healthy diet for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Flavanols, natural plant compounds also found in tea, red wine, and certain fruits and vegetables, are responsible for cocoa’s healthful benefits. In fact, according to new research published in the June 3 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), after diabetic patients drank specially formulated high-flavanol cocoa for one month, blood vessel function went from severely impaired to normal. Read More
  • May 23, 2008 The American College of Cardiology Calls For Action on E-Prescribing Legislation and Challenges CBO Analysis of Health IT The American College of Cardiology (ACC) today stated its strong support for adoption of health information technology. The ACC views electronic prescribing (“e-prescribing”) as a very important and necessary tool that will improve patient safety, reduce medical errors, decrease adverse drug events, reduce hospitalizations, improve patient adherence, and increase patient satisfaction. The College remains committed to implementing policies that improve the quality of patient care and believes the widespread adoption of e-prescribing is a necessary component toward that goal. Read More
  • May 19, 2008 Erectile Dysfunction May Signal a Broken Heart Erectile dysfunction is always a matter of the heart, but new research shows that more than romance is at stake. Two new studies of men with type 2 diabetes found that erectile dysfunction (ED) was a powerful early warning sign for serious heart disease, including heart attack and death. One of the studies also showed that cholesterol-lowering medications could cut the risk of heart problems by about one-third—and suggested that Viagra and other compounds in the same drug family might offer similar protection. Read More
  • May 16, 2008 ACC Launches Cardiosource en Español The American College of Cardiology announces the launch of Cardiosource en Español, a Spanish-language version of its clinical portal, Cardiosource, offering Spanish-speaking users trusted Cardiosource content, as well as original content tailored to their country’s cardiovascular needs. The new Cardiosource en Español offers a Spanish translation of the popular Cardiosource news and clinical content members’ depend on in practice. Read More
  • May 15, 2008 The American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association and the Heart Rhythm Society Release Updated Cardiac Device-Based Therapy Guidelines The American College of Cardiology (ACC), American Heart Association (AHA) and the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) have jointly released updated cardiac device-based therapy guidelines. The ACC/AHA/HRS 2008 Guidelines for Device-Based Therapy of Cardiac Rhythm Abnormalities are the first guidelines that combine indications for all cardiac implantable electronic devices and were released today during Heart Rhythm 2008, the Heart Rhythm Society’s 29th Annual Scientific Sessions. An estimated 180,000 pacemaker devices and 91,000 implantable defibrillators were implanted in the U.S. in 2005 . The ability to diagnose and treat patients, and manage their devices has greatly improved in recent years. ACC, AHA and the HRS (formerly NASPE) created a committee of physicians who are expert in the areas of device therapy, cardiovascular care, internal medicine, cardiovascular surgery, ethics and socioeconomics to update device-based therapy guidelines, previously called ACC/AHA/NASPE 2002 Guideline Update for Implantation of Cardiac Pacemakers and Antiarrhythmia Devices. With the overall goal of improving patient care, the updated guidelines incorporate data from recent clinical trials and the most significant advances in pacemaker and implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) therapy. Read More
  • May 1, 2008 The American College of Cardiology Foundation's NCDR® and the American Heart Association’s GWTG Join Forces to Fight Heart Attacks The American College of Cardiology Foundation’s National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR®) and the American Heart Association’s Get With The GuidelinesSM (GWTG)-Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) Registry announced today they are joining together to create a national unified registry for measuring and improving safety and outcomes for patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS). Acute coronary syndrome is an umbrella diagnosis that encompasses both a type of heart attack known as non ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) and unstable angina, or chest pain. This collaboration joins two leading national coronary artery disease registries, NCDR’s ACTION Registry and GWTG-CAD Registry, to create the largest and most comprehensive national cardiovascular patient database ever developed by the medical profession. This new registry, called ACTION Registry ®-GWTG ™, will establish the national standard for understanding and improving the quality, safety and outcomes of care provided for patients with coronary artery disease. Read More
  • March 17, 2008 The American College of Cardiology Applauds Governor Kaine’s Support for Health IT and Centra’s Commitment to Quality Cardiovascular Care The American College of Cardiology (ACC) appreciates Governor Kaine’s and the state of Virginia’s support for the pilot program at Centra. Jack Lewin, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of the American College of Cardiology, said, “As the professional home of our nation’s cardiologists, the ACC is in a unique position to provide our members with reliable information and assessment of their clinical performance. We appreciate Centra’s medical expertise and their strong commitment to quality and Governor Kaine’s support of this important pilot project.” Read More
  • February 18, 2008 Focus on Atrial Fibrillation Recognizes Growing Importance of Common Arrhythmia When we’re young, a racing heart often means love is in the air. If you’re a “baby boomer,” it might mean you’ve just joined the 2.2 million Americans who have atrial fibrillation (AF), an irregularity in the heart’s rhythm that grows more common as we age and markedly increases the risk for stroke. “We’re seeing more and more patients with atrial fibrillation,” said N.A. Mark Estes III, M.D., F.A.C.C., a professor of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine and director of the New England Cardiac Arrhythmia Center at Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston. “The good news is that we have practical and useful tools to use in assessing patient risk and good evidence on how to treat this condition.” Read More
  • February 7, 2008 Here’s Something New to Worry About: Anxiety Hikes Heart Attack Risk We all know that people with a Type A personality and an off-the-charts hostility level may be courting a heart attack. But this might come as a surprise: New research shows that their nervous, socially withdrawn neighbors also have reason to worry. The research, published in the January 15, 2008, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), shows that longstanding anxiety markedly increases the risk of heart attack, even when other common risk factors are taken into account. Read More
  • January 15, 2008 Statement from the American College of Cardiology Related to the ENHANCE Trial The ENHANCE (Effect of Combination Ezetimibe and High-Dose Simvastatin vs. Simvastatin Alone on the Atherosclerotic Process in Patients with Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia) trial results were released by Merck and Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals on January 14, 2008. Media reports indicate that the results of the trial show no benefit from the combination of ezetimibe (Zetia) and simvastatin (sold together as Vytorin) over simvastatin alone in terms of changes in carotid artery thickness. The study involved 720 patients with very high levels of cholesterol from an inherited form of heart disease. The study was designed to prove that Vytorin could slow the growth of plaque in carotid arteries supplying the brain more than simvastatin alone. According to the American College of Cardiology (ACC), this study deserves serious thought and follow-up. The overall incidence rates of cardiac events were nearly identical between both treatment groups, and both medicines were generally well tolerated. The difference in the changes in carotid artery thickening was 0.006 in the simvastatin group and 0.011 mm in the Vytorin group. Three large trials comparing Vytorin to Simvastatin will be published within the next 3 years. Read More