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In This Issue:
BWH's Annarosa Leri presented the George E. Brown Memorial Lecture at this year's AHA conference.
Through presentations, awards and late-breaking clinical trials attracting the attention of cardiologists and media alike, BWH was well-represented at this year's American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions-the leading cardiovascular meeting in the U.S.-held last month in Dallas, Texas.
During the conference, Paul Ridker, MD, MPH, director of BWH's Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, and Nancy Cook, ScD, of BWH's Division of Preventive Medicine, raised questions about the accuracy of an online calculator meant to help doctors assess risks and treatment options, which was part of the AHA's new set of guidelines for managing cholesterol.
Additionally, BWH's Eliott Antman, MD, senior investigator in the Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) Study Group, will be inducted as AHA president next summer.
Late-Breaking Clinical Trials
A major trial, known as ENGAGE AF-TIMI 48, showed that high- and low-dose edoxaban-a drug that prevents blood from clotting-were at least as effective in preventing a stroke or blood clot, while also significantly reducing bleeding and cardiovascular death, compared to warfarin, another drug that prevents blood clots.
"Our study findings represent good news for patients and health care providers," said lead study author Robert Giugliano, MD, SM, FACC, FAHA, of BWH's Cardiovascular Division. "We believe that once-daily edoxaban represents a new, effective, safe treatment to prevent stroke for many patients with atrial fibrillation, with the benefits of less bleeding and cardiovascular death, compared to standard therapy with warfarin."
Led by the BWH TIMI Study Group and Harvard Medical School, the study was the largest (21,105 participants from 46 countries) and longest (2.8 years average follow-up) trial to date of a new anti-blood clotting drug in patients with atrial fibrillation, or an irregular heart rate.
Another study, the TOPCAT trial, led by a clinical research team under the direction of Marc Pfeffer, MD, PhD, also of BWH's Cardiovascular Division, assessed the effect of spironolactone-a drug that treats high blood pressure and heart failure-on clinical outcomes in patients with heart failure and preserved pump function.
The TOPCAT trial demonstrated that the drug did not reduce heart failure hospitalization nor surviving a cardiac arrest in these patients. However, it did reduce the major burden faced by these patients-the risk of repeated hospitalizations for heart failure.
"When treating our patients, clinicians are always balancing risks and benefits," said study author Akshay Desai, MD, MPH, an advanced heart failure specialist from the Cardiovascular Division. "The results of TOPCAT will help inform clinicians as they make treatment decisions for this understudied population."
In addition to significant studies, BWHers received an abundance of honors at the AHA Scientific Sessions:
Annarosa Leri, MD, of BWH's Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine and Cardiovascular Medicine, presented the George E. Brown Memorial Lecture. Brown was partly responsible for the formation of the AHA Section for the Study of the Peripheral Circulation.
Pfeffer was presented with the James B. Herrick Award-the Council on Clinical Cardiology's highest honor. The annual award is given to a physician whose scientific achievements have contributed profoundly to the advancement and practice of clinical cardiology.
Ridker was the recipient of the Distinguished Scientist Award, which the AHA annually presents to a prominent scientist whose contributions to research have advanced the understanding of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Jonathan Seidman, MD, was also a recipient of the Distinguished Scientist Award. Along with Christine Seidman, MD, he co-runs the Seidman Laboratory, located within the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and BWH's Cardiovascular Division.