AHA Scientific Sessions to provide clinical support for widespread CV care

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Gordon F. Tomaselli, MD, program chair of the 2008 AHA Scientific Sessions. Image Source: American Heart Association  

The 2008 American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions will open this weekend in New Orleans, and Program Chair Gordon F. Tomaselli, MD, told Cardiovascular Business that the meeting has a multi-faceted approach to juggling all the various specialties within cardiovascular (CV) care.

Outside of the areas of general cardiology, the 2008 AHA conference also will focus on cardiovascular imaging due to its concurrent inclusion of the International Congress on Cardiovascular Imaging. The sessions will “cover everything from molecular imaging of tagged stem cells up through and including considerations of healthcare outcomes in the utilization of CV imaging in diagnosing and managing of patients with heart disease,” Tomaselli said.

The Resuscitation Science Symposium will run through the first half of the meeting, and will focus on emergency cardiac care, including resuscitation, use of hypothermia and automatic external defibrillators.

However, the show-stoppers at this year’s conference will be presented during the late-breaking clinical trials (LBCT), which cover various controversies involved with treating heart disease, and are broken out thematically over the four days of the conference.

Sunday’s LBCT will focus on primary and secondary prevention of atherosclerotic CV disease. One late-breaking trial is the much-anticipated JUPITER trial, which has examined the use of statins as a primary prevention method to prevent overall CV adverse events. Among the other trials presented on Sunday is a Japanese study that examined the role of aspirin in preventing diabetics from developing coronary disease.

Monday’s LBCT theme is the management of acute coronary syndromes, both with intervention and medication. Tomaselli highlighted the ATLAS ACS trial, which examined a new factor 10a inhibitor; the MASS DES trial that took a retrospective look at drug-eluting stents in diabetic patients; and the TIMAX trial, which compared early versus delayed PCI in patients with acute MI.  

On Tuesday, heart failure will take the forefront in the LBCT theme. Among the others, the I-PRESERVE trial looking at Ibersartan, an angiotensin-converting enzyme, in treating patients with diastolic heart failure, will be presented.  

Finally, Wednesday’s LBCT provides a “potpourri” of topics for the treatment of heart patients, according to Tomaselli. Among those, the FINISH trial looked at home monitoring of INR patients with atrial fibrillation, and who need anticoagulants.  

To ensure transparency at the conference, Tomaselli said that each presenter’s reported conflict of interest is scrutinized, especially for the high-profile presentations. He said that “even perceived conflicts of interest are marked, and will be made clear in one of several ways, including an announcement by presenters about their conflict of interest. Also, if someone truly has a conflict, then we’ve substituted that speaker with someone else.”

He also noted that one plenary session at the 2008 AHA meeting will examine “how we, in the medical community, and the media deal with the outcomes of trials, particularly ones that have severe economic ramifications. Trials like in ENHANCE and SEAS will be discussed—not so much the trials themselves—but how findings in these trials were handled by physicians and the media.”