American College of Cardiology
American College of Cardiology
March 14, 2019
4 min read

ACC chair: New Orleans meeting to focus on ‘transforming’ CV care

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Andrew Kates
Andrew Kates

The upcoming American College of Cardiology Scientific Session will span important topics in the field of cardiology, featuring presentations on atrial fibrillation, updates in HF and even physician burnout, according to a web briefing held by the ACC.

The 3-day meeting will take place March 16 to 18 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Attendees can anticipate more than 370 educational sessions with more than 1,500 faculty members.

“Much like our host city, ACC.19 also stands out for its vibrancy, its innovation and unique opportunities for cardiovascular professionals from around the world to come together to share and unite a goal of transforming cardiovascular care and improving heart health,” program chair Andrew Kates, MD, FACC, cardiology fellowship program director and professor of medicine at Washington University in St. Louis, said during the briefing.

Sessions and keynotes

The meeting will feature seven keynote presentations this year, including the Simon Dack keynote lecture on Saturday, which will be given by Roberto Canessa, MD, a pediatric cardiologist from Uruguay and one of the members of the national rugby team who survived a plane crash in the Andes Mountains in 1972.

“Importantly, Dr. Canessa’s experience there helped shape his perspective on life, on how he takes care of patients and how he approaches life,” Kates said. “This dovetails well with the focus that we have on clinician well-being and also work-life balance.”

Tait D. Shanafelt, MD, professor of medicine and medical education and director of the Physician Well-Being Program at Mayo Clinic, will highlight physician burnout and engagement during the 50th Annual Louis F. Bishop keynote lecture; Lynne Warner Stevenson, MD, FACC, professor of medicine and program director of the advanced heart failure fellowship program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, will give a seminal talk on her outlook for HF over the next decade; and Cardiology Today Editorial Board Member C. Noel Bairey Merz, MD, FACC, FAHA, FESC, director of the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai Smidt Heart Institute, will target global prevention of CVD, among other keynotes.

Also on Saturday a panel discussion will focus on digital disruption and its effects on both clinicians and patients. The moderator of this panel is John Rumsfeld, MD, FACC, chief innovation officer of the ACC, and other panel members include clinicians and industry experts from the FDA, Yale University School of Medicine, Johnson & Johnson, Apple, Amazon and the Duke Clinical Research Institute.

Pamela Morris
Pamela Morris

“[These experts] will provide their perspectives on the role of digital technologies ... in preventing, managing and treating heart disease,” Kates said.

For the second year, the meeting will have a Future Hub, which includes latest innovations in medical devices, digital health and big data, according to the briefing. The Lounge and Learn Pavilion will also be set up for discussions focused on women in cardiology, fellows in training and early careers.

“It allows people to come together and have a sense of community and be together as one,” Kates said. “It has done a wonderful job in allowing a focused area for our attendees to gather.”

Late-breaking clinical trials

This year’s meeting will feature 3,143 abstracts for oral presentations and poster presentations, 21 late-breaking clinical trials and 15 featured clinical research trials.

One of the many late-breaking clinical trials that have the potential to change clinical practice is the Apple Heart Study, which will be presented on Saturday. Researchers compared the detection of AF with an Apple Watch vs. an ECG to determine how it affects health care utilization

“If this study shows that there’s good accuracy in detection of AF, then [this] could encourage patients to get medical attention early and begin therapy before they had a catastrophic event,” Pamela Morris, MD, FACC, director of the Seinsheimer Cardiovascular Health Program, co-director of the Women’s Heart Care Program and professor of medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston and vice chair of the meeting, said during the briefing. “On the other hand, if the devices don’t accurately detect the rhythm and possibly create artifacts, then it could result in unnecessary concern on the part of consumers and unnecessary health care visits or diagnostic testing.”

On Sunday, data from the PARTNER 3 and TAVR/SAVR in Patients with Low Risk of Surgical Mortality trials will be presented, both of which assessed the risks and benefits of a transcatheter vs. surgical approach in patients with aortic stenosis. Patients in the PARTNER 3 trial received a balloon-expandable valve, whereas patients in the TAVR/SAVR trial received a self-expanding valve.

“These trials will give us meaningful insight into the relative value of the transcatheter vs. the surgical approaches, particularly in younger patients who might be good candidates for conventional surgery,” Morris said.

The CLEAR Wisdom trial, which will be presented on Monday, focused on the safety and efficacy of bempedoic acid in addition to statin therapy in patients with hypercholesterolemia and high CV risk.


“In view of the expense of the newer injectable PCSK9 inhibitors, there is a gap in affordable oral agents that can help to further lower LDL cholesterol in high-risk patients,” Morris said. “If this medication does prove in the CLEAR Wisdom trial to be both safe and effective, then there will certainly be a need in the future for cardiovascular outcomes trials with this agent.”

Other trials presented throughout the meeting that have the potential to change clinical practice include the following:

AUGUSTUS, a trial assessing treatment with apixaban (Eliquis, Bristol-Myers Squibb) with or without aspirin, a vitamin K antagonist with or without aspirin, or placebo in patients with ACS and AF or PCI.

DECLARE, an assessment of the impact of dapagliflozin (Farxiga, AstraZeneca) on HF and mortality in patients with diabetes.

More data from REDUCE-IT, an assessment of total ischemic events in patients with icosapent ethyl (Vascepa, Amarin).

INFINITY, which analyzed functional decline in older patients who received intensive ambulatory BP lowering vs. standard ambulatory BP lowering.

PANACHE, a look at the safety and efficacy of a partial adenosine A1 receptor agonist for treatment of HF with preserved ejection fraction.

ALCOHOL-AF, a trial of alcohol abstinence in patients with AF.

A first-in-human randomized trial of a ticagrelor reversal agent.

CODIACS-QoL assessed the effect of depression screening after ACS on cost-effectiveness and quality of life.

Moreover, a new guideline on the primary prevention of CVD will be presented Sunday.

“The primary prevention guideline represents a consolidated source for a clear and evidence-based approach to prevention of cardiovascular disease,” Morris said.

The Healio, Cardiology Today and Cardiology Today’s Intervention team will provide live coverage from the ACC Scientific Session, including video interviews and much more. Follow breaking news from the meeting here and on Twitter by following @CardiologyToday. For more information on the ACC Scientific Session agenda and registration, visit – by Darlene Dobkowski