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Greetings From AHA

Hello. This is Ileana Piña and this is my blog for this month.

I am sitting here in Dallas at the 2013 sessions of the American Heart Association, and I can tell my viewers that there is something different in the environment. There is a sort of energy that I have not felt at this meeting for several years, and I haven't been able to put my finger on why.

The opening ceremonies yesterday were really exciting. Mark Josephson received the mentoring award, which is such an important award. He said it is the most important award because rather than touching 1 person, he has touched thousands of us, including me. When I was a resident trying to learn how to read EKGs, I went to Mark Josephson's session at the American College of Physicians because he actually had a workshop on reading EKGs, and I have known Mark for many years. A very well-deserved award, and I congratulate Mark on behalf of Medscape and theheart.org.

Dr. Jessup, who is the current President of the American Heart Association, gave an incredible talk about heart failure -- my favorite subject -- and looking back at the scary side of heart failure, because we do have an epidemic. She beautifully reviewed where we have been all of these years and how we build on that; however, the epidemic is here, and we must tackle it and we must move forward. And we must find better ways to treat the population of heart failure, particularly patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF).

You have also heard me talk about the HFpEF patients, as they are now called in the new guidelines -- a group of patients that is rapidly growing in my own institution of Montefiore. They make up between 40% and 50% of all admissions for heart failure. The patients are often misclassified as maybe having lung issues; maybe this is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or maybe it is asthma because you look at the echocardiogram and the ejection fraction is 60% or even 70%, but the patient's symptoms are in fact symptoms of heart failure.

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