Hybrid ACC.22 Resurrects the Live Scientific Session

March 28, 2022

Regardless of the pandemic's sometimes mercurial behavior, the cardiology community appears set to reclaim valued traditions perhaps taken for granted in the pre-COVID era.

They include the bustling scientific congress and its myriad educational and networking prospects, along with pleiotropic effects like unplanned reunions with colleagues and catching up face-to-face with old friends.

That seems evident in the growing number of registrants for live attendance at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) 2022 Scientific Session, set for this Saturday through Monday in Washington DC as well as virtually, for a global reach that was unattainable in the pre-COVID era.

Registrations had hit the 11,000 mark and were picking up speed in recent weeks, ACC.22 co-chair Pamela B. Morris, MD, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, said at a mid-March presentation to the media.

They had reached about 12,880 and were still climbing a week before the conference, the ACC confirmed to theheart.org | Medscape Cardiology. By then the professional registration had surpassed 9,900, of whom more than two thirds reported plans to attend in person.

Morris said there had been 117 international submissions for what turned out to be 39 coveted spots on the meeting's Late-Breaking Clinical Trial (LBCT) and Featured Clinical Research agenda spread across eight separate sessions.

On-site participants at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center should head for the Main Tent in Hall D for all LBCT presentations; venues for the Featured Clinical Research sessions are as noted below. Their real-time virtual equivalents will reside on the online platform's Hot Topics channel. All noted session times are Eastern Daylight Time.

Saturday, April 2, 9:30–10:30 a.m. Joint American College of Cardiology/Journal of the American College of Cardiology LBCT (I)

Leading off the conference's first LBCT session, the randomized VALOR-HCM trial explored whether 16 weeks of mavacamten (MyoKardia) could help patients with severe obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) avoid septal reduction therapy, either surgical or by alcohol ablation.

The 22-center VALOR-HCM trial with an estimated enrollment of 100 follows EXPLORER-HCM, which in 2020 suggested the novel myosin-inhibiting agent could improve symptoms, exercise capacity, cardiac remodeling, and quality of life in such patients.

Simply advising people with heart failure (HF) to consume less salt is one thing, but it's another to show them clinical trial evidence that it might help keep them out of the hospital. The SODIUM-HF (Study of Dietary Intervention Under 100 mmol in Heart Failure) study, conducted at 27 sites in six countries, sought to provide that evidence.

The trial randomly assigned 1000 patients with NYHA class 2-3 HF to consume no more than 1500 mg/day in sodium or to receive standard advice to limit sodium intake, and followed them for a year for the endpoint of death from any cause, cardiovascular (CV) hospitalization, or CV emergency department visit.

SODIUM-HF "may provide a rigorous evidence base for sodium restriction in patients with heart failure and may truly change our practice and how we recommend dietary modification," ACC-22 vice chair Douglas E. Drachman, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, said at the media presentation.

In the same session, the CHAP (Chronic Hypertension and Pregnancy) study explored whether blood pressure (BP) control in pregnant women with new or untreated chronic hypertension could help avert preeclampsia, poor fetal outcomes, and other adverse events.

CHAP assigned about 2400 women to receive either stepwise antihypertensive therapy to a BP goal of 140/90 mm Hg or lower or no such meds unless their BP reached or exceeded 160/105 mm Hg. Stepwise therapy featured either labetalol or extended-release nifedipine to start, the other agent added as necessary.

The LBCT block also includes the POISE-3 (Perioperative Ischemic Evaluation-3) comparison of the hemostatic agent tranexamic acid vs placebo in nearly 10,000 patients undergoing noncardiac surgery. A separate randomization of the same cohort, to be reported at a Monday LBCT session, compared pre- and perioperative BP-control strategies.

Saturday, April 2, 12:00–1:15 p.m. Featured Clinical Research I. Room 143A

This session features a subgroup analysis by age from the REVERSE-IT trial, which had previously showcased the monoclonal antibody bentracimab (PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals) for its ability to reverse the antiplatelet effects of ticagrelor.

REVERSE-IT is accompanied on the schedule by several secondary-endpoint presentations from trials whose primary outcomes have already been presented at meetings or in the journals.

They include the SCORED trial of sotagliflozin in patients with diabetes and chronic kidney disease (CKD); COMPLETE, which explored complete revascularization of multivessel coronary disease at primary stenting; and the FAME-3 comparison of coronary bypass surgery (CABG) vs percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) guided by fractional flow reserve (FFR) readings.

The session is to conclude with EDIT-CMD, which was a small, randomized assessment of diltiazem for improving microvascular dysfunction in patients with chronic angina despite nonobstructive coronary disease.

Sunday, April 3, 8:00–9:15 a.m. Joint American College of Cardiology/Journal of the American Medical Association LBCT (II)

The SuperWIN (Supermarket Web Intervention) study tested an innovative strategy for community-based promotion of healthy lifestyle choices: point-of-purchase dietary education for grocery shoppers with an online instructional component, and follow-up to determine whether it influenced future food choices.

"Dietary interventions are notoriously difficult for us to implement, let alone to study scientifically," Drachman observed. "So we think that there may be opportunity for dietary interventions to be best implemented at grocery stores where people are doing their shopping for food."

SuperWIN compared supermarket shoppers with at least one CV risk factor who participated in the education intervention to a nonintervention control group for any changes in their DASH scores. The scores reflected consistency with the venerable DASH diet based on participants' food purchases over 3 months.

In the same session, the MITIGATE trial explored whether daily administration of icosapent ethyl (Vascepa) might cut the risk of upper respiratory infection (especially from SARS-CoV-2 or seasonal influenza virus) in persons 50 or older with a history of clinical coronary, neurovascular, or peripheral vascular disease or revascularization. The trial has an estimated enrollment of 39,600.

Accompanying SuperWIN and MITIGATE are studies of several dyslipidemia drugs, including the discontinued antisense agent vupanorsen (Pfizer), as tested in TRANSLATE-TIMI 70;  the PCSK9 inhibitor alirocumab (Praluent), explored for its effects on coronary plaque volume and composition in the PACMAN-AMI trial; and the APOLLO trial, a phase-I evaluation of SLN360 (Silence Therapeutics), a short interfering ribonucleic acid (siRNA) that suppresses the molecular machinery in the liver that produces lipoprotein(a), or Lp(a).

The 32-patient APOLLO trial's recently released top-line results suggested that SLN360 at varying dosages reduced Lp(a) levels by about one half to more than 90%. Although elevated Lp(a) is known to track with CV risk, it remains to be shown whether dropping Lp(a) levels pharmacologically is protective.

Sunday, April 3, 9:45–11:00 a.m. Joint American College of Cardiology/New England Journal of Medicine LBCT (III)

The meeting's all-HF late breaker session includes the METEORIC-HF trial, which compared the myotropic agent omecamtiv mecarbil (Cytokinetics) against placebo for effects on exercise performance over 20 weeks. The trial entered 276 patients with HF with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) and reduced peak VO2.

The GALACTIC-HF trial had previously suggested that the drug improved the risk of HF-related events or CV death in more than 8000 patients with HFrEF, those with the lowest ejection fractions benefiting the most.

This block of trials also features DIAMOND, the latest trial with a gemologic name to look at the potassium sequestrant patiromer (Veltassa) for any protection against hyperkalemia, a familiar side effect of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone inhibitors. DIAMOND tested patiromer in 878 patients with HFrEF who were on beta-blockers and other HF-appropriate medications and had a history of drug-associated hyperkalemia.

Previously, the AMBER trial of patients with CKD or refractory hypertension on spironolactone had suggested the drug might be protective enough against hyperkalemia to allow higher and more consistent dosing of BP-lowering agents.

Also in the session: the randomized IVVE (Influenza Vaccine To Prevent Adverse Vascular Events) trial, with an estimated 5000 patients with HF in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East; PROMPT-HF, with a projected 1310 HF patients and billed as a cluster-randomized pragmatic trial of a strategy for improving guideline-directed outpatient medical therapy; and MAVA-LTE, the long-term extension study of an estimated 310 patients who were in the MAVERICK-HCM and EXPLORER-HCM mavacamten trials.

Sunday, April 3, 12:15–1:30 p.m. Featured Clinical Research II. Main Tent, Hall D

The arrhythmia-centric session includes PARTITA, with its estimated 590 patients with primary- or secondary-prevention implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs). The trial followed them initially for burden of untreated nonsustained ventricular tachycardia (VT) or events treated with anti-tachycardia pacing. Then it randomly assigned those who experienced a first appropriate ICD shock to either immediate VT ablation or standard care. The latter included ablation on next occurrence of arrhythmic storm.

Investigational oral factor XIa inhibitors, viewed by many as potentially safer as anticoagulants than contemporary oral inhibitors of factor Xa, are now on the scene and include milvexian (Bristol-Myers Squibb/Janssen) and, lately, asundexian (BAY 2433334; Bayer). The latter agent was compared to the factor Xa inhibitor apixaban (Eliquis) in 753 patients with AF in the phase-2 PACIFIC-AF trial, which looked at the newer drug's safety and optimal dosing.

Also on the bill: a long-term follow-up of the mAFA-2 (Mobile AF Application 2) extension study, which explored the value a smartphone-based atrial fibrillation (AF) screening app for improving risk of AF-related events; a presentation billed as "Residual Leaks Post Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion"; and one that declares "low rates of guideline-directed care" to be "associated with higher mortality" in patients with pacemakers or ICDs.

Monday, April 4, 8:30–9:45 a.m. LBCT IV

This session is to open with the PROTECT trial, which sought to determine whether perioperative "aggressive warming" may be cardioprotective in patients with CV risk factors undergoing noncardiac surgery. Its estimated 5100 patients were randomly assigned to a procedure that achieves normothermia, that is 37 °C (98.6 °F), vs standard care in which patients' core temperature is may decline to no further than 35.5 °C (95.9 °F).    

Next on the list are a second POISE-3 comparison of BP-control strategies comparing hypotension-avoidance vs hypertension-avoidance in patients undergoing noncardiac surgery; the pivotal CLASP 2 TR trial of patients with symptomatic tricuspid regurgitation on optimal medical therapy with vs without treatment with the Edwards PASCAL Transcatheter Repair System; and one said to provide "insights from the Corevalve US Pivotal and SURTAVI trials" on 5-year incidence, timing, and predictors of hemodynamic valve deterioration transcatheter and surgical aortic bioprostheses."

Rounding out the block of presentations: the ADAPT-TAVR comparison of the factor Xa inhibitor edoxaban (Lixiana) to dual-antiplatelet therapy for prevention of leaflet thrombosis after successful transcatheter aortic-valve replacement (TAVR). The 235-patient trial was conducted at five centers in South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

Monday, April 4, 11:00–12:15 p.m. LBCT V

This session includes the FLAVOUR randomized comparison of PCI guided by either FFR or intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) in 1700 patients with 40%-to-70% stenoses. The patients from centers in China and South Korea were followed for death from any cause, MI, or any repeat revascularization at 24 months.

Also scheduled: the 2-year report on 4000 patients with ST-segment elevation MI (STEMI) in the ACC-sponsored quality improvement program GHATI (Global Heart Attack Treatment Initiative); the GIPS-4 myocardial protection study of an estimated 380 patients with STEMI assigned to receive pre- and post-PCI infusions of sodium thiosulfate or placebo, with infarct size at 4 months as the primary endpoint; and a randomized test of an arrhythmia-monitoring implant for influence on clinical outcomes in 802 patients with a history of MI but no pacemaker or ICD indication, called BIO-GUARD-MI,

Last in the session: the Chocolate Touch Study of peripheral-artery angioplasty using a drug-coated balloon (DCB) with a confectionery name that treats lesions not with theobromine, but the antiproliferative mainstay paclitaxel.

The randomized comparison of the Chocolate Touch DCB (TriReme Medical) and the more established Lutonix DCB (Bard) assigned a projected 585 patients with symptomatic peripheral vascular disease to treatment of superficial femoral or popliteal artery lesions with one of the two paclitaxel-coated balloon catheters.

Monday, April 4, 12:45–2 p.m. Featured Clinical Research III. Room 143A 

The final session features five subgroup analyses or other updates from trials that have already reported their primary outcomes. Among them is the SPYRAL HTN-ON MED trial, which helped to revitalize hopes for renal denervation therapy as a catheter-based treatment for drug-resistant hypertension by showing significant effects on both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The new data follow the trial's more than 400 patients out to 3 years.

There is also a symptom and quality-of-life analysis from the 530-patient EMPULSE trial of 530 patients with stabilized acute HF assigned in-hospital to start on empagliflozin (Jardiance) or placebo. The trial made a splash last year when it reported a significant improvement in risk for death or HF rehospitalization for its patients put on the SGLT2 inhibitor.

A secondary analysis from CANTOS is also featured; the trial had randomly assigned more than 10,000 patients with recent acute MI and elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) levels to receive or not receive the anti-inflammatory canakinumab (Ilaris). Those assigned to active therapy showed benefits for a range of outcomes, including CV mortality and stroke, but no decreases in cholesterol levels. Billing for the new CANTOS analysis promises insights on the "differential impact of residual inflammatory risk and residual cholesterol risk among atherosclerosis patients with and without chronic kidney disease."

The session also features "trends and final results" from the NACMI (North American COVID-19 Myocardial Infarction) registry, which had shown excellent primary-PCI results without compromise of door-to-balloon times in patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection; and a FIDELITY analysis of cardiorenal endpoints by history of CV disease in the study's more than 13,000 patients with diabetes and CKD assigned to placebo or finerenone (Kerendia), a mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist.

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