Medscape Conference Coverage, based on selected sessions at the:

American Heart Association (AHA) 2008 Scientific Sessions

November 08 - 12, 2008; New Orleans, Louisiana

This activity is not sanctioned by, nor a part of, the American Heart Association. Conference news does not receive grant support and is produced independently.

Featured Coverage

Video Highlights

  • Video Highlights From the AHA 2008 Scientific Sessions

    Important studies presented at the meeting include reports on the effects of statins on inflammation, studies showing no apparent benefit of exercise or RAS inhibition in heart failure, a randomized trial suggesting that getting LDL as low as possible with high-dose statins does not provide additional benefits over standard dose statins, and many more.

Conference News

  • AHA 2008: Remote ICD Monitoring Safely Cuts Clinic Visits

    There had previously been few prospective data to support the increasingly common strategy for following patients with the devices.
    Heartwire, November 24, 2008
  • Hormone Cream May Aid Menopausal Symptoms

    Custom-compounded plant-derived hormone cream may improve menopausal symptoms, including depression, anxiety, and pain, without increasing blood-clot formation, a small study suggests.
    Medscape Medical News, November 21, 2008
  • AHA 2008: VIA-2291 for ACS?

    A new anti-inflammatory compound, VIA-2291, has shown promise in a phase 2 trial in patients with acute coronary syndrome. The results provide sufficient basis to move forward with additional studies of the drug, says the lead investigator, but another expert disagrees.
    Heartwire, November 21, 2008
  • AHA 208: Gender-Matched Heart Transplants Lead to Better Survival

    Drawing on data from over 18,000 transplant recipients, researchers say their findings support a policy of matching donor hearts to recipients, "if all else is equal."
    Heartwire, November 21, 2008
  • AHA 2008:Dronedarone for AF May Cut Hospital Admissions Regardless of Cause

    In the large randomized trial that compared the drug with placebo, even patients who never achieved sinus rhythm on the drug had a reduced risk of hospitalization.
    Heartwire, November 19, 2008
  • AHA 2008: OCT Glimpses Stent Struts Post-AMI

    An OCT study conducted in a subset of HORIZONS-AMI patients suggests that exposed and malapposed stent struts in the setting of AMI are more common with drug-eluting stents than with bare-metal stents but still relatively rare.
    Heartwire, November 18, 2008
  • AHA 2008: Negative Thinking Predicts Depression in Heart-Failure Patients

    Negative thinking may play a major role in the development of depression in patients with heart failure, new research suggests.
    Medscape Medical News, November 17, 2008
  • Air-Pollution Vest Links Exposure to Cardiovascular Effects

    Researchers who fitted study subjects with "air-pollution vests" to continuously monitor exposure to both indoor and outdoor air pollutants say that people are probably exposed to much higher levels of pollutants than community monitoring stations typically indicate and that this exposure affects both endothelial function and systolic blood pressure.
    Heartwire, November 14, 2008
  • Rosiglitazone Fails to Slow Atherosclerosis in Diabetics With CV Disease

    The thiazolidinedione, given for 18 months, didn't appear to reverse or slow disease progression compared with the same duration of treatment with a sulfonylurea, according to the IVUS-based study. Investigators point to hints that that rosiglitazone may have slowed atherosclerosis in such patients with longer-established diabetes.
    Heartwire, November 14, 2008
  • AHA 2008: THINRS: Home INR Monitoring as Effective as Clinic-Based Care

    A randomized comparison shows weekly home monitoring is safe but did not reduce stroke, major bleeds, or death vs monthly clinic INR testing, as had been suggested by previous studies.
    Medscape Medical News, November 13, 2008
  • AHA 2008: Music, Like Laughter, Benefits Heart Health

    Listening to enjoyable music may be good for cardiovascular health in the same way that laughter is beneficial, new research suggests.
    Medscape Medical News, November 13, 2008
  • FIT-HEART Falls Short

    A new study in which the family members of patients hospitalized for cardiovascular disease were given CVD risk screening and lifestyle advice has shown that it is useful to take advantage of such "motivational moments." But the results could be improved upon, illustrating that it is difficult to change behavior in the "toxic environment" of the US, said the discussant. She stressed that better interventions--such as adopting the Mediterranean diet--are urgently needed.
    Heartwire, November 12, 2008
  • HF-ACTION Quality-of-Life

    Heart-failure patients participating in an exercise-training program improved their quality of life, with the improvement occurring early and sustained for three years, new HF-ACTION data show. Investigators say the results are consistent with the overall clinical findings and support the use of exercise training in this patient population.
    Heartwire, November 12, 2008
  • Patients Believe Elective PCI Prevents MI

    Two-thirds of patients surveyed after undergoing elective PCI for angina relief said they believed the procedure would save their lives; still more believed they'd avoid a future MI. Experts say patients may not be digesting information appropriately, but doctors are also at fault. Indeed, the majority of patients also said they were not offered any therapy other than PCI.
    Heartwire, November 12, 2008
  • Strike Three for RAAS Inhibition in Preserved-LVEF Heart Failure

    Four years of treatment with irbesartan, usually on top of other drugs that affect the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, didn't improve outcomes in patients with the common but poorly understood form of heart failure. The trial follows previous negative studies of an ACE inhibitor and a different angiotensin-receptor blocker, respectively, in similar populations.
    Heartwire, November 12, 2008
  • B Blockers in Noncardiac Surgery

    The use of beta blockers perioperatively to prevent cardiovascular events in patients undergoing noncardiac surgery is not justified by current evidence, according to the authors of a new meta-analysis. An update to the guidelines on this issue is under way, says one member of the writing committee, who incidentally does not agree with this overall conclusion.
    Heartwire, November 12, 2008
  • IFNB-1b for CVC?

    A phase 2 trial has shown that interferon beta-1b–-a drug currently used to treat multiple sclerosis–-may be effective in chronic viral cardiomyopathy. But a phase 3 trial is needed for definitive proof of concept, say the study investigators and discussant.
    Heartwire, November 11, 2008
  • BACH

    A novel biomarker of vascular status is a better predictor of mortality at three months than brain natriuretic peptide among acute heart-failure patients presenting at the emergency department with shortness of breath. One expert, however, said it doesn't matter if the high-risk patients are separated from very high-risk patients--they should all be receiving optimal medical therapy.
    Heartwire, November 11, 2008
  • Intensive Exercise Warranted in HF Patients

    Investigators failed to show a difference in the primary end point of all-cause mortality and all-cause hospitalizations, but a secondary analysis that took into account prognostic factors did show significant reductions in hard clinical events. One expert believes it should strengthen exercise guidelines.
    Heartwire, November 11, 2008
  • AHA 2008: Hibiscus Tea Reduces Blood Pressure

    Results of a small randomized trial show that hibiscus tea given 3 times daily reduced systolic blood pressure by about 7 mm Hg in prehypertensive and mildly hypertensive subjects.
    Medscape Medical News, November 11, 2008
  • Diabetics and Drug-Eluting Stents

    The results highlight the preserved efficacy of drug-eluting stents observed in other randomized trials and also point to no increased safety concerns in long-term follow-up. Investigators say drug-eluting stents should be favored over bare-metal stents on a patient-by-patient basis, with their ability to take dual antiplatelet therapy the primary caveat.
    Heartwire, November 10, 2008
  • iPod Headphones Can Cause Device Interference

    Investigators say that as long as patients keep their headphones on their ears and out of their breast pockets, there is no chance of causing damage to their devices that could have clinical repercussions.
    Heartwire, November 10, 2008
  • Testing for Clopidogrel Response, Then Tailoring Dose Reduces Events

    Investigators who adjusted clopidogrel dose on the basis of VASP index found they could reduce risk of stent thrombosis as well as MACE at 30 days.
    Heartwire, November 10, 2008
  • Rivaroxaban Promising in ACS

    A phase 2 trial has demonstrated the feasibility of the novel oral factor Xa inhibitor rivaroxaban in patients with acute coronary syndromes already treated with aspirin and clopidogrel. A phase 3 study with the drug, beginning next month, will reveal whether the benefits outweigh the bleeding risks.
    Heartwire, November 10, 2008
  • Flu Shot Linked to Reduced Risk of VTE

    The link between influenza vaccination and reduced pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis was particularly marked in younger subjects, researchers say.
    Heartwire, November 9, 2008
  • JUPITER Follow-Up

    Some back-of-the-envelope analyses suggest that the public-health implications of using statins in primary prevention, especially among individuals considered "healthy" by conventional definitions, is weighing heavily on the minds of some cardiologists. Heartwire spoke with many experts to get their take on the new JUPITER data.
    Heartwire, November 9, 2008
  • Null Findings From SEARCH

    The SEARCH trial showed no effect on major vascular events with either an intensive 80-mg dose of simvastatin compared with a 20-mg dose or with homocysteine lowering using folic acid and vitamin B12. But the statin data fit with other trials in the field, showing a "clear picture" emerging when it comes to the more-vs-less data on statins, say the UK investigators.
    Heartwire, November 9, 2008
  • Eyes Trained on JUPITER

    Full results from the JUPITER trial will be released during the opening late-breaking clinical-trials session at the American Heart Association 2008 Scientific Sessions.
    Heartwire, November 5, 2008

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