There is no medicine like hope.

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Justine Cadet, News Editor

American writer Orison Swett Marden, who also held a degree in medicine, may have spoken with such blind idealism due to the lack of evidence-based medicine at the turn of the last century. This year’s American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions may provide even more clinical support for decision-making in the cardiovascular care cycle.

AHA Program Chair Dr. Gordon F. Tomaselli reviewed this year’s plethora of sessions and foci for Cardiovascular Business News, particularly highlighting the much-anticipated late breaking clinical trials, which should serve to inform the management of many cardiovascular diseases.

In particular, on Sunday, researchers will report on findings from the JUPITER trial, which evaluated Crestor as a means of primary prevention against developing cardiovascular disease, compared to placebo. Interestingly, the investigators looked to C-reactive protein levels, instead of lipid levels, as an endpoint.

In the interim of the next few days, several studies have emerged that may also serve to cardiovascular medicine. A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that over the past decade, the rates of cardiogenic shock developing during hospitalization and in-hospital mortality has decreased among patients with acute coronary syndrome, which the authors partly attributed to increased PCI rates.

Another interesting study appeared in JAMA, revealing that while the overall risk of sudden cardiac death following MI has declined significantly in the past 30 years, there is an increased risk for the first month after having an MI, reinforcing the necessity of a one-month follow-up with MI patients. The researchers also noted that the risk after 30 days decreases unless patients develop heart failure.

Finally, a U.K. study has found that incentives could lead to better care, even across socioeconomic lines. According to the BMJ researchers, pay-for-performance has substantially improved blood pressure monitoring and control in England, and the difference in monitoring levels between the most and least deprived areas has all but disappeared.

These studies, along with those that will emerge from the 2008 AHA sessions, will hopefully give us certainty, in addition to hope, about the state of today’s cardiovascular medicine.

On these topics, or any others, feel free to contact me.

Justine Cadet, News Editor