Science News for Scientific Sessions 2020

#AHA20 Science News coverage brings you results and insights into this year's Tier 1 late-breaking cardiovascular science trials presented at Scientific Sessions 2020. Find at-a-glance data summaries, exclusive interviews, simultaneous publications, and more – all in one place.

Jump to one day's coverage: Friday  |  Saturday  |  Sunday |  Monday  | Tuesday 

Quick Reference:
In Circulation: Scientific Sessions 2020 Abstracts | Resuscitation Science Symposium 2020 Abstracts
  #AHA20 Digital Newspaper | AHA News (Consumer) Stories
AHA Journals Simultaneous Publications

#AHA20 Late-Breaking Science Preview

Mitch Elkind, MD, MPH, President of the American Heart Association, and Don Lloyd-Jones, MD, ScM provide a preview of the late-breaking science on the program for Scientific Sessions 2020, during AHA's first fully virtual five-day learning experience. 

Friday's selected science


John R. Teerlink, FACC, FAHA, FESC, FHFA, FHFSA, FRCP Omecamtiv Mecarbil In Chronic Heart Failure With Reduced Ejection Fraction: The Global Approach To Lowering Adverse Cardiac Outcomes Through Improving Contractility In Heart Failure Trial
John R Teerlink | San Francisco VAMC UCSF, San Francisco, CA
RESULTS: In patients with HFrEF, omecamtiv mercarbil reduced the risk of first heart failure event or cardiovascular death. Selectively targeting the cardiac sarcomere with this first-in-class myotrope is a novel approach to improving cardiac function.
Published in NEJM: Cardiac Myosin Activation with Omecamtiv Mecarbil in Systolic Heart Failure (new window)


Investigator John Teerlink, MD, FAHA summarizes the results of GALACTIC-HF, which found that improving cardiac function with omecamtiv mecarbil significantly reduced the risk of a first heart failure event or cardiac death in patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF).

GALACTIC-HF Data Summary (PDF) 

ClinicalTrials ID: NCT02929329 (new window)


GALACTIC-HF Commentary

Biykem Bozkurt, MD, PhD, FAHA provides commentary on the results of GALACTIC-HF, presented virtually at Scientific Sessions 2020.


Christine_Albert, MD, MPH Omega-3 Fatty Acid And Vitamin D Supplementation In The Primary Prevention Of Atrial Fibrillation
Christine M Albert | Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA
RESULTS: For primary prevention of atrial fibrillation, neither omega-3 fatty acid nor vitamin D lowered the risk of AFib in patients studied over 5+ years of treatment and follow-up. 

VITAL-Rhythm Results

Principal investigator Christine M. Albert, MD summarizes the results of the VITAL-Rhythm trial, which found no benefit in Vitamin D or Omega 3 fatty acids supplementation for the primary prevention of atrial fibrillation.

VITAL-Rhythm Data Summary (PDF)

ClinicalTrials ID: NCT02178410 (new window)


A Polypill For Primary Prevention Of Cardiovascular Disease In Intermediate Risk People: Results Of The International Polycap Study
Prem Pais | St. John's Research Institute, Bangalore, India
RESULTS: In a 4+ year study involving patients with intermediate CVD risk, polypill reduced CVD 21%. Polypill + aspirin reduced CVD 31%. Benefits are likely larger in adherent patients.
Published in NEJM: Polypill with or without Aspirin in Persons without Cardiovascular Disease (new window)

TIPS 3 Results

Principal investigator Prem Pais, MD summarizes the results of TIPS-3, which tested the use of a polypill for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.

TIPS 3 and TIPS + ASA Data Summary (PDF)

ClinicalTrials ID: NCT01646437 (new window)


Aspirin Alone And In Combination With A Polypill In Cardiovascular Disease Primary Prevention: Results From The International Polycap Study (TIPS)-3
Salim Yusuf | Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada
RESULTS: In a 4+ year study involving patients with intermediate CVD risk, polypill reduced CVD 21%. Polypill + aspirin reduced CVD 31%. Benefits are likely larger in adherent patients.
Published in NEJM: Polypill with or without Aspirin in Persons without Cardiovascular Disease (new window)

TIPS + ASA Results

Principal investigator Salim Yusuf, MBBS, Dphil summarizes the results of TIPS-3 ASA, which tested the use of a polypill plus aspirin for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and death.

TIPS 3 and TIPS + ASA Data Summary (PDF)

ClinicalTrials ID: NCT01646437 (new window)

Day One Recap

Mitch Elkind, Don Lloyd-Jones, Biykem Bozkurt, and Manesh Patel provide a day one recap of Scientific Sessions 2020 late-breaking science.

See the abstracts here:

Saturday's selected science


Structural Racism as a Public Health Crisis

Don Lloyd-Jones, MD, ScM, Michelle Albert, MD, MPH, and Lisa Cooper, MD, MPH discuss the impact of structural racism on public health, a crisis further aggravated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

See the Presidential Advisory plus helpful links and related science ; Call to Action: Structural Racism as a Fundamental Driver of Health Disparities

AHA Press Release: Structural racism causes poor health, premature death from heart disease and stroke

Solutions to Structural Racism

Michelle Albert, MD, MPH and Keith Churchwell, MD review some of the solutions discussed during Saturday’s session on Structural Racism as a Public Health Crisis and in the recent Presidential Advisory.

As champions for health equity, by 2024, the American Heart Association will advance cardiovascular health for all, including identifying and removing barriers to health care access and quality.

#AHA20 Presidential Address

AHA President Mitchell S. V. Elkind, MD, MS, FAAN, FAHA, delivered the annual Presidential Address stressing the theme of building bridges – across disciplines, to more people and places than before.

Among the biggest public health crises faced in this country and others is health inequality. The cracks in health infrastructure were made all too obvious when coronavirus began to spread around the world earlier this year.

"The disparities and inequities made manifest by the virus were clear before the crisis struck," Dr. Elkind said in his address. "The AHA has long worked to address the social determinants of health – because your ZIP code shouldn’t determine how long or how well you live. The health of the least fortunate has implications for all of society. Issues that previously seemed unrelated to health care and medical science are now increasingly recognized as crucial bridges to our success: quality education, workplace health and safety, affordable and safe housing, air quality, and more."

Read more about Dr. Elkind's address.

Also published Saturday

Coronary Optical Coherence Tomography and Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging to Determine Underlying Causes of MINOCA in Women
Harmony R. Reynolds, et al. | Circulation, November 14, 2020

Glucose Metabolism in the Kidney: Neurohormonal Activation and Heart Failure Development
Edoardo Gronda, et al. | JAHA, November 14, 2020

Associations Between Physical Activity and Incident Hypertension Across Strata of Body Mass Index: A Prospective Investigation in a Large Cohort of French Women
Conor‐James MacDonald, et al. | JAHA, November 14, 2020

Resuscitation Science Symposium Press Releases

Resuscitation Science Symposium is held simultaneously with Scientific Sessions 2020. This year, registrants can attend both conferences for one low price! Here are some of the news releases starting to come out of #ReSS20. (For all non late-breaking resuscitation science abstracts, see the special supplement in Circulation.)

Serious disparities in care and outcomes found among Black and non-white heart patients

Extra precautions during CPR due to the pandemic do not have a negative impact on survival

Acute exposure to higher ozone levels linked to higher risk of cardiac arrest

New medication to treat shock caused by blood or fluid loss found safe and effective

Day Two Recap

Mitch Elkind, Don Lloyd-Jones, Manesh Patel, and Michelle Albert provide a daily recap of day two events for Scientific Sessions 2020.

Sunday's selected science



Cardiovascular Outcomes With Omega-3 Carboxylic Acids (Epanova) In Patients With High Vascular Risk And Atherogenic Dyslipidemia
A Lincoff | Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
RESULTS: Use of omega-3 carboxylic acid (Epanova) 4 g daily vs. corn oil placebo did not reduce major adverse CV events in patients with high vascular risk and atherogenic dyslipidemia - despite a 269% increase in plasma EPA levels.

STRENGTH Data Summary (PDF)


Principal investigator A. Michael Lincoff, MD summarizes the results of the STRENGTH Trial.

Clinical Trials ID: NCT02104817 (opens in new window)


Effects Of N-3 Fatty Acid Supplements On Clinical Outcome After Myocardial Infarction In The Elderly
Are Annesoenn A Kalstad | Oslo University Hospital, Ullevaal, Oslo, Norway
RESULTS: Daily supplementation with 1.8 g EPA/DHA for two years in elderly patients with a recent AMI did not reduce incidence of CV events or all-cause mortality.

OMEMI Data summary (PDF)
Published in Circulation: Effects of n-3 Fatty Acid Supplements in Elderly Patients after Myocardial Infarction: A Randomized Controlled Trial

OMEMI Results

Principal investigator Are Kalstad, MD summarizes the results of the OMEMI trial, which looked at the effects of supplementation with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in an elderly population after acute myocardial infarction.

Clinical Trials ID: NCT01841944


A Three-arm N-of-1 Trial With Statin, Placebo And Tablet Free Periods, To Verify Side Effects And Identify Their Cause
James Philip Howard | Imperial College of London, London, United Kingdom
RESULTS: Patients get side effects from statin tablets, but 90% of the side-effect burden is also seen with placebo tablets. Statin tablet side effects occur mainly from taking tablets, not what’s in them.


SAMSON Results

Investigator James Howard, MB, PhD summarizes the results of the SAMSON trial. The trial’s innovative study design sought to identify the root cause of the symptoms contributing to patient nonadherence to statin therapy.

Clinical Trials ID: NCT02668016 (new window)

Monday's selected science


Fidelio DKD

Finerenone And Cardiovascular Outcomes In Patients With Chronic Kidney Disease And Type 2 Diabetes
Gerasimos Filippatos | National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece
RESULTS: (released after presentation)
Fidelio DKD Data Summary (PDF) (released after presentation)
Published in Circulation: (released after presentation)

Fidelio Results

Investigator Gerasimos Filippatos, MD summarizes the results of FIDELIO-DKD, examined whether finerenone affected CV outcomes in patients with chronic kidney disease and T2DM.

Clinical Trials ID: NCT02540993 (new window)


Ticagrelor Added To Aspirin In Acute Ischemic Stroke Or TIA Of Atherosclerotic Origin
Pierre Amarenco | Paris University, Paris, France
RESULTS: Targeting patients with atherosclerotic stenosis for dual therapy with ticagrelor and aspirin could yield a clinically meaningful relative and absolute risk reduction of stroke and death as compared to aspirin alone.
THALES Data Summary (PDF)
Clinical Trials ID: NCT03354429 (new window)

VIDEO: Watch Investigator Amarenco discuss the study results in this brief video.


Sotagliflozin in Diabetes Patients with Recent Worsening Heart Failure
Deepak Bhatt, MD | Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA
RESULTS: SOLOIST-WHF showed sotagliflozin to be safe and effective for reducing CV deaths and hospitalizations in patients with diabetes and worsening HF.
Clinical Trials ID: NCT03521934 (new window)


Sotagliflozin in Patients with Diabetes and Chronic Kidney Disease
Deepak Bhatt, MD | Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA
RESULTS: The SCORED study showed similar reductions in patients with diabetes and CKD as well as a decrease in ischemic events, including myocardial infarctions and stroke. SGLT2 inhibitors should be considered in patients with diabetes, including those with HF and CKD.
SCORED Data Summary (PDF)
Clinical Trials ID: NCT03315143 (new window)

VIDEO: Dr. Bhatt discusses the role of sotagliflozin in both the SCORED and SOLOIST-WHF trials.

Tuesday's selected science



High Dose versus Standard Dose Influenza Vaccine in Patients With High Risk Cardiovascular Disease
Orly Vardeny | Minneapolis VA & University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

RESULTS: High-dose trivalent (HD-IIV3) did not significantly reduce all-cause death or hospitalizations for cardiac or pulmonary causes compared with standard-dose quadrivalent (SD-IIV4) influenza vaccine.
INVESTED Data Summary (PDF)

Clinical Trials ID: NCT02787044
VIDEO: Watch Dr. Vardeny summarize the results of INVESTED.

Also published Tuesday

COVID-19 science:

Association of Body Mass Index and Age With Morbidity and Mortality in Patients Hospitalized With COVID-19: Results From the American Heart Association COVID-19 Cardiovascular Disease Registry
Nicholas S. Hendren, et al. | Circulation, November 17, 2020

Racial and Ethnic Differences in Presentation and Outcomes for Patients Hospitalized with COVID-19: Findings from the American Heart Association's COVID-19 Cardiovascular Disease Registry
Fatima Rodriguez, et al. | Circulation, November 17, 2020

AHA News story: Fauci offers a COVID-19 lesson and looks to the future

VIDEO: The American Heart Association Response to the COVID-19 Crisis
Don Lloyd-Jones, MD, chair, and Manesh Patel, vice chair of the Scientific Sessions 2020 Program Committee discuss some of the ways the American Heart Association has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

Other science:

The Inflection Point: Ideas for Accelerating Breakthroughs and Improving Cardiovascular Health
Harlan M. Krumholz | Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, November 17, 2020

VIDEO: Get all the Late-breaking science highlights in one video, with AHA president Mitch Elkind, MD, MS; Don Lloyd-Jones, MD, ScM; Manesh Patel, MD; Tracy Wang, MD, MH, MS; and Eldrin Lewis, MD, MPH.