Science News - Scientific Sessions 2021

#AHA21 Science News coverage brings you results and insights into this year's Tier 1 late-breaking cardiovascular science trials presented at Scientific Sessions 2021. Find at-a-glance data summaries, exclusive interviews, simultaneous publications, and more – all in one place.

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2021 Sessions and QCOR Abstracts in Circulation | #AHA21 Digital Newspaper 

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Thank you for attending #AHA21

Another exciting Scientific Sessions conference is in the books! Don Lloyd-Jones, Manesh Patel, Amit Khera, and Tracy Wang highlight some of the top sessions and late breaking science presented during #AHA21 this year. Don't forget to scroll down for a deeper look into this year's Tier 1 trials, as well as links to simultaneously published articles. 

Selected Science from Saturday, Nov. 13


Valves, Veins and New Viewpoints in Cardiothoracic Surgery

AVATAR Results
Victoria Delgado, MD, PhD, FESC interviews Principal Investigator Marko Manovic, MD, PhD, FESC, FACC about the results of AVATAR.



Hypertension: Local, Global and Pandemic Impacts 


A Cluster Randomized Trial of a Village Doctor-Led Intervention on Blood Pressure Control: China Rural Hypertension Control Project (opens in new window)(link opens in new window)
Jiang He | Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana

CRHCP Results
Norrina Allen, PhD, MPH, FAHA interviews Jiang He, MD, PhD, investigator for the Chinese Rural Hypertension Control Project, about the results of the study presented during #AHA21.

Selected Science from Sunday, Nov. 14

#AHA21 Presidential Address

Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones gives his Presidential Address at the 2021 AHA Scientific Sessions. (American Heart Association)The best way to launch a generation with ideal cardiovascular health? Start with a generation of healthier parents

In his Presidential Address at the AHA's Scientific Sessions, Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones emphasized that cardiovascular health begins even before birth.
AHA News, Nov. 14, 2021


Prevention to Intervention in Atrial Arrhythmias 


The Coffee and Real-Time Atrial and Ventricular Ectopy (CRAVE) Trial (opens in new window)(link opens in new window)
Gregory M Marcus | UCSF, San Francisco, California

  • RESULTS: In per-protocol analyses, those who consumed two drinks or more of coffee per day experienced more than a double of PVCs (p=0.007); every additional coffee drink consumed was associated with 12% less SVT episodes (p=0.028), 587 more steps per day, and 18 less minutes of sleep per night. Using genetic analysis, those who metabolize caffeine more quickly experience heightened effect of coffee on PVCs but less effect of coffee on sleep.
  • Clinical Trial NCT03671759 (new window)
  • Download CRAVE data summary (PDF)

CRAVE Results
Gregory M. Marcus, MD, MAS explains the methodology and results of the CRAVE trial, designed to assess the acute affects of coffee consumption in ambulatory patients.



Outcomes of Adjunctive Left Atrial Appendage Ligation Utilizing the LARIAT Compared to Pulmonary Vein Antral Isolation Alone: The AMAZE Trial (link opens in new window)(opens in new window)(link opens in new window)(link opens in new window)
David Wilber | Loyola University SSOM, Maywood, Illinois

  • RESULTS: The LARIAT System appears safe and effectively excludes the LAA but did not significantly reduce the rate of AA in all pts with persistent and longstanding AF. Exploratory analysis suggested that adjunctive LARIAT ligation may provide improved rhythm control in a subset of pts with early persistent AF and larger LA volumes that require further study.
  • Clinical Trials No. NCT02513797 (opens in new window)
  • Download aMAZE data summary (PDF)

aMAZE Results
Mina Chung, MD, FHRS discusses the results of the aMAZE trial with principal investigator David J. Wilber, MD, FAHA, FACC, FHRS. The trial examined percutaneous alternatives to the MAZE procedure for persistent AF.


Information Overload? Striving to Improve Care Delivery through Digital Health and Automated Dat

Fitbit Heart

Detection of Atrial Fibrillation in a Large Population using Wearable Devices: The Fitbit Heart Study (link opens in new window)(link opens in new window)
Steven A Lubitz | Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts

Fitbit Heart Results
Harriette G. Van Spall, MD, MPH, FRCPC met with principal investigator Steven Lubitz, MD, MPH of Harvard University to get results of his Fitbit Heart study, which examined using PPG sensor devices for identifying AF.


Testing Individualized Triggers of Atrial Fibrillation: A Randomized Controlled Trial (link opens in new window)(link opens in new window)
Gregory M Marcus | UCSF, San Francisco, California

I-STOP AF Results
José A. Joglar, MD interviews investigator Gregory M. Marcus, MD, MAS about the results of the I-STOP-Afib trial, which tracked the triggers of AF episodes in previously diagnosed patients.


Building on the Foundations of Treatment: Advances in Heart Failure Therapy


Efficacy and Safety of Empagliflozin in Hospitalized Heart Failure Patients: Main Results From the EMPULSE Trial (link opens in new window)(link opens in new window)
Adriaan A Voors | University Medical Center of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands

Biykem Bozkurt, MD, PhD, FAHA interviews Adriaan A. Voors, MD, PhD about the methodology and findings of his EMPULSE trial, which tested the efficacy of empagliflozin in patients hospitalized for acute heart failure with or without T2D.

#ReSS21 Program Highlights
Benjamin S. Abella, MD, MPhil, and Michael W. Donnino, MD discuss the most interesting science from this year's meeting.

#ReSS21 Program Highlights

Benjamin S. Abella, MD, MPhil and Michael W. Donnino, MD, Co-Chairs of this year's Resuscitation Science Symposium program, discuss some of the most interesting science presented in 2021, including new studies on pharmacology of resuscitation and highlights from the program's five plenary sessions. 

If you missed some live sessions, the viewing platform will remain available to attendees through December 15, 2021. (You need your conference badge number.) And starting December 16, we'll have selected sessions available OnDemand.

#QCOR21 Preview

#QCOR21 Program Highlights

Program Chair Umesh N. Khot, MD and Vice Chair Emily O'Brien, PhD highlights some of the main events they have planned for the meeting this year, with a focus on early career science and the ways quality of life and outcomes research is evolving in response to the COVID pandemic and emerging mhealth technologies.

Selected science from Monday, Nov. 15


Fish Oil and Cholesterol: Recipes for CVD Prevention?


Icosapent Ethyl Versus Placebo In Outpatients With Covid-19: The Main Results Of PREPARE-IT 2 (link opens in new window)(link opens in new window)
Rafael Diaz | Estudios Clínicos Latino América, Rosario, Argentina

PREPARE-IT 2 Results
Erin D. Michos, MD, MHS, FAHA interviews investigator Rafael Díaz, MD about the results of PREPARE-IT 2, which he presented during #AHA21.


New Drugs and New Drug Indications in Cardiovascular Disease

ASCEND: Dementia

Effects of Aspirin on Dementia and Cognitive Impairment in the ASCEND Trial (link opens in new window)(link opens in new window)
Jane M Armitage | University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom

  • RESULTS: No statistically significant effect on dementia outcomes. Results excluded proportional harms >2% and benefits of >1.
  • ASCEND Trial website (opens in new window)
  • Download ASCEND data summary (PDF)

    Thumbnail of summary slide for ASCEND

  • Jacqueline E. Tamis-Holland, MD interviews investigator Jane Armitage, FRCP, FFPH, OBE about the results of ASCEND: Dementia, a study about the effect of aspirin on patients with dementia.


    Studies published in AHA Journals

    Empagliflozin, Health Status, and Quality of Life in Patients with Heart Failure and Preserved Ejection Fraction: The EMPEROR-Preserved Trial
    Javed Butler, Gerasimos Filippatos, et al.
    Circulation, Nov. 15, 2021

    Association of Race and Ethnicity and Anticoagulation in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation Dually Enrolled in VA and Medicare: Effects of Medicare Part D on Prescribing Disparities
    Utibe R. Essien, Nadejda Kim, et al.
    Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, Nov. 15, 2021

    Efficacy and Safety of Appropriate Shocks and Antitachycardia Pacing in Transvenous and Subcutaneous Implantable Defibrillators: An Analysis of All Appropriate Therapy in the PRAETORIAN trial
    Reinoud E. Knops, Willeke van der Stuijt, et al.
    Circulation, Nov. 14, 2021

    Efpeglenatide and Clinical Outcomes with and without Concomitant Sodium-Glucose Co-Transporter-2 Inhibition Use in Type 2 Diabetes: Exploratory Analysis of the AMPLITUDE-O Trial
    Carolyn S.P. Lam, Chinthanie Ramasundarahettige, et al.
    Circulation, Nov. 14, 2021

    Finerenone Reduces Risk of Incident Heart Failure in Patients With Chronic Kidney Disease and Type 2 Diabetes: Analyses from the FIGARO-DKD Trial
    Gerasimos Filippatos, Stefan D. Anker, et al.
    Circulation, Nov. 13, 2021

    2021 International Consensus on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care Science With Treatment Recommendations: Summary From the Basic Life Support; Advanced Life Support; Neonatal Life Support; Education, Implementation, and Teams; First Aid Task Forces; and the COVID-19 Working Group
    Wyckoff et al. Abelairas-Gómez et al.
    Circulation, Nov. 11, 2021

    Energetic Basis for Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Congestion in Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction
    Matthew K. Burrage, Moritz Hundertmark, et al.
    Circulation, Nov. 8, 2021

    Editorial: Unmasking Nonpreserved Heart Structure, Function, and Energetics in Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction With Magnetic Resonance Imaging Coupled With Exercise
    Jennifer E. Ho, Christopher Nguyen, and Gregory D. Lewis
    Circulation, Nov. 8, 2021

    National Trends and Disparities in Hospitalization for Acute Hypertension Among Medicare Beneficiaries (1999-2019)
    Yuan Lu, Yun Wang, et al.
    Circulation, Nov. 8, 2021

    Estimation of DAPT Study Treatment Effects in Contemporary Clinical Practice: Findings from the EXTEND-DAPT Study
    Robert Yeh, et al.
    Circulation, Nov. 8, 2021

    Electrocardiogram-based Deep Learning and Clinical Risk Factors to Predict Atrial Fibrillation
    Shaan Khurshid, Samuel Friedman, et al.
    Circulation, Nov. 8, 2021

    Community-level Economic Distress, Race, and Risk of Adverse Outcomes Following Heart Failure Hospitalization among Medicare Beneficiaries
    Amgad Mentias, Milind Y. Desai et al.
    Circulation, Nov. 8, 2021

    Serial Assessment of High-Sensitivity Cardiac Troponin and the Effect of Dapagliflozin in Patients with Heart Failure with Reduced Ejection Fraction: An Analysis of the DAPA-HF Trial
    David D. Berg, Kieran F. Docherty, et al.
    Circulation, Nov. 8, 2021

    Blood Pressure, Hypertension and The Risk of Aortic Dissection Incidence and Mortality: results from the Japan-Specific Health Checkups Study, the UK Biobank Study and a Meta-analysis of Cohort Studies
    Makato Hibino, Yoichiro Otaki, et al.
    Circulation, Nov. 8, 2021

    Deep Learning of the Retina Enables Phenome- and Genome-wide Analyses of the Microvasculature
    Seyedeh Maryam Zekavat, Vineet K. Raghu, et. al
    Circulation, Nov. 8, 2021

    Nanoliposomes Reduce Stroke Injury Following Middle Cerebral Artery Occlusion in Mice
    Saif Ahmad, Seth Truran, et. al
    Stroke, Nov. 8, 2021

    Clonal Hematopoiesis Is Associated With Higher Risk of Stroke
    Romit Bhattacharya, Seyedeh M. Zekavat, et. al
    Stroke, Nov. 8, 2021

    Targeted Delivery of Electrical Shocks and Epinephrine, Guided by Ventricular Fibrillation Amplitude Spectral Area, Reduces Electrical and Adrenergic Myocardial Burden, Improving Survival in Swine
    Salvatore R. Aiello, Jenna B. Mendelson, et. al
    JAHA, Nov. 8, 2021

    Trends and Outcomes of Cardiac Transplantation in the Lowest Urgency Candidates
    Michael A. Fuery, Fouad Chouairi, et al. 
    JAHA, Nov. 8, 2021

    Hispanic/Latino‐Serving Hospitals Provide Less Targeted Temperature Management Following Out‐of‐Hospital Cardiac Arrest
    Nicholas A. Morris, Michael Mazzeffi, et. al
    JAHA, Nov. 8, 2021

    A Novel Small Molecule Troponin Activator Increases Cardiac Contractile Function Without Negative Impact on Energetics
    Huamei He, Tomas Baka, et al.
    Circulation: Heart Failure, Nov. 8, 2021

    Effect of Empagliflozin on Blood Volume Redistribution in Patients With Chronic Heart Failure and Reduced Ejection Fraction: An Analysis from the Empire HF Randomized Clinical Trial
    Massar Omar, Jesper Jensen, et al.
    Circulation: Heart Failure, Nov. 8, 2021

    #AHA21 News for Consumers

    #AHA21 Presidential Address: The best way to launch a generation with ideal cardiovascular health? Start with a generation of healthier parents
    In his Presidential Address at the AHA's Scientific Sessions, Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones emphasized that cardiovascular health begins even before birth.

    Pfizer, Moderna officials review COVID-19 vaccine successes, discuss future for mRNA tech
    Pfizer's Dr. Mikael Dolsten and Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel spoke about vaccine science at the American Heart Association's virtual Scientific Sessions.

    Gay men and bisexual women may have higher odds for high blood pressure
    Gay men and bisexual women may have higher rates of high blood pressure than their heterosexual counterparts, according to new research.

    Stroke deaths among young adults hit some groups harder than others
    After an initial drop, stroke-related deaths among young adults rose over the past decade. But death rates differed by race and sex, according to new research.

    Plaque-lined arteries put future health of young American Indians at risk
    Young American Indians with early signs of atherosclerosis may be especially vulnerable to cardiovascular events later in life, according to new research that calls for earlier interventions.

    Researchers start to uncover the pandemic's impact on mental health
    Depression remained common during the pandemic and worsened for some, according to a new study aiming to cast light on links between the pandemic and mental health.

    Exposure to some airborne chemicals found indoors may increase blood pressure
    Three common pollutants were associated with higher blood pressure, according to preliminary research being presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions conference

    Hospitalized COVID-19 patients from 'socially vulnerable' neighborhoods may be more likely to die
    People hospitalized for COVID-19 who come from the most socially vulnerable neighborhoods are at higher risk for severe heart problems or dying than those from areas with the fewest social challenges, new research shows.

    Some young Asian women may face higher risks for high blood pressure
    Chinese, Filipina and South Asian women with diabetes, obesity or polycystic ovary syndrome may be more likely than their peers without the conditions to have high blood pressure, new research shows.

    Cannabis use disorder may be linked to growing number of heart attacks in younger adults
    At a time of increasing legalization of marijuana, new research shows a decade-long trend of more people under 50 with cannabis use disorder being hospitalized for a heart attack.

    Two omega-3s in fish oil may boost brain function in people with heart disease
    Taking prescription fish oil supplements with high levels of two omega-3 fatty acids may get the best results in improving cognitive function in older adults with heart disease, according to new research.