AHA FIT Newsletter

Volume 2 / Winter 2020

Welcome from the AHA President, Dr. Robert Harrington, MD FAHA

Doctor Robert Harrington at conference with othersIt is a pleasure to have a chance to address fellows in training at this point in my own career. I remember how well my years in training at Duke positioned me to pursue my interests in the cath lab, at the bedside, and in clinical research. My earliest involvement with the American Heart Association was the frantic writing of abstracts in hopes of being invited to present a poster or oral talk at Scientific Sessions about research I had been part of. I joined the Council on Clinical Cardiology (and later QCOR) and got involved with committee work. Later came stints as a session moderator and even later as the overall program chair of the Scientific Sessions. And, throughout this time, I was engaged in local volunteer activities such as Heart Walks and Heart Balls.

You can see that there are steps you can become involved in right now, and I hope you will. In the world we now live in, medical data doubles every 73 days! Think about that: the opportunities to study those data are greater than they have ever been. And there are AHA funding sources that you can apply to for support for your research. The AHA is proud to note that the majority of our new grants every year go to early career investigators. This is important to us.

As you probably know, during this past year, we saw presented some remarkable data that will affect the way we care for our patients for decades. The ISCHEMIA trial alone answered a vexing question – who should we revascularize -- we have been arguing about for quite awhile. Another trial—COMPLETE—addressed the question whether we should revascularize all the diseased arteries we see or limit ourselves to the culprit artery. And a third trial, this one of inclisiran, one of a new class of drugs, demonstrated a reduction in LDL-C of over 50% with just two injections a year.

As I said in my presidential address in November, this is the most exciting time ever to be engaged in science. I believe in our future because I believe in everyone everywhere who is creating it. That absolutely includes you!

AHA FITs at Scientific Sessions 2019

By Heajung Nguyen, MD, University of California at Los Angeles & Anum Saeed, MD, University of Pittsburgh

AHA FIT lounge attendeesThis year's AHA Scientific Sessions (#AHA19) in Philadelphia marked the second exciting year of the Early Career (EC) / Fellow-in-Training (FIT) lounge, a special initiative of the AHA leadership. Designed specifically for  trainees by  trainees, the FIT/EC lounge yet again featured numerous interactive sessions covering a wide range of high-yield topics that kept FITs engaged and inspired.

After the resounding success of the FIT lounge in #AHA18, further improvement and innovations in programming were made utilizing attendee feedback. This year's FIT programming totaled nearly 16 hours, encompassing a broad range of topics on career development and advancement in several new highlighted subspecialties. In addition to the traditional career choices in cardiovascular diseases, a new section on unique career paths in stroke and vascular neurology, cardiac critical care, and pediatric cardiology were also featured. Leaders in respective fields also offered invaluable pearls of wisdom and guidance for those interested in pursuing subspecialty training in electrophysiology, advanced heart failure, interventional cardiology, and advanced imaging.

FIT/EC Lounge attendees were also given a special address by the AHA President Dr. Robert Harrington, who emphasized the distinctive role of the trainees as the leaders of tomorrow within the AHA. Another highly anticipated and well-attended session this year was focused on wellness, highlighting the importance of achieving a healthy work-life balance and providing attendees with many actionable tips. FITs also engaged in many meaningful discussions with faculty panelists, covering topics including achieving success as women in cardiology, cultivating successful mentorships, and navigating a smooth transition from fellow-to-faculty. On the final day, researchers and scientific writing experts provided fantastic tools and strategies to successfully incorporate impactful research endeavors through the demands of a rigorous training schedule.

All in all, this year's sessions were jam-packed with valuable content for trainees of all levels and junior faculty alike. We are incredibly thankful to our faculty panelists who took the time to share their experiences and impart such valuable insights to all the attendees.

Please visit the AHA FIT home page to learn more about the complementary AHA FIT program and email us if there are ways in which AHA Scientific Sessions can better serve you. Your feedback is always welcome and appreciated, and will help us improve future programming. We look forward to seeing you next year at #AHA20 in Dallas, TX!

Sessions Trials Deep Dive

AHA was full of late-breaking clinical trials that may change the way you think about caring for your patients and inspire next steps for designing your own research studies. Your fellow FITs have shared key information and insights from the science shared at Sessions. Please click on the links below to find their summaries, or you can find them all at Science News home page for Scientific Sessions 2019.

ISCHEMIA: International Study of Comparative Health Effectiveness with Medical and Invasive Approaches: Primary Report of Clinical Outcomes. Summarized by: Yuvraj Singh Chowdhury, MD | Reviewed by: Manesh Patel, MD

ISCHEMIA-CKD: International Study of Comparative Health Effectiveness with Medical and Invasive Approaches in Chronic Kidney Disease (ISCHEMIA-CKD): Primary Results of Clinical Outcomes. Summarized by: Mohsin Chowdhury, MD | Reviewed by: Larry Allen, MD, MHS

DAPA-HF: Dapagliflozin and Prevention of Adverse-Outcomes in Heart Failure Trial (DAPA-HF): Results in Nondiabetic Patients. Summarized by: Mrinali Shetty, MD | Reviewed by: Larry Allen, MD, MHS

BETonMACE: Effect of BET Protein Inhibition with Apabetalone on Cardiovascular Outcomes in Patients with Acute Coronary Syndrome and Diabetes. Summarized by: Pradyumna Agasthi, MD | Reviewed by: Larry Allen, MD, MHS

COLCOT: The Colchicine Cardiovascular Outcomes Trial in Coronary Disease. Summarized by: Mohammad-Ali Jazayeri, MD | Reviewed by: Larry Allen, MD, MHS

ORION-10: Phase 3 Trial Results: Safety and Efficacy of Inclisiran in Patients with ASCVD and Elevated LDL Cholesterol. Summarized by: Mohsin Chowdhury, MD | Reviewed by: James de Lemos, MD

GALILEO: Primary results: Global Comparison of a Rivaroxaban-based Antithrombotic Strategy Versus an Antiplatelet-based Strategy after Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement to Optimize Clinical Outcomes. Summarized by: Yuvraj Singh Chowdhury, MD | Reviewed by: Manesh Patel, MD

RECOVERY: Early Surgery versus Conventional Management for Asymptomatic Severe Aortic Stenosis. Summarized by: Pradyumna Agasthi, MD | Reviewed by: Manesh Patel, MD

COLCHICINE-PCI: Peri-procedural Colchicine in Percutaneous Coronary Intervention. Summarized by: Mohammad-Ali Jazayeri, MD | Reviewed by: James de Lemos, MD

ORION-9: Safety and Efficacy of Inclisiran in Patients with Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia. Summarized by: Mrinali Shetty, MD | Reviewed by: James de Lemos, MD

Treat Stroke to Target: Benefit of a Target LDL Cholesterol Less than 70 mg/dl After Ischemic Stroke due to Atherosclerosis. Summarized by: Mohammad-Ali Jazayeri, MD | Reviewed by: James de Lemos, MD

AHA Journal Reviewer Program

By Amna Sohail, MD
Assistant Professor Neurology, Creighton School of Medicine

Amna Sohail MDDuring the start of my fellowship, one of my mentors informed me about a junior reviewer training offered by Stroke, one of the AHA journals. As a medical student and resident, I had first-hand experience of the research process, including manuscript preparation and submission. In particular, the submission process could include multiple revisions, so this reviewer opportunity seemed like a great way to get exposure to the other side. How does the reviewer think? How can we make the quality of research and evidence better?

The 6-12 month junior reviewer trainee program is truly an enlightening experience in every way. This process increased my knowledge about the research topics, taught me how to critically look at different study designs and how to make sense of different statistic modalities, as well as how to extrapolate and generalize the data to different populations. The feedback from the editor and senior reviewers on my personal review assignments helped me immensely to identify the key points when constructing study objectives and methods. In addition, their suggestions helped me to polish my skills in abstract and manuscript construction and presentation.

All in all, I feel well equipped to skim through the plethora of publications and identify what evidence can help my patients, through critical appraisal of the literature. I feel comfortable identifying designs, objectives and methods appropriate for my research. Now when writing my own papers, I keep in mind the points brought up by reviewers to articulate the results of research in a manner which is accurate, precise, easy to interpret, without bias and with information that answers the readers inherent questions. I would highly recommend health professionals to get this wonderful experience, and to start early as an AHA FIT, as it often will open up options to continue as a senior reviewer.

The AHA journal trainee reviewer program, available for Circ: CQ, Circ: EP, and Stroke, typically requires a 6-12 month commitment. Once a trainee has completed a set number of successful supervised manuscript reviews, they often have the option to graduate to a senior reviewer position. For those interested, please reach out to us at ahafellows@heart.org.

Teresa Wang MD

2019 Laennec Fellow in Training (FIT) Clinician Award Recipient

Teresa Wang, MD
Fellow, Cardiovascular Medicine
University of California, San Francisco

Teresa Wang is the recipient of the 2019 Laennec Fellow in Training (FIT) Clinician Award at the American Heart Association's Annual Scientific Sessions in November 2019. The Laennec Award recognizes the importance of clinical acumen, inductive analytic skills, and teaching ability in future academic cardiologists. We talk with Teresa about her specific clinical/research interests, advice for other early investigators and future goals.

Upcoming AHA Conferences

Upcoming AHA Conferences
Conference Date Location Key Dates
Scientific Sessions 2020 Nov. 13–17, 2020 Virtual Event Registration open now!
Resuscitation Science Symposium 2020 Nov. 14–16, 2020 Virtual Event Registration open now!
International Stroke Conference 2021 Feb. 9–12, 2021 Denver, Colo. Registration opens: Oct. 14, 2020
EPI | Lifestyle 2021 March 2–5, 2021 Chicago, Ill. Abstracts Submission: Aug. 5–Oct. 14, 2020
Registration opens: Oct. 14, 2020
Vascular Discovery: From Genes to Medicine 2021 Date: To be announced Location: To be announced Abstracts Submission: To be announced
QCOR 2021 Date: To be announced Location: To be announced Abstracts Submission: To be announced
BCVS 2021 Date: To be announced Location: To be announced Abstracts Submission: To be announced
Hypertension 2021 Date: To be announced Location: To be announced Abstracts Submission: To be announced