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5 Things to Look for at the European Society of Cardiology 2019 Congress

Mary Caffrey
Studies on anticoagulants and SGLT2 inhibitors, and guidelines for dyslipidemia and more are anticipated at the meeting.
For most of us in the United States, next weekend signals Labor Day and the unofficial end of summer. But for those in the world of cardiology, it will bring the 2019 Congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), an increasingly important meeting that this year travels to Paris from August 31 to September 4.

What's happening at ESC that we should be following between our barbecues and our final trips to the pool? Plenty, it turns out. Here are 5 things to look for at the ESC 2019 Congress:

1. Full results for DAPA-HF.  
This is a last-minute addition to the late-breaker session to be held Sunday afternoon, September 1. We already know from the top-line results announced earlier this week by AstraZeneca that dapagliflozin (Farxiga) met its primary composite end point in this landmark phase 3 study, Dapagliflozin And Prevention of Adverse-outcomes in Heart Failure, which explored whether the sodium glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor has the potential to treat heart failure as effectively as it has type 2 diabetes (T2D). It will be interesting to compare outcomes for patients with and without T2D.

2. Details for THEMIS.
This is another study where AstraZeneca has announced that the blood thinner ticagrelor (Brilinta), taken with aspirin, reduced major cardiovascular events in a study of 19,000 patients with T2D and coronary artery disease (CAD) but no prior heart attack or stroke compared with aspirin alone. A second analysis, THEMIS-PCI, looked at 10,000 patients with stable CAD and T2D but a history of prior coronary intervention. These results will come at the same Sunday afternoon session as DAPA-HF.

3. Real-world evidence for apixaban.
Data from the NAXOS study for the novel oral anticoagulant apixaban (Eliquis) will be presented in a Sunday morning late-breaking session. The study uses a nationwide health insurance database in France to study 8 cohorts of patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation, including those who have taken anti-coagulants before and those who have not. This is the first and largest real-world data study of its kind or oral anticoagulants in Europe.

4. Guidelines galore.
The ESC adheres to a published long-term schedule for updating clinical practice guidelines and this year plans to issue 5 sets at the Congress, with sessions on each: (1) diabetes, prediabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, (2) acute pulmonary embolism, (3) supraventricular tachycardia, (4) dyslipidemias, and (5) chronic coronary syndromes, previously known as stable coronary artery disease. As was the case this spring during the American College of Cardiology Scientific Session, the ESC has sessions for cardiologists on using medications developed for T2D.

5. Novel approaches to prevention.
Studies on preventing disease and early death will be presented throughout the Congress, including one highlighted ahead of the meeting: a study from Brazil found that teacher training followed by classroom sessions and emotional support to improve lifestyles in both teachers and students helped both cut down on the amount of junk food they ate. Knowledge alone, the authors found, is not enough to change behavior. Addressing self-esteem is a major focus of The Happy Life, Healthy Heart program that was tested at 10 public schools.

 


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