5 Things to Look for at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Session

Promoting healthier lifestyles, prevention, and population health are themes of the upcoming meeting of cardiologists in Chicago, which will take place April 2-4, 2016.

Next week, one of the top medical meetings of the year will convene in Chicago when the American College of Cardiology (ACC) gathers April 2-4, 2016, for the 65th Scientific Session. The agenda at this year’s meeting, with a theme of “Ignite: Innovation” reveals ACC’s full embrace of healthcare’s movement away from fee-for-service and toward value-based care, with speakers and sessions that emphasize preventive care and population health. The American Journal of Managed Care will cover the conference on site. Check our conference page at http://www.ajmc.com/conferences for our coverage.

Here are 5 things to look for at ACC.16:

1. Healthy Habits Are a Major Theme. On Saturday, April 2, the conference will feature a half-day session, known as an intensive, called “Lifestyle Medicine: A Little Less Drug, a Little More Sex, and a Lot More Rock and Roll.” Speakers here will offer providers practical advice to “deploy on their first day back at work,” to get patients to embrace better diet, exercise, smoking cessation, and other behavioral changes. And the session will present evidence on powerful role that love plays in promoting cardiovascular health.

2. Population Health: The “Secret Sauce?” That’s the title of the Simon Dack lecture, which David B. Nash, MD, MBA, will give April 2. Nash, dean of the Thomas Jefferson School of Population Health in Philadelphia, takes part in National Quality Forum initiatives and is known to ask the tough questions: are hospital executives willing to direct income away from subspecialty providers to increase resources for primary care? How well do hospitals and health plans monitor referral patterns, to ensure patients are seeing high-value providers? How can prevention be rewarded?

3. For the New FDA Commissioner, a Homecoming. Robert Califf, MD, MACC, will present the Eugene Brauwald Lecture, “Future Directions in Cardiovascular Medicine,” on Monday, April 4. This will be Califf’s first appearance at ACC since the cardiologist was confirmed as the nation’s top food and drug regulator.

4. Lowering Blood Pressure as a Preventive Tool? On the heels of SPRINT, the trial stopped early last fall that showed the benefits of intensive blood pressure management in older adults with high blood pressure, come the results of HOPE 3. This long-term trial measured the effects of lowering blood pressure in people with moderate risk. Athena Poppas, MD, scientific chair of the ACC Scientific Sessions, said in a preview call, “This is a population that had not been well-studied before.” Results to be presented April 2 include a separate abstract on the combined effects of lipid- and blood-pressure lowering effects on cardiovascular disease, as a preventive measure.

5. More Results on Effects of PCSK9s. Amgen, the maker of evolocumab (Repatha), recently won a patent trial over its chief rival. Now Amgen awaits word whether Regeneron's PCSK9 inhibitor, alirocumab (Praluent) can stay on the market during an appeal. With all that at stake, new results on evolocumab will be presented that could affect whether FDA allows broader approval for these powerful, expensive cholesterol fighting drugs. Results to be presented Sunday, April 3, will compare how well evolocumab fares against ezetimibe in statin-intolerant patients. Backers of PCSK9 inhibitors have seen this class as an option for large groups of patients who can't tolerate or don't want to take statins. This trial, GAUSS-3, is led by Cleveland Clinic’s Steven E. Nissen, MD.

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