Past ACC President Selected to Chair World Heart Federation Partners Council

This post was authored by John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, past-president of the ACC.

I am honored to have been chosen as the chair of the World Heart Federation (WHF) Partners Council for 2016 on behalf of the ACC. In this new capacity representing the College, I led the first meeting of the WHF’s Partners Council in March 11 in London, England.

WHF President Salim Yusuf, MBBS, FACC, opened the meeting noting that the vision of the WHF is to work with members and the cardiovascular health community to hasten the day when cardiovascular health is no longer a privilege – but a right, and when cardiovascular disease is transformed from a life-threatening disease to one that can be prevented and managed in all populations. He added that the role of the WHF is to serve as the global facilitator, convener, trusted adviser and representative of cardiovascular disease stakeholders, driving the global cardiovascular health agenda by converting policy into action, through its members and a broader network of partners. Continue reading

ACC Celebrates World Heart Day With Healthy Heart Choices

This post was authored by John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, past president of the ACC, and Gerard Martin, MD, FACC, chair of the Population Health Policy and Health Promotion Committee.

On Sept. 29, we celebrate World Heart Day, a global initiative created by the World Heart Federation to better educate citizens about the prevalence of cardiovascular disease. This year focuses on healthy heart choices for everyone, everywhere.

As such, it is fitting that a bold new global agenda to end poverty by 2030 and pursue a sustainable future was recently adopted by the 193 Member States of the United Nations (UN) at the start of the three-day Summit in New York City on Sustainable Development. The Sustainable Development Goals were approved unanimously on Sept. 25, and made the prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – including cardiovascular disease – a top sustainable development priority. This includes the target of reducing premature mortality from NCDs by one third by the year 2030. Continue reading

World Health Assembly: A Time For Renewed Commitment to Reducing NCDs

This post was authored by John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, former ACC President.

This week, I have the privilege to be part of the delegation representing the ACC in Geneva, Switzerland, at the 68th session of the World Health Assembly where officials from 194 Member States are reviewing the World Health Organization’s (WHO) activities over the past year and setting new priorities for the future.

The main functions of the World Health Assembly under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) are to determine the policies of the WHO and focus on critical topics in global health. (In fact, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who now presides over the G-7, kicked off today’s plenary session speaking to the challenges of this very subject.) The assembly will focus on ongoing efforts to lower the number of patients with non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular disease. NCDs cause 63 percent of global death, with cardiovascular disease making up the highest proportion, yet receive disproportionately small funding from global aid networks – less than 1.3 percent by most recent estimates.  Worldwide, 80 percent of death from NCDs are in low and middle-income countries. Left unchecked, it is estimated that NCDs will be responsible for 73 percent of all deaths by 2020. Yet, so many of these deaths are preventable through education and a focus on closing gaps in care across populations.  (For more on this topic, see the ACC in Touch Blog from the landmark 2011 UN Summit on NCDs.) Continue reading

Tiny Steps to Implement Pulse Ox Screening

This post was authored by John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, immediate past president of the ACC.

On a yearly basis critical congenital heart conditions affect three out of every 1,000 live births, accounting for nearly 30 percent of all infant fatalities in the U.S. As physicians we have come a long way in our ability to treat these conditions in a timely manner, often using prenatal sonograms to identify structural heart disease. However, the sensitivity of congenital heart disease (CHD) is highly fickle, with operator expertise, fetal position, gestational age, and defect type causing prenatal sonography to entirely miss many newborns with CHD, let alone critical conditions that need immediate intervention. Continue reading

ACC.14 – A Meeting Honoring Giants of the Past, Present and Future


ACC President John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, kicks off this morning’s Opening Showcase Session.

Welcome to ACC.14! This year marks the 65th Anniversary of the American College of Cardiology and it’s fitting that we are holding our first-ever Annual Scientific Session in the nation’s capital during this important milestone year.

Bernard of Chartres said “that we are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than they, and things at a greater distance, not by virtue of any sharpness on sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but because we are carried high and raised up by their giant size.” Continue reading

An Inside Look at ABIM Certification

The ACC’s Board of Governors and Board of Trustees heard from Richard Baron, MD, MACP, president and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) as part of a joint Town Hall leading up to ACC.14.

With new ABIM Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements in effect this year, this was an important opportunity to hear more about the new changes, as well as gain a greater understanding of the ABIM’s history and role moving into the future as the representing voice for internal medicine. Continue reading

Heart Month: A Spotlight on CVD and Prevention

Over the past 64 years, there has been a decline in cardiovascular disease-related deaths in relation to scientific advances. However, cardiovascular disease continues to be the number one killer in the U.S. and worldwide, and according to the World Health Organization, the number of deaths from cardiovascular diseases, mainly from heart disease and stroke, is expected to reach 23.3 million by 2030, emphasizing that we still have a long way to go. Continue reading

New Surgeon General Report is a Wake Up Call to Prevent All Smoking

Today the U.S. Surgeon General released a report, “The Health Consequences of Smoking —50 Years of Progress.” The report highlights the progress in tobacco control and prevention, while also showcasing new data on the continued health consequences of tobacco use.

The surgeon general’s first report in 1964 was groundbreaking and led to an important cultural shift against smoking. Those important findings have been followed up by countless studies on the effects of smoking, which we now know are even worse than we thought. Continue reading

Wrapping Up 2013!

It’s been a busy week! On the ACC front, the College and its partners released new Multimodality Imaging Appropriate Use Criteria (AUC) for the Detection and Risk Assessment of Stable Ischemic Heart Disease (SIHD)” that for the first time integrates the ratings of a variety of imaging procedures ranging from exercise ECG to the diagnostic coronary angiogram. We also released new performance measures designed to benchmark and improve the quality of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) procedures, and launched our newest CardioSource Clinical Community focused on dyslipidemia. Additionally, ACC participated in the first of several kick-off events for hospitals participating in the new Patient Navigator Program. ACC CEO Shal Jacobovitz represented the College at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC, in celebrating the innovative new program that will support a team of caregivers at selected hospitals to help patients overcome challenges during their hospital stay and in the weeks following discharge when they are at most risk for readmission. Continue reading

The Prevention Guidelines and a Call to Action to Focus on Risk Factors

To clarify the basis of the new prevention guidelines, The Lancet recently published an editorial comment by Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, MD ScM, David Goff, MD PhD, and Neil J. Stone, MD, FACC, who responded to an editorial by Paul Ridker, MD, MPH, FACC and Nancy Cook, MD.

They note that “importantly, only about 31 percent of Americans aged 40—75 years without existing cardiovascular disease might be eligible for statin therapy under the new guidelines. This is remarkably similar to what would have occurred under the previous guidelines if the threshold for treatment were lowered modestly from 20 percent 10-year risk of a heart attack to 10 percent risk, well short of the threshold of proven benefit in recent trials. Further, many of these patients are likely already on statin therapy, and many would be recommended for treatment by either risk assessment approach.” Continue reading