December 28, 2012 — The past year in cardiology has continued to see progress and innovation in medicine. As the year comes to an end, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) identified some of the top cardiovascular stories of 2012.
• Electronic applications moved into the doctor’s office. iPhone apps were introduced to generate electrocardiograms (ECGs), help diagnose atrial fibrillation or help patients quit smoking, while the ACC’s CardioSmart Explorer app was introduced to provide animated 3-D heart images to help cardiologists explain conditions to their patients.
• The Choosing Wisely campaign got national attention. Medical societies, including the ACC, identified over-performed procedures that physicians and patients should discuss together. The campaign was meant to help open the discussion between patients and providers about the costs, risks and benefits of certain procedures.
• The Affordable Care Act upheld. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the majority of the Affordable Care Act, with the court ruling the individual mandate was constitutional as a tax.
• Bariatric surgery identified as tool for controlling diabetes in some. A new study, presented at ACC.12 in Chicago, found bariatric surgery with medical therapy was better than intensive medical therapy alone for controlling blood sugar in obese patients with type 2 diabetes.
• The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded approved uses for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). The FDA approved TAVR for high-risk patients. Previously, the FDA had approved the treatment for only inoperable patients.
• Warfarin alternative approved. FDA approval was also given to rivaroxaban, a warfarin alternative, to treat pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis.
• Surgery identified as better than stents for some patients. Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) was shown in a study to be better than percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) for treatment of patients with diabetes and multi-vessel coronary artery disease.
• New cholesterol-lowering drug showed potential. PCSK9 inhibitors demonstrated success in significantly lowering LDL cholesterol. This development opens the door to promising new techniques and medicines for lowering cholesterol.
• Generic drugs impacted consumers. Generic forms of cholesterol-lowering statin Lipitor were marketed in 2012, and the patent for Plavix expired, leading to the FDA approval of generic alternatives.
For more information: www.cardiosource.org/ACC