Tag Archives: ACC

Perspectives on Cardiovascular Disease: A Multi-Faceted Condition

By Steven Zelenkofske, DO, Vice President, US Medical Affairs, Cardiovascular, AstraZeneca

Steve Zelenkofske

Steve Zelenkofske, DO, FACC, FACOI, FCPP

The 2016 American College of Cardiology (ACC) scientific sessions provides AstraZeneca an opportunity to interact with some of the top clinicians and researchers in the cardiology field, and discuss the difficult clinical questions that they face when treating patients.

With ACC coming up this weekend, I caught up with Roxana Mehran, MD, of Mount Sinai School of Medicine to discuss the multi-faceted nature of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and how research and science is helping to evolve the way we view the causes and management of CVD.

Here’s a snapshot from our recent conversation:

Dr. Zelenkofske: CVD is a common condition that many people see as one singular condition, but it’s actually a chronic and complex disease state with diverse risk factors and sub-conditions.

What’s your perspective on this view of CVD and the varying levels of risk patients with different forms of the disease face?

Dr. Roxana Mehran


Dr. Mehran: When you think about CVD, particularly from a patient perspective, it’s a really complicated disease because it’s caused by a range of factors, like high cholesterol and hypertension – and is often a consequence of other co-morbidities like diabetes and chronic kidney disease (CKD). While there are several issues that make up CVD, the one unifying concern for healthcare professionals in treating it is managing risk – the risk of the disease worsening, the risk of having an event like a heart attack and the risk of recurring events that may take place over time.

Dr. Zelenkofske: You mention managing recurring events. This is an important point because when people think of a heart-related event, they think of it as something that happens once, which is not something we necessarily see in clinical practice.

Dr. Mehran: That’s definitely true. What many people may not realize is recurrent events like a heart attack often take place in patients who’ve already had one because of an underlying atherothrombotic disease. Recent research has shown that one in five patients who has had a heart attack will likely have another cardiovascular (CV) event, such as a heart attack, stroke or CV death in the subsequent three years, even if patients were event free after 12 months. These patients very often have other co-morbidities, such as high cholesterol, so preventing subsequent events, also referred to as secondary prevention, is an important health priority.

Dr. Zelenkofske: Can you share some of your insights on approaches that help patients prevent those recurrent events?

Dr. Mehran: Managing the recurrent risk of events is an ongoing journey that begins in the hospital and continues in the long term once a patient returns to ‘normal life’ back at home. In addition to lifestyle changes, patients should speak to their doctors about treatment approaches which have been shown to help reduce the likelihood of having an event post-heart attack.

And since we’re on the topic of managing risk factors, what’s your perspective on the evolving landscape for managing high cholesterol and high blood pressure?

Dr. Zelenkofske: AstraZeneca has a long-standing history in managing high cholesterol and blood pressure. We continue to follow the science of those medicines, to better understand their role in addressing unmet needs for patients to help them manage their conditions. In fact, at ACC this year, we continue to have data for our legacy CV medicines, including an independently studied late-breaker that evaluates whether cholesterol lowering medicine and a combination of blood pressuring lowering medicine used alone or together can reduce play a role in primary prevention for patients at average risk. As a science-driven organization, I am encouraged to see the clinical community continuing efforts to understand appropriate treatments in managing these conditions.

Dr. Mehran: Often, we know that conditions can be asymptomatic, so patients may not even know that they have them.

Dr. Zelenkofske: I agree. In the U.S., 71 million American adults have high LDL-C or bad cholesterol, yet only 1 out of every 3 adults with high LDL-C has their condition under control. Additionally, an estimated 80 million American adults age 20 years of age or older have high blood pressure.

Dr. Mehran: As you’ve talked about a holistic approach to CVD, what’s on the horizon for AstraZeneca as it relates to associated conditions such as CKD?

Dr. Zelenkofske: CKD is a global health problem that affects more than 10% of the world’s population. Individuals living with CKD are more likely to die of CVD than to develop kidney failure. Hyperkalaemia, a complication of CKD, affects more than 3 million patients suffering from CKD and chronic heart failure (CHF) in the U.S. alone. It can be a life threatening condition for which there are limited treatment options. Because we know that CVD is a well-known consequence of CKD, AstraZeneca draws on its deep understanding of cardiovascular treatment to help identify solutions in CKD as well. AstraZeneca recognizes there are unmet needs in hyperkalemia, among other complications from CKD. As a result, we continuously seek opportunities, both independently and in partnership, to investigate treatment options that can help reduce the burden of CKD.


Roxana Mehran, MD, FACC, FACP, FCCP, FESC, FAHA, FSCAI is Professor of Medicine and Director of Interventional Cardiovascular Research and Clinical Trials at the Zena and Michael A. Weiner Cardiovascular Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Her clinical focus includes Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS), angina, coronary artery disease and hyperlidemia among other therapeutic areas.

Bringing Medical Meetings to Everyone via Social Media

For decades, medical meetings have been a place for doctors, patients, researchers and advocates to engage with each other and share information about the latest advances in treatments and science.

That engagement level has exploded over the last few years, however, with the rise of social media. Now, attendees can talk not only to others in the meeting hall but also in every corner of the globe.

Social media takes medical meetings beyond the convention center walls to provide a real-time yet enduring story of patient experiences, scientific breakthroughs and inspirational speakers. It opens the meetings up to anyone, whether they have a deep or passing interest in all or any of the subjects being discussed, while democratizing the sharing of information.

Journalists can report in real time. Attendees can take notes in a public way. And anyone with access to the Internet can get in on the conversation.

That’s good for patients. That’s good for health care providers. And that’s good for companies like AstraZeneca that value learning from those who are facing diseases for which we are fiercely working to development new and more effective treatments.

How important has social media grown to become at medical meetings? Consider: The 2013 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting saw 4,352 different people tweet 21,861 times using the #ASCO13 hashtag throughout the year. Two years later, the #ASCO15 meeting was mentioned in 81,273 tweets from 16,664 people – a nearly four-fold increase.

And it’s not just ASCO. The American Heart Association’s annual meeting saw a four-fold increase in Twitter activity between 2013 (#AHA2013) and 2015 (#AHA2015) as well, according to the analytics firm Symplur. Similar increases were seen at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and American Diabetes Association (ADA) scientific sessions.

ACC 2012, 2015

AstraZeneca once again will participate in major meetings in our therapeutic areas this year, including ASCO, AHA, ACC, ADA and several others. In addition to our live presence at the meetings, we hope to accomplish the following through our social engagement:

  • Conduct live, authentic dialogue with those in attendance as well as those following along virtually.
  • Share our messages and resources with an informed, engaged audience.
  • Continue conversations begun face to face in the meeting halls.
  • Glean key areas of focus of those affected by the diseases being studied to better inform our efforts as a company.

It is increasingly crucial for all players in healthcare to be engaged in social media, as more and more Americans use these platforms:

  • Overall, 62 percent of adults in the United States use Facebook, while 22 percent use LinkedIn and 20 percent use Twitter, according to the Pew Research Center.
  • One in 20 Google searches seek health-related information, according to Google.
  • Meanwhile, 41 percent in one survey said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical facility.
  • Finally, 32 percent of insured Americans say they are uncomfortable with their personal knowledge and skills navigating the healthcare system – higher than those who are uncomfortable buying a home (25 percent).

Taken together, this means that all segments of the health system have a responsibility to have a social presence that provides accurate and scientifically sound information to patients who are increasingly turning to the Internet and social media for information. That includes information from providers, payers, patient groups and companies like AstraZeneca.

You can follow AstraZeneca in the U.S. on Twitter here and like us on Facebook here to see firsthand how we are engaging via social media.

Meanwhile, we will see you at the meetings – and online!

AZ Takes Center Stage at ACC.15

By Dr. Steve Zelenkofske, VP, US Medical Affairs, Cardiovascular, AstraZeneca

Steve Zelenkofske

This past weekend, AstraZeneca attended the American College of Cardiology 64th Annual Scientific Session (ACC.15) in San Diego, where we engaged with leading cardiovascular (CV) healthcare professionals (HCP) and demonstrated our continued commitment to advancing the science around CV and metabolic diseases (CVMD).

This annual congress is critical for patients; cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the number one killer worldwide, representing approximately 30 percent of all global deaths. At AstraZeneca, we have been fighting CVD for more than 100 years and remain dedicated to understanding and improving treatment options for the millions of patients impacted worldwide.

ACC.15 marks the first major medical congress of the year for both AstraZeneca and the CV industry, bringing together more than 13,000 attendees from around the globe. Therefore, it was fundamental for us to translate our vision of being a leader in CVMD into every element of our presence at this Congress – and we succeeded.

Leading with science: It was a pivotal meeting for AstraZeneca as 14 abstracts and poster presentations around our medicines helped drive the CV scientific dialogue forward, and of course the awaited late-breaking clinical trial presentation by Dr. Marc Sabatine on the full data results of the PEGASUS-TIMI 54 study. As a company that is committed to exploring the science behind our medicines to better understand their appropriate use in different patient populations, it is vital that we continue to invest in these large, CV outcomes trials to advance this scientific dialogue. Worldwide, more than 17 million patients die from CV diseases (CVD) each year. Therefore, it’s important that we follow the science in the interest of the patients we ultimately serve.

Bringing our science and the CVMD patient experience to life: We had an industry leading presence in the exhibit hall, as it was the largest booth to be featured by AstraZeneca at ACC to date, spanning 8,000 square feet. Our booth brought together our CVMD portfolio and gave healthcare professionals (HCP) an opportunity to interact with the latest information about our medicines and ongoing recruiting clinical research trials. Key sections of the booth put the CVMD patient and their disease front and center by utilizing innovative technology to bring their stories to life through novel simulation tools, which ultimately helped the HCP better understand the disease from their patient’s point of view.

Our booth also featured programs and initiatives that demonstrate our commitment to helping support CVMD patients along their treatment journey. One clear example of this is our founding sponsorship of the ACC Patient Navigator Program, a vital national initiative that supports acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and heart failure (HF) patients as they go through the sometimes difficult process of transitioning from hospital to home after their event.


AstraZeneca remains committed to follow the science and put patients first – while ensuring we continue to represent our medicines and the patients they may help at key meetings like ACC.15.

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MedStar Official Addresses Importance of ACC Patient Navigator Program

By Dr. Stuart F. Seides, Physician Executive Director at MedStar Heart Institute

From left: Dr. Allen Taylor, Chief of Cardiology at MedStar Heart Institute; Rich Buckley, VP Corporate Affairs North America, AstraZeneca; Shal Jacobovitz, CEO of the American College of Cardiology; Dr. Stuart Seides, Chief Executive at MedStar Heart Institute

From left: Dr. Allen Taylor, Chief of Cardiology at MedStar Heart Institute; Rich Buckley, VP Corporate Affairs North America, AstraZeneca; Shal Jacobovitz, CEO of the American College of Cardiology; Dr. Stuart Seides, Chief Executive at MedStar Heart Institute

As the Physician Executive Director at MedStar Heart Institute in Washington, D.C., it is my responsibility to ensure that we provide patients with the best in cardiac care. From the moment patients arrive, through their treatment, discharge and then follow-up care—the MedStar Heart Institute strives to provide a seamless continuum of services.

Several weeks ago, I attended an event at MedStar Washington Hospital Center to celebrate the launch of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Patient Navigator Program, sponsored by AstraZeneca. The program provides personalized support to heart attack and heart failure patients as they transition from hospital to home, which is vital because cardiovascular disease impacts every patient differently.

The ACC Patient Navigator Program truly puts cardiovascular patients and their caregivers first as they discharge from the hospital—a process that can be confusing and overwhelming for many. I commend the ACC and AstraZeneca for working together to bring this innovative program to my hospital, and I look forward to sharing the results with my peers.

Dr. Stuart F. Seides is the Physician Executive Director at MedStar Heart Institute, one of the highest volume heart care programs in the United States. Dr. Seides is an interventional cardiologist, practicing in Washington, D.C. since 1978.

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MedStar Washington Hospital Center Becomes First to Launch ACC Patient Navigator Program

MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. became the first hospital to provide cardiology patients with support through the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Patient Navigator Program, sponsored by AstraZeneca. MedStar Washington Hospital Center is one of 35 hospitals across the country that will participate between now and the end of 2015. Thus far, 11 hospitals have been selected to take part in the ACC program, which provides enhanced support for cardiology patients as they transition from hospital to home following their heart attack.

The ACC Patient Navigator Program will provide personalized support to patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) based on their specific needs, which is vital because cardiovascular disease impacts every patient differently. The program will support patients with ACS as they face physical, emotional and other issues after having a heart attack. According to the ACC, one of the goals is to make ACS patients’ hospitalization less stressful and the recovery period more supportive.

AstraZeneca’s sponsorship of the ACC Patient Navigator Program aligns with our commitment to putting patients at the core of everything we do and to helping health care professionals support their patients with cardiovascular diseases.   Read more about AstraZeneca’s sponsorship of the ACC Patient Navigator Program.


In a recent study of Medicare patients discharged after a heart attack, 25.9 percent of heart attack patients died and 50.5 percent were re-hospitalized within the first year.

– Dharmarajan K; Hsieh AF; Lin Z et al. Abstract 13: Risks of Death and Hospital Readmission by Time Following Hospitalization for Heart Failure and Acute Myocardial Infarction. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2013; 6: A13.

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American College of Cardiology Announces First Hospitals to Participate in the Patient Navigator Program

PNP Logo Graphic for Blog and Intranet Article 120312Patients with Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) face many difficulties as they transition from the hospital back to their home following a cardiovascular event. It is critical they understand at discharge the next steps in their road to recovery.

A recent JAMA Internal Medicine study looked at transitional care after hospitalization and found that a fourth of discharge instructions were written in medical jargon that a patient was not likely to understand.

AstraZeneca became the founding sponsor of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Patient Navigator Program, contributing $10 million to this program earlier this year. The program was designed to help cardiology patients through the challenges of transitioning from hospital to home following their heart attack.

Today, the ACC announced the first hospitals selected to be a part of its program:

The ACC Patient Navigator Program will provide personalized support to patients with ACS at these hospitals based on their specific needs, which is vital because cardiovascular disease impacts every patient differently.

The ACC Patient Navigator Program aligns with AstraZeneca’s desire to put patients at the core of everything we do and our commitment to finding new ways to support patients’ health.


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