Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute Researchers fill Leading Roles at ACC

By Jess Gomez

Cardiologists and heart researchers from throughout the world came to Washington, DC, last month for the American College of Cardiology's annual Scientific Session — where members of the research team from the Intermountain Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center presented more studies and clinical abstracts than any other heart program at the meeting.

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Participants at the conference represented some of the nation's leading heart treatment and research centers, including the Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, Duke University, and Johns Hopkins University.
 
"The fact that we had 16 poster and oral presentations — in addition to participating in a number of leadership activities — is quite remarkable," says Don Lappé, MD, Chief of Cardiology for the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute and Chair of Intermountain Healthcare's Cardiovascular Clinical Program.
 
"Our reputation among our peers as a premier heart research institution is growing nationally, as is our reputation for providing the highest quality of cardiovascular care available anywhere in the world," he says. "Our patients have long known that, and now the rest of the world is learning it as well."
 
Two examples of the Intermountain Heart Institute’s groundbreaking research. The Intermountain Heart Institute studies covered a variety of heart research projects. Two examples:
  • One study covered the discovery of a biological process that may help physicians predict when someone with heart disease is likely to have a heart attack in the near future. The team identified plasma levels of two markers — microRNA 122 and 126 — that appear to decline a few days before a person suffers a heart attack. Results of the study could help the 715,000 Americans who suffer from heart attacks each year.
  • In another study, Intermountain Medical Center researchers discovered that elevated levels of two recently identified proteins in the body are inflammatory markers that indicate the presence of cardiovascular disease. These newly identified markers of inflammation, GlycA and GlycB, have the potential to contribute to better understanding of the inflammatory origins of heart disease and may be used in the future to identify a heart patient’s future risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke, or even death. 
News coverage of Intermountain Medical Center’s research was picked up by media outlets across the country.
 
Other highlights from the American College of Cardiology’s annual meeting:
  • Benjamin Horne, PhD, Director of Cardiovascular and Genetic Epidemiology at the Intermountain Heart Institute, was awarded best poster presentation for his study, "Evaluation of Familial Clustering of Cardiac Valve Diseases to Empower Genetic Studies of High-Risk Pedigrees." Dr. Horne's poster was ranked in the top 10 percent of more than 3,500 posters at the conference.
  • Heart rhythm specialist John Day, MD, moderated a joint American College of Cardiology/Heart Rhythm Society discussion that examined the clinical benefits of cardiac ablation for the treatment of heart arrhythmias.
  • Jeffrey Anderson, MD, Intermountain Medical Center’s Director of Cardiovascular Research, participated in a number of American College of Cardiology leadership meetings and panel discussions, along with Brent Muhlestein, MD, and Dr. Lappé.
“This work is very impressive,” says David Grauer, Administrator of Intermountain Medical Center. “Our entire heart team is to be congratulated for the great work they do as one of our most visible programs on our campus. It’s exciting to see their research recognized on a national level and by peers whom we have great respect for.”
 
Members of the Intermountain Heart Institute research team included Benjamin Horne, PhD, MPH, Brent Muhlestein, MD, Deidra Duffin, Don Lappé, MD, Heidi May, PhD, MSPH, Jeffrey Anderson, MD, Jose Benuzillo, PhD, Mstat, Oxana Galenko, PhD, Seraphine Kapsandoy, Stacey Knight, PhD, Mstat, and Viet Le, MPAS, PaC. Researchers from the Intermountain Heart Institute Heart Failure and Treatment Program also presented research abstracts at the International Society for Heart & Lung Transplantation two weeks ago in San Diego.