Get the latest updates from the first day of the American College of Cardiology's (ACC) 72nd Scientific Session & Expo.
The American College of Cardiology's 72nd annual scientific session and expo kicked off on Saturday, March 4, and featured the latest clinical trial data and therapeutic developments in the field of cardiology. What did we learn?
Lifelong Bachelors Face Poorest Prognosis with Heart Failure
Personal relationships have a measurable impact on health, according to a study presented at this year’s American College of Cardiology conference. Single men were twice as likely to die within five years after a heart failure diagnosis compared to women, and men who were previously married.
A session titled "Lifelong Bachelor Status Is Associated with Increased Mortality in Men With Heart Failure—A Secondary Analysis of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis,” took a look at the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, which evaluated 6,800 American adults between 45-84 years old. The gender and marital status of participants diagnosed with heart failure at year 10 of the study were assessed throughout a follow-up period of 4.7 years. Data adjustments were made to account for age and other known heart failure risk factors, as well as the impacts of mental health challenges such as depression and mood disorders.
Compared to women and married men, the results showed single men who never married were about 2.2 times more likely to die within five years of a heart failure diagnosis. Even if the men were widowed, divorced, or separated, if they once were married, they had the same advantage over men who never married. And marital status had no effect on the women’s survival rate.
More research is needed to uncover the exact link between bachelorhood and heart health, but isolation and lack of access to caregiver support may have an impact. A partner could help monitor the health, medication, and other needs of their spouse. Lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, and alcohol use also contribute to poor heart health. Experts believe the increased risk is likely a combination of these factors. Researchers recommend clinicians discuss home life with their patients and help establish a treatment plan based on their needs.
Clinical Trials Often Overlook Patients with Disabilities
According to a recent study presented at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session Together with the World Congress of Cardiology, 80 trials involving cardiovascular patients excluded people with disabilities concluding that people with disabilities are often overlooked in clinical trials. Studies have shown that over half of people who suffer from heart disease also have one or more disabilities.
This data was presented in a session titled “Disabilities Reporting in Clinical Trials. How Are We Doing?” This cohort was the first to examine the reporting and inclusion of people with disabilities in cardiovascular clinical trials. This study found that 38 percent of clinical trials excluded people with disabilities and only eight percent of trials reported people with a disability status as part of their baseline data.
Results also showed:
- 55% of disabilities were cited in exclusion criteria most often in hypertension trials
- 15% of disabilities were least often in diabetes trials
- The most common types of disability excluded were related to cognition or psychiatric issues, including Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia
- 3%-8% of trials excluded patients with disabilities related to mobility, vision, independent living, self-care, or hearing
Researchers found that many clinical trials established their own criteria for patients with disabilities, which could have led to more people being excluded and made the comparison of results more challenging. However, the CDC defines six categories of disability with specific criteria.