What’s Next for Cardiac Research and Clinical Care?

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The American Heart Association hosted its annual Scientific Sessions in November. This week-long event provided an opportunity for clinicians, basic scientists, and researchers to discuss what’s new and what’s next for cardiac research and clinical care.

Here’s what Massachusetts General Hospital researchers and cardiologists found most interesting from this year’s sessions:

New guidelines for high blood pressure

Previous guidelines had considered blood pressure below 140/90 to be normal. The announcement at AHA that 130/80 is the new 140/90 came as big news to cardiologists. “We struggle on a daily basis with the management of patients with hypertension. So hopefully these guidelines will help us deliver better care recommendations,” said Malissa Wood, MD, Co-Director of the Women’s Heart Health Program.

Focus on personalization of care

Precision medicine, which takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle, has become a new area of focus. The discussions around precision medicine at this year’s AHA provided insight into how personalized care can be applied in the field of cardiac care. “The precision medicine summit gives me a good sense of where the field is and where the field is going over the next few years,” – said Steven Lubitz, MD, MPH, cardiac electrophysiologist at Mass General.

Issue of whether an individual can get too much exercise

There was much discussion around the impact of strenuous exercise on heart health. “Whether something that we know is inherently good for you can be overdone and actually start causing harm – this continues to be both a scientific and clinical topic that many of us are wrestling with,” – said Aaron Baggish, MD, Director of the Cardiovascular Performance Program.

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