Tuesday's highlights from the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress - The Heart of the Matter: The latest in heart health research discoveries and innovations

MONTRÉAL, Oct. 25, 2016 /CNW/ - Cutting edge research! 10 years of heart failure guidelines: managing a complex disease in Canada. 

"Heart & Stroke is proud to partner with the Canadian Cardiovascular Society again this year for this gathering of the brightest and most innovative minds in cardiology in the world," says Mary Lewis, VP research, advocacy and health promotion, Heart and Stroke Foundation. "Heart disease is a leading cause of death and hospitalization. Learnings from this conference will build capacity for an even stronger cardiovascular community in Canada and lead to the development of life-saving treatments that will bring hope to our families."   

Tuesday, October 25 Conference Highlights:

Tick Talk: Heart implications in patients with Lyme disease: It's no secret that ticks are more than just a nuisance, that they don't just get "under our skin." Ticks can also carry a number of diseases, most notably Lyme disease which, unless diagnosed and treated quickly, can lead to significant health consequences affecting multiple organs. A multi-disciplinary team at Kingston General Hospital have been studying Lyme carditis, a cardiac complication that can occur in those who are infected with the disease. The team will provide evidence of the increasing prevalence of Lyme disease, its potential for complex cardiac issues, and point to the need for increased public awareness along with further education for healthcare providers to enable early diagnosis and treatment.  (Crystal Blakely, Kingston ON)


It's shockingly cold: Defibrillator shocks and extreme cold weather. A study coming out of Winnipeg - appropriately, Canada's coldest city - finds that the risk of shocks delivered from an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is higher in extreme cold and moderately cold weather. This finding is important to increase awareness about the relationship between colder temperatures and ventricular arrhythmias for both healthcare providers and patients. Although the study was performed in patients with defibrillators, the researchers say this may point to an association between life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias and extreme cold weather.
The average daily high (DH) temperature was found to be the strongest predictor of receiving an ICD shock. The daily high over the five-year study period was below zero Celsius in the months of December, January, and February. Of shocks received, 74% were appropriately delivered for ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation. Shocks were 25.6% more common on the coldest days (DH below-10 degrees C), and 9.3% more common on cold days (DH between -10 C and 10 C) compared to the warmest day (DH more than 10 degrees C). This linear trend is statistically significant. The temperature results were similar when only appropriate shocks were analyzed. (Justin Cloutier, Winnipeg, MB)


CCS guidelines rapid review: Cardiovascular guidelines are an invaluable resource not only for members of the cardiovascular community but for healthcare practitioners throughout Canada. Practice guidelines play an important role in helping to improve the quality of patient care and manage limited resources. Find out the newest evidence and recommendations on topics ranging from atrial fibrillation, implantable cardio-defibrillators, post cardiac arrest care, and perioperative cardiac risk assessment. (Canadian Cardiovascular Society)


Turning "cardiac rehab" into "cardiac pre-hab": Using cardiac rehab to prevent heart disease in people at risk. We know that up to 80 per cent of premature heart disease can be prevented by following a healthy lifestyle. What about people who have a family history? Genetic research is changing our understanding of heart disease, and what it could mean for diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Canadians who know their family history can take control of their risk factors and have the potential to change their genetic destiny.
Experts have taken a page from the cardiac rehab playbook and adapted its successful tools – lifestyle changes though education and motivation – to help prevent heart disease in people with family histories of heart disease and diabetes. The 12-week ACCELERATION research program, offered in Montreal, Halifax and Vancouver, presents its findings after three years of helping more than 3,000 people at risk improve their health – and keep them from needing rehab in the first place. Researchers present the findings after its third year. (Simon Bacon, Montreal QC & Paul Oh, Toronto, ON)


Ten years of heart failure guidelines: Managing a complex disease in Canada. It's a complicated, fatal and misunderstood condition. Many people with heart disease will eventually experience heart failure. There is no cure. Depending on severity of symptoms, half of heart failure patients die within five years, and most will die within 10 years. Since 2006 the Canadian Cardiovascular Society Heart Failure Management Guidelines have supported clinicians in practicing evidence-based care and best practices. A look at the guidelines' development, evolution, recommendations, and essential therapies both old and new. (Justin Ezekowitz, Edmonton, AB & Eileen O'Meara, Montreal, QC)


Heart repair goes 3-D: Researchers and cardiac surgeons have long been challenged to find effective ways to repair heart damage – to stabilize the area affected in patients who have had a heart attack and repair genetic cardiac defects.

Previous efforts have been met with some success using patches developed from biomaterials such as collagen and gelatin sponges. However, none of the materials developed so far have been able to conduct electricity, a vital part of heart function. This lack of conductivity can result in the patient's heart beating "out of sync" and lead to irregular heart activity known as arrhythmia.

A team of five researchers led by Dr. Ren-Ke Li at the Toronto General Research Institute set out to meet the challenge by developing a patch that can act in sync with the electrical activity of the heart. For their study, the investigators synthesized and tested a three-dimensional patch made from conductive biomaterial and evaluated it in terms of its tensile strength, conductivity and efficiency for cardiac repair.

The team reports that the patch passed the test with flying colours for its strength and ability to conduct electricity. Their evaluation also revealed that the implanted patch did not alter the growth of cells within the affected area of the heart. Healing in 3-D: toward better outcomes and improved quality of life for heart patients! (Sheng He & Ren-Ke Li Toronto, ON)


"We have been delighted that our new format has facilitated lively discussions and debates among participants who have come together to celebrate the valuable accomplishments of Canadian cardiovascular professionals," says Dr. Michelle Graham, 2016 scientific programme chair, on the final day of the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress.

CCC 2016 has seen leading researchers present close to 400 studies, along with 37 workshops, plenary sessions, lectures and much more. By attending, participants are familiarizing themselves with trends and new directions in cardiovascular medicine and research, exploring state-of-the-art innovations and participating in a series of sub-specialty workshops.


  • Heart disease is a leading cause of hospitalization and the second leading cause of death in Canada
  • Every seven minutes a Canadian dies from heart disease or stroke
  • Heart disease is a leading cause of disability, impacting millions of Canadians and their families
  • There are 1.3 million Canadians living with heart disease
  • This year in Canada, there will be an estimated
    • 70,000 heart attacks
    • 40,000 cardiac arrests
  • Nine in 10 Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease or stroke – that is more than 24 million Canadians
  • Millions of Canadians are at risk

The Canadian Cardiovascular Congress brings together over 3,500 heart health experts to exchange ideas and present the latest breaking research. It is being held in Montreal from October 22 to 25. #CCCMTL

Statements and conclusions of study authors are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect Foundation or CCS policy or position. The Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society make no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability.

The Canadian Cardiovascular Congress, the largest gathering of cardiovascular and allied health professionals in Canada, is co-hosted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society.

The Canadian Cardiovascular Society is the national voice for cardiovascular physicians and scientists. Its mission is to promote cardiovascular health and care through knowledge translation, professional development, and leadership in health policy.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation,a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke, reducing their impact through initiatives to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery. Healthy lives free of heart disease and stroke. Together we will make it happen.


SOURCE Heart and Stroke Foundation

For further information: For media interviews, please contact: Diane Hargrave, dhprbks@interlog.com, 416-467-9954, ext. 104; After October 26, 2016, contact: Jane-Diane Fraser, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, jfraser@hsf.ca, (613) 691-4020, Cell from Oct 21 to 25: 613-406-3282


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