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Best papers on heart failure in one session

Heart Failure 2016 Congress News

This year’s best papers on the different areas of heart failure are brought together in a special session on Sunday May 22 taking place from 14.15-15.45. Marco Metra (Department of Experimental and Applied Medicine, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy), editor in chief of the European Journal of Heart Failure and one of the chairs of this special session expects a large audience. “Delegates like to attend sessions summarizing the best of a relatively large topic and giving clear take home messages”, he says. 

The session in which the best papers on heart failure will be covered addresses four major areas: biomarkers, imaging, devices and medical therapy. It focuses on articles published in 2015 as well as in the first months of 2016.

Prof. Metra sums up a few of the topics that will be presented: “Position statements are one of the wealths of our journal. Last year, we had a recommendation paper on the management of patients with acute heart failure, developed by the Heart Failure Association. We also had position statements on the Takotsubo syndrome and on acute right ventricular failure. These are two increasingly recognized entities, and their prognostic impact and treatment still need better evaluation.”

Moving to epidemiology, there are many publications highlighting the regional differences in the prevalence and incidence of heart failure.

“We have contributions from the Gulf Registry of Acute Heart Failure, reports from India, and a review from Asia which describes heart failure as a pandemic disease also in these countries”, Prof. Metra sums up.

The impact of geographical differences in heart failure trials is considered in several papers, including reviews. Other epidemiological data show the slight decrease in hospitalization and mortality between 2000-2010 in France, and the increase in comorbidities, as shown by a Danish study. Comorbidities attract a lot of attention, as more and more is known about their impact on heart failure.

“Among the comorbidities, cancer has recently become a major factor to take into account as its incidence may be increased in the patients with heart failure”, Prof. Metra explains. “However, it is not yet clear if this is just caused by an earlier diagnosis due to the tight control of the patients with heart failure.”

With regard to biomarkers, the relative value of the most recent ones is reviewed. Many articles have focused on their prognostic value, particularly in patients with acute heart failure and with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, compared with those with reduced ejection fraction.

There is an increasing interest in anticoagulation when it comes to treatment, Prof. Metra says.“A meta-analysis included the patients with heart failure enrolled in the trials comparing new oral anticoagulants (NOACs) versus warfarin and confirmed the benefit and better safety of NOACs. Anticoagulation may benefit also heart failure patients in sinus rhythm. Both evidence from observational studies and the design of an ongoing trial are among the highlights of the journal.”

Other interesting topics regard potassium lowering agents and iron therapy.

“We have seen that iron therapy may improve renal function in patients with heart failure. A pooled analysis demonstrated an improvement in the quality of life and a decrease in the hospitalization rates of the patients with heart failure”, Prof. Metra states.

The importance of the journal is emphasized by the high impact factor which was reached under the guidance of its previous editors.

“Currently, the journal has an impact factor of 6.526 which is the highest number for a journal dedicated to heart failure. It ranks 9th among all (120+) cardiology journals. This means that we are in an excellent position regarding submissions. They are being sent in from all over the world, with the United States as the absolute largest contributor.”

However, this popularity also comes with a disadvantage.

“We had to review so many papers and only accept less than 15%, although this number is higher for review articles and, obviously, invited editorials. This is a painful process and we may try our best to, at least, reduce the time taken for a final decision. However, you must be ready for the fact that some of the authors, colleagues and friends will not be satisfied”, Prof. Metra concludes.


View the session programme and access the resources on SP&P