Heart specialists from around the world meet this weekend in Orlando, Florida to discuss landmarks developments in battling cardio disease.
The 58th annual convention of the American College of Cardiology is set to learn the results of some 30 clinical trials and join forces with economists to discuss health care reform.
The conference kicks off with a special session devoted to examining the Jupitar trial, after the first results released late last year revealed that the world's most popular anti-cholesterol drug Crestor could reduce the risk of heart problems by 44 percent.
"It's going to be a very exciting meeting ... we are highlighting the Jupiter trial and what the results mean," said ACC president Douglas Weabver.
The study of nearly 20,000 men and women aged 50 and above demonstrated that controlled use of Crestor reduced the combined risk of stroke, arterial re-vascularization, and death from cardiovascular causes among patients who currently do not have a high risk of developing heart disease.
The key question in the cardio community is whether the results could be applied to millions of people without a high risk of cardiovascular disease but with elevated levels of C-reactive protein -- a sign of artery inflammation.
At the conference three cardiologists who examined the reams of Jupiter data will present their analysis.
"Jupiter is such an important trial with so much data," stressed Weaver on a conference call with reporters, adding that the results of a survey of the organization's 28,000 members on the Jupiter trial's significance would be also presented at the convention.
In total the results of 31 clinical trials, divided into six sessions each corresponding to a different theme, will fill the weekend.
The results of the so-called STICH trial, a study conducted in 15 countries aimed at determining what treatment or combinations of treatments works best for heart failure, will be closely watched.
Heart failure impacts some five million Americans, mostly from the result of heart attack, hypertension or diabetes.
The goal of STICH was to assess the effectiveness of early surgery compared with other medical treatments, and then later surgical treatment if necessary.
An analysis of the costs involved in the different treatment for cardio failure will be presented, said Weaver.
Issues surrounding health care reform will also be examined by a panel of economists and cardiologists, he added.
AAC chair Aaron Kugelmass is set to discuss the implications of the Heinz Nixdorf Recall study, which investigated the build-up of coronary artery calcium, and the impact of Omega-3 fatty acids on cardiovascular disease.
Another of the major studies presented at the conference will be the TIPS trial that assessed the impact of combining three drugs to reduce blood pressure, a move that proponents of a polypill method said could reduce multiple risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of mortality in the United States, with more than 900,000 deaths per year, and a major cause of death world wide. Some 17.5 million people died in 2005 from heart diseases, according to World Health Organization.