Conference Highlights: ASE 2012

New research was presented at ASE 2012, the American Society of Echocardiography’s 23rd Annual Scientific Sessions, from June 30 to July 3 in Maryland. The features below highlight just some of the studies that emerged from the conference. Echocardiograms for Diagnosing Pulmonary Hypertension The Particulars: Patients with stable heart failure who have high pulmonary artery systolic pressure are at increased risk for adverse outcomes. A reliable method is needed for measuring pulmonary artery systolic pressure in this patient population. Data Breakdown: Emory University researchers used echocardiography to diagnose pulmonary hypertension— defined as pulmonary artery systolic pressure higher than 45 mm Hg—in stable outpatients with heart failure. Echocardiography was found to strongly predict higher risk of clinical events. The testing also helped determine which patients would have higher hospitalization rates. Take Home Pearl: Pulmonary artery systolic pressure as measured by echocardiography appears to provide important prognostic information for patients with stable heart failure. Ultrasonography Helps Predict Atherosclerosis The Particulars: The incidence of peripheral arterial disease is rising throughout the United States. However, data from large population-based samples on the prevalence of subclinical atherosclerosis in the peripheral arteries are lacking. Data Breakdown: Investigators in a study used ultrasound exams to look for the presence and degree of popliteal arterial plaque as a predictor of atherosclerosis. Popliteal artery atherosclerosis was prevalent among patients aged 40 or younger who were at risk for becoming obese and/ or having diabetes. Popliteal artery atherosclerosis was independently associated with older age and albuminuria. Urinary albuminuria was also linked with the severity of atherosclerotic plaque burden in the popliteal arteries. Take Home Pearl: Among younger patients with...