News in brief: Australian webinar to host international cardio-oncology experts; Top awards for cardiovascular researchers; IHCA outcomes poor despite MET teams 

Thursday, 9 Dec 2021

Australian webinar to host international cardio-oncology experts

Dr Bonnie Ky

Australian clinicians with an interest in cardio-oncology are hosting a webinar on Friday 17 December with international experts to discuss how to manage the cardiovascular toxicities of new cancer therapies that have delivered impressive improvements in survival and yet may create issues around quality of life.

The webinar is hosted by Associate Professor Aaron Sverdlov, Director of Heart Failure and Clinical Lead, Cardio-Oncology Program, University of Newcastle, NSW, and Associate Professor Doan Ngo, Co-Director of Cardio-Oncology research program, University of Newcastle.

The first webinar will feature Dr Bonnie Ky,  Director, Penn Center for Quantitative Echocardiography, Philadelphia, USA, discussing “Advancing Cardio-Oncology Clinical Care & Biomarker Science’. It will also feature Dr Darryl Leong, Director, Cardio-Oncology Program, McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences, Canada, discussing cardio-oncology in prostate and breast cancer.

“Cardiovascular disease is now the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among cancer survivors,” says Associate Professor Sverdlov.

“Throughout these webinars we will hear from experts on how we can potentially improve cardiovascular health outcomes for people living with and beyond cancer through better management and mitigation of cardiotoxicity risk while maintaining effective cancer therapies, emerging diagnostic and risk stratification tools and enhanced models of care.”

For more information and to REGISTER click here.

Top awards for cardiovascular researchers

The Australian Cardiovascular Alliance (ACvA) has named its top researchers for 2021. This year’s Game Changer Award goes to Royal Melbourne Hospital cardiothoracic surgical trainee Dr Sarah Scheuer who, with a team of “world class researchers”, identified Fraser Island funnel web spider venom-derived drug candidate Hi1a that can “prevent tissue damage caused by heart attack or stroke and can extend the life of donor hearts”.

This could improve functional and quality of life outcomes for patients and allow donor hearts to travel greater distances, “increasing the pool of available donors and recipients”, the ACvA website read.

Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health Senior Research Principal Professor Clive May took out the Translation Award for his “extraordinary” contribution to translational medicine, having “revolutionised the management of septic shock” with “pioneering surgical techniques and devices” that have saved “thousands of lives” since their FDA and EMA approval.

“Most recently, his research using intravenous megadoses of Vitamin C has already saved the life of one critically-ill septic patient with COVID-19 in Melbourne,” according to the ACvA.

Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute Neuropharmacology Laboratory Head Professor Geoffrey Head got the Mentor Award for his “enormous contributions to major advances in blood pressure research and management for patients” as a researcher and mentor.

He’s mentored over 100 students and early/mid career researchers in Australia and overseas, many of whom have won medals, published papers, sat on executive committees, are leaders in their fields and are paying it forward, according to the ACvA.

IHCA outcomes poor despite MET teams

Dedicated Medical Emergency Teams (MET) make no difference to in-hospital cardiac arrest (IHCA) rates, a Victorian study suggests.

The audit of 176 IHCA episodes at Box Hill Hospital saw IHCA prevalence remain unchanged between 2012 and 2017, even with the addition of a dedicated MET service.

During the study period, 65.3% of IHCA patients died in hospital, with survival affected by initial rhythm ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation, cardiac monitoring at time of arrest and time to return of spontaneous circulation.

IHCA is an uncommon and challenging problem, associated with high mortality, the authors wrote in the Internal Medicine Journal.

“Further studies focusing on identification and detection of high-risk patient cohorts and prevention of deterioration to cardiac arrest are necessary, as are studies on novel therapies that may enhance survival, such as extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation”, they concluded.

Australian cardiologists with an interest in cardio-oncology are hosting a webinar with international experts to discuss how to manage the toxicities of new cancer therapies that have deleivered impressive improvements in survival and yet may create issues around quality of life.

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