Research Advances in Heart Failure: A Compendium
Without question, the last half century has witnessed spectacular advances in cardiovascular medicine and surgery. In the United States, a full two-thirds of the six-year prolongation of life that has occurred has been a direct consequence of these advances which did not spring forth simply from the heads of brilliant, insightful clinicians. Instead, most were based on preclinical research which was then translated into improvements in clinical care.
For instance, the microbiologists who connected streptococcal infection to acute rheumatic fever, and subsequently the discovery of penicillin by a microbiologist, an experimental pathologist, and a biochemist led to the virtual elimination of acute rheumatic fever which in turn was responsible for the marked reduction of chronic rheumatic valvular heart disease in large portions of the world. Almost all residual cases of the latter can now be corrected by open heart surgery or catheter-based techniques which were made possible by the efforts of bioengineers, pharmacologists, and physiologists collaborating with surgeons and cardiologists. The striking reduction in mortality of acute myocardial infarction that has occurred since 1960 would not have been possible had physicists not previously developed the cathode ray oscilloscope which enabled the continuous monitoring of the electrocardiogram, and if engineers had not developed the capacitors that store the electrical charge required for ventricular defibrillation. Without pharmacologists and cell biologists, statins, which are enormously useful in preventing the development and progression of atherosclerosis, would not have been developed. These are just a few examples of the seminal scientific efforts that have provided the underpinnings of modern cardiology. [Extract]
[Note: The full Compendium on Heart Failure will be published in the August 30, 2013 issue of Circulation Research.]
- Received July 22, 2013.
- Accepted July 24, 2013.