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Researchers find “simple” methods to prevent heart attacks and stroke worldwide

Posted on Tuesday, 5 April 2016 18:56

Three simple solutions to prevent heart attacks and stroke worldwide have been proven effective by an international team led by Hamilton medical researchers.

The research team from the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) of McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences studied more than 12,000 patients from 21 countries, including South Africa, to evaluate drugs that can prevent the cardiovascular diseases (CVD). These diseases lead to 18 million deaths and about 50 million heart attacks and strokes globally every year.

“These are incredibly important findings with potential for significant global impact,” said Dr. Salim Yusuf, principal investigator. “If just 10 percent of the world’s population at intermediate risk of CVD are impacted, we’re talking about 20 to 30 million people who could be helped by these drugs.”

The three methods examined included two established forms of therapy that of statins, a group of cholesterol-lowering drugs, and antihypertensives, a class of drugs used to treat high blood pressure. In addition, a combination of statins and antihypertensives was reviewed.

Three studies on the methods were published today in the New England Journal of Medicine. Under the name of HOPE-3, or Heart Outcomes Prevention Evaluation-3, the studies involved 228 centres looking at the effects of the three treatments in people at intermediate risk of, but without, clinical heart disease.

In South Africa the study was led by the National leader, Prof. Karen Sliwa, Director Hatter Institute of Cardiovascular Research, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa and Saheart president.

Statins proved to significantly and safely reduce CVD events by 25 per cent in patients at intermediate risk without CVD. Antihypertensives did not reduce major CVD events overall in the population studied, but did reduce such events in the group of people with hypertension, but not in those without hypertension. When combined, statins and antihypertensives reduced CVD events by 30 per cent—with a 40% benefit in those with hypertension, suggesting that patients with hypertension should not only lower their BP but also consider taking a statin.

The HOPE-3 research reports were led by Yusuf and Dr. Eva Lonn, both professors of medicine of McMaster’s Michael G. De Groote School of Medicine, and Jackie Bosch, an associate professor of the university’s School of Rehabilitation Science.

“The HOPE-3 trial brings clarity in the management of blood pressure and cholesterol, two of the most common cardiovascular risk factors,” said Lonn. “Primary prevention can be greatly simplified and made available to most intermediate-risk people worldwide.”

Bosch added: “Treatment with a statin was remarkably safe and beneficial in our study, regardless of cholesterol or blood pressure levels, age, gender or ethnicity. We are incredibly encouraged by the study’s results.”

‘”The Hope-3 trail is highly  important for South Africa as there has recently been  a substantial public debate about the long-term safety of statin treatment – this debate can now be put to rest as patients received treatment with statins over a period of up to 10 years’” said Prof. Karen Sliwa. “Stroke places a major burden of disease in South Africa- primary prevention using a statin could have a major impact as the agents have recently come of patent and are now more affordable.’’

HOPE-3’s findings will have a major influence on primary care in developed nations, where statins and antihypertensives are inexpensive, Yusuf added.  While still relatively inexpensive in developing nations, the drugs are less affordable in relation to income. Still, Yusuf said the study’s results hold promise everywhere as the price of these drugs start to come down.

“These simple methods can be used practically everywhere in the world, and the drugs will become even cheaper as more and more systems and people adopt these therapies,” he said.

Yusuf, Lonn and Bosch are presenting the HOPE-3 trials at the 2016 American College of Cardiology (ACC) Scientific Session and Expo in Chicago this weekend.

The HOPE-3 study is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and AstraZeneca.


For more information, contact:
Veronica McGuire
Media co-ordinator
Faculty of Health Sciences
McMaster University
905-525-9140, ext. 22169

In South Africa: Prof. Karen Sliwa, MD, PhD, FESC, FACC

  1.     Director: Hatter Institute of Cardiovascular Research in Africa, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa.


  1.     Sa Heart President


Cell: +27 834574823

Last updated Wednesday, 6 April 2016 15:20

SA Heart President nominated president-elect of WHF

Posted on Wednesday, 9 March 2016 12:21

SA Heart is proud to announce, that our current president, Prof Karen Sliwa, has been nominated as one of two candidates for president-elect for the World Heart Federation (WHF) for the term starting 1 January 2017.

The formal selection process will be carried out during the General Assembly of the World Heart Federation to be held in Mexico City on the 6th June 2016 during the World Congress of Cardiology.

As the WHF nomination committee puts it:

The Committee were impressed by the interest expressed by our members in nominating the best possible candidates for these positions. This enabled the Committee to have a fruitful discussion on the skills and competencies needed to lead the World Heart Federation over the coming years.  The members of the Committee recognise that you both demonstrate excellence in your contribution towards cardiovascular health in your respective countries, region and globally.

We congratulate Prof Sliwa and wish her all success for the election. Whatever the outcome of the election between Prof Sliwa and Dr Jagat Narula, the other candidate, Prof Sliwa will be assured of a place on the WHF Board in 2017-19.

SASCI Breaking News - Competition Commission HMI

Posted on Wednesday, 24 February 2016 14:11

For the first time SASCI (a Special Interest Group of SA Heart Association) presented cardiologists in a public forum to raise concerns on the inequalities in the private medical sector.


A delegation from SASCI lead by Dave Kettles (SASCI President) and JP Theron (Chair SA Heart PPC and SASCI PPC) and Dave Jankelow (SASCI PPC), George Nel (SASCI Executive Officer), Joe Botha (SASCI PPC Liaison) and Shakira Ramlakhan (Legal Representative Elsabe Klinck Consulting) used the opportunity on Thursday 18 February to address the Competition Commission Health Market Inquiry (HMI) in Pretoria during a marathon 2 hour session (incl. more than an hour of Q and A from a very interested and engaged panel). The HMI Chairperson is Former Chief Justice Sandile Ncgobo.


SASCI raised and address some key issues including -

  1.       The relationship between interventional cardiologists and their patients.
  2.       The power imbalance which results in patient disempowerment and disenfranchisement by the funder.
  3.       Lack of access to innovation and administrative roadblocks.
  4.       Access as a function of affordability AND availability:
  5.        Legal impediments leading to inadequate remuneration for professional services and impact on patient access to cardiologist care
  6.       The availability of cardiologists to treat patients in future
  7.       Rising complexity and the cost in the environment in which specialists practice.


Please find the YouTube video of the full presentation at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cn_elW48X0. Dave Kettles presentation starts at 49:50. The SASCI presentation will be made available on our website at www.sasci.co.za.


We wish to thank Dave Kettles and JP Theron whom spearheaded preparation and presented on the day as well as SASCI PPC members Jean Vorster and Gavin Angel, and from SA Heart Zaid Mohammed whom raised the issues and put it firmly on the table.


Various press engagements occurred immediately after the presentation and these will be circulated by follow-up mail and be available on our website.


-          This included an interview with Dave Kettles on 702 (Friday Midday Report).

-          http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/2016/02/19/Medical-aids-pester-docs-over-patient-care

-          http://www.netwerk24.com/Nuus/Gesondheid/kansa-kardioloe-siekefondse-belet-sommige-behandelings-20160218


We request that our members refer interested parties to the SASCI Office for follow-up and appropriate engagement

Last updated Friday, 20 May 2016 14:07

Collaboration with EHRA

Posted on Thursday, 18 February 2016 15:30

The European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA), a sub-speciality group of the European Society of Cardiology approached the South African Heart Association (SA Heart), the Cardiac Arrhythmia Society of South Africa (CASSA) and the Pan African Society of Cardiology (PASCAR) for closer collaboration. the EHRA president, Prof Gerhard Hindricks from Germany, Prof Christophe Leclercq from France and Prof Peter Schwartz from Italy together with Svya Karaim Fanchon from the European Heart House met with Drs Andrew Thornton and Ashley Chin from CASSA to learn more about each other’s activities and structures and challenges and to discuss possibilities for collaboration in different aspects. 

Prof Karen Sliwa, president of SA Heart, was host to these meetings. The group started off with a discussions over dinner, proceeded with an intense meeting the next morning and concluded with a joint symposium on The Challenges on Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) at the Hatter Institute for Cardiovascular Research in Africa, to which SA Heart members in the Cape region and others were invited. The international contingency immensely enjoyed their short stay and ensured they would be back.

Delegates and speakers ofthe Sudden Cardiac Death Symposium during lunch at the Hatter Institute for Cardiovascular Research in Africa


EHRA-Saheart-CASSA.2.jpg 1.2M 18 Feb 16 15:30

SA Heart – new members on Exco and SA Heart NPC

Posted on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 13:35

SA Heart welcomes the new office bearers on the SA Heart Executive Committee whose tenure started with effect of the AGM on 26 October 2015.

Dr Liesl Zühlke has joined as president-elect of SA Heart, Prof Stephen Brown has been voted new vice president of SA Heart and Dr Sajidah Khan will take over the role as SA Heart secretary.

big thank you to Drs Adriaan Snyders, David Jankelow and Robbie Kleinloog who served in various capacities on committees and the executive over the past years. All three will remain active within the SA Heart structures, Dr Snyders as national champion of the SA Heart/SASCI early reperfusion STEMI project, Dr Jankelow in his tireless efforts assisting the Private Practice Committee in particular with issues with Funders as well as convenor of the SA Heart congress 2017 and Dr Kleinloog as convenor of the 26th World Congress of the World Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons in 2016 which will incorporate the 17th Annual Congress of SA Heart.

The registration of the SA Heart Association Non Profit Company (NPC) has been finalised this week. We welcome Profs Karen Sliwa and Francis Smit as ex-officio members in their capacity of president and treasurer respectively as well as the elected members Drs Hellmuth Weich, Sajidah Khan and Belinda Mitchell to the Board of Directors of the NPC. The SA Heart Association and the SA Heart NPC will run concurrently until the end of the financial year – 29 February 2016 – when the Association will be fully dissolved and the NPC take its place from 1 March 2016.

The Executive Committee will remain in place and function as before, promoting the objectives of the company, acting as spokesperson locally and abroad and giving strategic guidance to the Board. The Board will be in charge of the daily administration of the company, fulfil functions as per Companies Act, keep accounts, collect subscriptions and prepare financial report and budgets for the General Assembly as well as be responsible for the National Central Office and retaining services of staff.



Annual reports of the SA Heart President, Committees and other groups

Posted on Thursday, 29 October 2015 16:38

The annual activity reports of the SA Heart President, Prof Karen Sliwa, as well as annual reports from all the SA Heart Standing Committees, Projects, Special Interest Groups and Regional Branches are now available on the SA Heart website and also in the newest SA Heart Newsletter Spring 2015.


ESC Congress 2015 Report, London

Posted on Monday, 19 October 2015 16:26

Dr Anthony Dalby has provided a summary report  on THE EUROPEAN SOCIETY OF CARDIOLOGY MEETING 2015 in London.

To earn CPD points by completing a questionnaire based on this report, kindly go to 




Report on ESC 2015 London.pdf 309.5K 19 Oct 15 16:26

Last updated Saturday, 24 October 2015 13:30

Comprehensive programme for allied professionals at SA Heart Congress 2015

Posted on Monday, 28 September 2015 10:20

The 2015 SA Heart Congress includes an intensive and comprehensive programme for allied professionals working in cardiology.

 To be held this year at Sun City, the Congress includes two dedicated tracks for allied professionals running from 14h00 – 17h00 on Monday, 26 and Tuesday, 27 October.

 Two pre-congress post graduate courses of specific interest to allied professionals will also be held on Sunday afternoon, 25 October, prior to the official opening of the Congress at 18h00:

  •        A post-graduate course on Radial Intervention sponsored by Terumo and featuring prestigious international faculty, will run from 13h00 – 17h00.
  •        An echocardiographic workshop, of specific interest for clinical technologists, will be conducted by members of SA Heart and the Mayo Clinic from 12h00 – 17h00. 


Additionally, allied professionals will have the opportunity of attending the general plenary sessions being held on Monday morning, October 26, as well as one of three sessions on Tuesday morning, comprising hot messages from ESC London 2015, a TAVI mini symposium, or a paediatric session focusing on Lvoto and Coarctation.

 The specialist track for allied professionals on Monday afternoon, October 26, will focus on Heart in Shock case reports and the pharmacological management of patients with cardiogenic shock.


Key themes to be covered by the allied professionals’ track on Tuesday afternoon, October, 27 include:


  •        Challenging cases – focusing on how clinical technologists, radiographers, cathlab and EP nurses contribute individually towards ensuring successful patient outcomes
  •        The lessons that can be learned from challenging cases – focusing on aortic aneurysm, calcified lesion, and a radial example.
  •        A final review of key messages by ISCAP chairperson, Dianne Kerrigan.


For full programme details and to register for SA Heart Congress and the pre-congress post-graduate courses, visit http://saheartcongress2015.co.za. For queries, contact Europa Organisation Africa on (011) 325 0020, or email kerrie@eoafrica.co.za

Cardiac surgery and intervention highlights at SA Heart 2015

Posted on Friday, 25 September 2015 15:08

Interventional procedures and cardiothoracic surgery feature prominently at SA Heart Congress 2015, to take place from Sunday, 25 – Wednesday 28, October at Sun City in the North West province.


Cardiac intervention

 Held under the auspices of the SA Society of Cardiovascular Intervention (SASCI), the adult interventional stream at the congress features four prominent international faculty, who include Drs Robert Byrne (Germany), Jacek Legutko (Poland), Ariel Roguin (Israel) and Ralf Birkemeyer (Germany).

 Although Dr Byrne is a newcomer to South Africa, he is a stalwart of the PCR community and is regularly featured on Medscape.

 The interventional stream commences with a half-day, post-graduate course on Sunday, October 25, hosted by Terumo, with the entire afternoon being dedicated to the topic of radial intervention. Veteran radialists will provide tips and tricks on all aspects of radial angiography/intervention that will prove to be useful for both novices and established radialists alike.

 At one of the opening plenary sessions at the Congress, Dr Farrel Hellig will be focusing on the results and future developments pertaining to a fellowship being offered by the South African private sector in interventional cardiology. Congress chairman, Professor Francis Smit will complement this presentation by focusing on the African cardiac interventionist of the future from a public healthcare perspective.

 During the Monday afternoon interventional track, Dr Robert Byrne, a newcomer to South Africa, but a stalwart of the PCR community who features regularly on Medscape cardiology, will address the difficult topic of triple anti-thrombotic therapy following stent implantation. He will also provide insights into technological developments with newer DES and their impact on clinical outcomes. Although the primary focus during the interventional track will be on improving patient care, a notable topic of interest will be “Risks to the interventional cardiologist in the cath lab,” to be addressed by Prof Ariel Roguin from Israel.

 A STEMI update will take place on Tuesday morning, with Prof Bernard Gersh (USA) focusing on reperfusion therapy for STEMI in 2015, Prof Fausto Pinto (Portugal) weighing up the best combination for the pharmaco-invasive strategy, Dr Carlos Agular (Portugal) discussing the management of cardiogenic shock and Dr Byrne (Germany) debating whether there is consensus regarding the management of multi-vessel disease in STEMI.  

 The cardiac surgery track

 The cardiothoracic surgery track commences with a pre-congress, post-graduate course on Sunday afternoon, with international faculty including Drs Carlos Mestres (Spain), Volkmar Falk (Germany) and Manuel Antunes (Portugal).

 Initial presentations will focus on the future challenges of coronary artery surgery and whether the off pump CABG is a passing fad. The diagnostic, surgical and peri-operative challenges of constrictive pericarditis will be examined by four speakers, with Dr Carlos Mestres from Spain sharing perspectives on pericarditis from the industrialised world.

 Late afternoon presentations will cover minimally invasive mitral valve surgery by Prof Volkmar Falk (Germany) and mitral valve repair in 2015 by Dr Manuel Antunes (Portugal).

 During the first plenary session on Monday, October 26, Prof Charles Yankah (Germany) will discuss an approach to cardiac surgery development in Africa. This will be followed in the second plenary session by Dr Martin Sussman discussing whether the development of a surgical fellowship in the South African private sector makes sense.

 A two-hour session on TAVI takes place on Tuesday morning, October 27, with Prof Volkmar Falk (Germany) sharing perspectives on the development, results and future of TAVI and Prof Pascal Dohmen (Germany) debating whether TAVR and sutureless aorta valves are complementary or competitive procedures. Dr Helmuth Weich will discuss the long term outcomes of TAVI and TAVI in the young, with Dr Farrel Hellig concluding the session by discussing the management of para-valvular leak and valve failure.

 Half-day courses on Tuesday afternoon include the options of a Valvular Mini Symposium or a special focus on Perfusion.

 The Congress concludes on Wednesday, 28 October with a half-day course focusing on Heart Failure in Sight, with international speakers featuring Drs Volkmar Falk, Charles Yankah and Mattias Roser from Germany, Alexandre Mebazaa (France), Bernard Gersh (USA) and Manuel Antunes (Portugal). 

For full programme details, and to register for the radial intervention or cardiac surgery post-graduate courses, visit http://saheartcongress2015.co.za. For queries, contact Europa Organisation Africa on (011) 325 0020, or email enquiries@eoafrica.co.za

September Heart Month:

Posted on Friday, 18 September 2015 15:47

 Message from the Heart and Stroke Foundation : 7 ways to spring clean your heart


7 steps to spring clean your heart.pdf 282.2K 18 Sep 15 15:47

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