Author + information
- Joe Flower, MA*,
- Leonard S. Dreifus, MD, MACC*,
- Alfred A. Bové, MD, PhD, FACC† and
- William S. Weintraub, MD, FACC‡
The fiftieth anniversary of the ACC and the end of the twentieth century are arbitrary points in time, yet they seem to coincide with a true watershed. The last 50 years have brought a rush of new techniques and understandings that have, for the first time, given cardiovascular specialists real tools to prevent and fight cardiovascular disease. Only now, for the first time, has science begun to understand exactly what happens when plaque forms in an artery, when heart muscle fibers cross-link and weaken, when an atrial chamber fibrillates, and when heart muscle cells die en masse after a heart attack. We are beginning to track down the actual chemical, mechanical, and electrical pathways by which the heart is damaged or dies. When we can interfere with those pathways and stop the chain of events, we will have defeated heart disease.
Imagination is rapid, but progress is often both uncertain and slow because of the many constraints of cost, regulation, and time needed to test and evaluate new developments. Yet we can now foresee a future in which medical science might actually defeat cardiovascular disease the way it has defeated polio, smallpox, and other serious scourges of the past.
- the American College of Cardiology