Newswise — (SALT LAKE CITY)—Can a failing heart recover?

For many years, the answer to that question was unequivocally “No.” But as the University of Utah School of Medicine’s annual Utah Cardiac Recovery Symposium (U-CARS) will explore on Jan. 12-13, advances in treating heart failure are giving physicians, surgeons and researchers reason to hope the deadly disease might one day be defeated.

Now in its fifth year, the one-of-a-kind conference has been described as a “think tank” where national leaders will convene for the unique two-day event aimed at advancing the field of heart recovery. Presenters and attendees include hundreds of cardiologists, surgeons, radiologists, anesthesiologists, ER physicians, nurses, pharmacists and research scientists, each contributing their unique perspective.

Heart failure is caused by a weakened heart that cannot pump blood effectively, and the need to find ways to better treat the condition has never been greater. In the United States alone, the number of people with heart failure is expected to increase from 5.7 million to almost 8 million by 2030. Half of all those who get heart failure die within five years of diagnosis, an outlook worse than that for most cancers.

The impending reality has prompted the U’s heart recovery team, jointly led by Craig Selzman, M.D., cardiothoracic surgeon and U medical school professors Joseph Stehlik, M.D., M.P.H., and Stavros Drakos, M.D., Ph.D., to organize the yearly symposium.

“Our goal is to bring a group of health care providers and researchers together with the focused intent on understanding and implementing therapies to make a bad heart get better,” he says. “The U-CARS meeting brings thought leaders from around the country and the globe to exchange ideas, debate paradigms and share information focused on issues related to heart recovery and regeneration.”

Media are welcome to attend the keynote and any of the symposium’s eight sessions, which will feature several speakers covering topics such as the practical application of precision medicine to heart failure, peripheral vascular function in heart failure and recovery, and salvaging heart tissue in cases of acute coronary syndrome (“heart attacks” or sudden loss of blood to the heart).

Symposium HighlightsKeynote address - Valentin Fuster, M.D., Ph.D: A world-renowned cardiologist, editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and physician-in-chief of the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, Fuster has published more than 900 articles on coronary artery disease, atherosclerosis and thrombosis, and has received numerous awards in the United States and Europe for his research and teaching. His many research accomplishments include major discoveries involving the role of platelets in atherothrombotic disease and coronary artery bypass grafts, an important role of HDL in reversing lipid and macrophange plaques and many of aspects heart disease and failure.

Breaking Research - Mechanical Unloading and Recovery: the Utah Cardiac Recovery Program (UCAR) Approach (session 6): University of Utah investigators Frank Sachse, M.D., and Stavros Drakos, M.D., will present new data showing that specific changes in the microstructure of the heart muscle can predict recovery of cardiac function, providing new guidance on how to apply cardiac therapeutic interventions in day-to-day patient care.

Full descriptions are available on the U-CARS symposium website ( Click on the agenda link on the upper left side of the page. Note that all times are listed as Mountain Standard Time. The symposium will be live streamed during the event:

Agenda SummaryThursday, Jan. 12Keynote Address, 11-11:45 a.m. MSTThe Highlight of Current Cardiology: A Movement from Disease to Health• Valentin Fuster, M.D., Ph.D., Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai Cardiovascular Institute, New York City; Editor-in-chief, Journal of the American College of Cardiology

Session 1, 9-11 a.m.Defining Myocardial Recovery• Chairs: James Fang, M.D., University of Utah• Donald Lappe, M.D., Intermountain Medical Center, Salt Lake City

Session 2, 12:45-2:45 p.m.New Approaches to Achieve Cardiac Recovery• Chairs: Dean Li, M.D., Ph.D., University of Utah• Dale Abel, M.D., Ph.D., University of Iowa

Session 3, 3-4:30 p.m.Right Heart Failure and Recovery• Chairs: Stephen McKellar M.D., University of Utah• John Ryan, M.D., University of Utah

Session 4, 4:30-6:00 p.m.Defining the Role of Periphery in Heart Failure and Recovery• Chairs: Lillian L. Khor, M.B., M.S., University of Utah• Adrianna Torres Navas, M.D., Instituto de Cardiologia, Bogata, Colombia Friday, Jan. 13Session 5, 8-10:15 a.m.Mechanical Unloading and recovery: Moving Forward• Chairs: John Spertus, M.D., University of Missouri, Kansas City• Juan Mejia, M.D., Messejana Hospital, Fortaleza, Brazil

Session 6: 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.Mechanical Unloading and Recovery: the Utah Cardiac Recovery Program (UCAR)Approach• Chairs: Joseph Hill, M.D., Ph.D., University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas• Evangelia G. Kranias, Ph.D., University of Cincinnati

Session 7: 1:30-3:30 p.m.Oral Presentations of Best Abstracts• Chairs: Alejandro Bertolotti, M.D., Fundaction Favalaro, Buenos Aires• Joseph Stehlik, M.D., P.P.H., University of Utah

Session 8:1:30-3:30 p.m.Acute Heart Failure and Cardiac Recovery• Chairs: Fred Welt, M.D., University of Utah• Joseph E. Tonna, M.D., University of Utah

# # #A pioneer in treating advanced heart failure, the University of Utah School of Medicine is a fitting site for the symposium. U researchers and physicians were the first to develop and implant an artificial heart, and University of Utah Health Care continues to be at the forefront of cardiovascular and heart failure research and care today. NIH and AHA-supported research initiatives focus on uncovering genetic, metabolic and other contributors to heart disease, and development of new heart failure therapies.