By Jonathan Springston, Editor, Relias Media

Major advances in testing, vaccines, and other therapeutics for COVID-19 have dominated healthcare research headlines in 2021 — and rightfully so. However, as the American Heart Association (AHA) noted this week, there have been major advances in other areas of medical research that are worthy of praise.

AHA highlighted some research that received extensive coverage in Relias Media publications in 2021. For example:

  • Over the summer, the FDA approved a new treatment for chronic weight management, an under-the-skin injection version of semaglutide, a glucagon-like peptide receptor agonist initially approved to treat type 2 diabetes.
  • A randomized, controlled trial of the influenza vaccine vs. placebo in patients with acute myocardial infarction or at high risk for coronary artery disease inoculated during the index hospitalization showed a lower risk of the combined endpoint of death, myocardial infarction, or stent thrombosis at one year.
  • Investigators published evidence that appears to support the efficacy of mobile stroke units (MSU), specially equipped ambulances that essentially bring treatment to patients experiencing ischemic strokes. In a multicenter trial, researchers found patients treated on an MSU received clot-busting medication faster and demonstrated better health at 90 days than patients who were transferred to the hospital for treatment via traditional ambulance.

Elsewhere, researchers debated the best treatment options for children afflicted with multisystem inflammatory syndrome, tested the optimal screening techniques for older heart failure patients to detect transthyretin cardiac amyloidosis, and trialed pharmacological options for chronic heart failure with reduced ejection fraction and chronic kidney disease associated with type 2 diabetes.

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