ACC Education Sessions Preview: Electrophysiology

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The field of electrophysiology (EP), particularly pertaining to ablations, has been reported to be growing faster than coronary interventions, and there are no signs that it will slow down. While the volume of coronary cath procedures has remained somewhat flat over the past year, EP labs have been expanding and adding new technology. For this reason alone, it behooves attendees at ACC.10, which begins on Saturday, March 13, to take in some of the exciting EP lectures being presented at the conference.

One of the biggest topics in EP is whether transcatheter ablation should be the first-line treatment over anti-arrhythmic drugs in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). First results of the pilot CABANA study, being released in a late-breaking clinical trial session, could potentially indicate a new direction for this debate (see below for session details).

We reported a story today about two surgical ablation device companies that have settled with the U.S. Department of Justice over allegedly illegally marketing the devices for the treatment of AF. While many EPs use ablation catheters to treat AF, it is not illegal, jbut merely considered an off-label use. Device companies, however, cannot market these products for non-FDA-approved indications. EPs might encounter some resistance from savvy patients who will read about these lawsuits and determine the procedure is unsafe. I would venture to guess, however, that not many patients would choose a surgical Cox maze procedure over a transcatheter approach.

There are plenty of sessions examining best practices regarding how to treat abnormal cardiac rhythms. One session looks at dronedarone, a relatively new drug to treat AF versus older more established drug therapies.

The late-breaking clinical trials promise to be enlightening. Researchers tested various blood pressure control protocols in patients with AF. They also evaluated a cryoballoon ablation technique. Be sure to get to this session early as it promises to draw a large crowd.

The wheels of change are turning and perhaps nowhere faster than in the field of EP. At ACC.10, you can stay up to date with the latest news by receiving our daily news updates delivered to your inbox or mobile device. Be sure you’re signed up for Cardiovascular Business News at CardiovascularBusiness.com.

For educational sessions related to health IT, as well as other details, consult the session program onsite or visit here. To download a PDF of conference sessions, click here. To download the program to a mobile device, click here or here to download the program from your mobile device.  You can also download the final program to your eBook reader here