Continents & conferences

When the Heart Rhythm Society’s scientific session kicks off next week, it likely will include a healthy contingent of presenters and attendees from outside the U.S. The international mix is especially beneficial in fields that depend on innovative technologies.  

Renal denervation took center stage at the American College of Cardiology’s annual blowout at the end of March. It was old news that the rigorous randomized controlled clinical trial SYMPLICITY HTN-3 missed its efficacy endpoint. The questions was why, given the results showing substantial reductions in blood pressure in previous studies from Europe, Australia and elsewhere where the device had received CE mark.

Deepak L. Bhatt, MD, MPH, HTN-3’s lead investigator and an interventional cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Heart and Vascular Center in Boston, said in an interview after the conference that he was eager to exchange details about procedural aspects with the other studies’ researchers. Comparing techniques may shed light on how to proceed.

John D. Day, MD, chair of the HRS scientific session program committee and director of Intermountain Heart Rhythm Specialists in Murray, Utah, anticipated a good turnout in attendees from outside the U.S. this year, based on preregistration numbers. As with renal denervation, electrophysiology relies on many technologies as therapies for patients with arrhythmias, and these technologies evolve quickly.

Many devices and therapeutics also receive approval in Europe, Asia and elsewhere before—if ever—the FDA waves the flag of approval for marketing in the U.S. As a consequence, physicians in these countries sometimes have years of experience using devices such as radiofrequency catheters and cryoballoon systems for ablations in patients with atrial fibrillation.

These are insights that they can share with colleagues in the U.S. The conference rooms and hallways likely will be buzzing next week with formal and informal discussions.  

Please check in for updates from HRS.14, which runs from May 7-10 in San Francisco, to learn more about the latest advancements in the care of patients with rhythm disorders.

Candace Stuart

Cardiovascular Business, editor