CRT 2010 Seeks to Impact CV Practices Through New Technologies, Frank Discussions

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Ron Waksman, MD, Associate Chair, Division of Cardiology at Washington Hospital Center, Professor of Medicine, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

Cardiovascular Research Technologies (CRT) is an interventional cardiology boutique conference that is focusing this year’s content on how clinical, economic and regulatory considerations will “Impact Clinical Practice,” says course chairman Ron Waksman, MD. The conference takes place Feb. 21-23 in Washington, D.C.

Waksman, who is associate chair for the division of cardiology at Washington Hospital Center and a professor of medicine at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., says that the conference encompasses seven tracks, including Acute Coronary Syndrome & Acute MI Management; Structural Heart & Valve Therapies; and Vulnerable Plaque and Lipid Management.

The focus on lipid management is one way in which the meeting will “branch out from interventional cardiology, as is the day-long session on vulnerable plaque,” explains Waksman.

He also sees the conference as a forum for new technologies to be “critically evaluated” by scientists, technologists, Wall Street investors and FDA regulators. This year, CRT has designated two day-long workshops with FDA representatives, one focused on structural heart and valve therapies. While much of the valve workshop will focus on percutaneous valve repair, another, more contentious item on the agenda is to discuss which patients should receive aortic valve replacement in the early setting.

“We planned this workshop in anticipation of the first FDA advisory panel, expected to meet in 2010, about the Edwards’ Sapien heart valve,” Waksman notes. “In our workshop, we will try to mimic the panel through representatives of industry, the FDA, as well as investigators involved in the clinical trials of TAVI [transcatheter aortic valve implantation].”

In addition to the structural heart workshop, there will be a one-day session on acute coronary syndromes with a focus on antiplatelet agents—both currently approved agents and those which could enter the U.S. market in 2010 or 2011. The session also will tackle the issue of platelet responsiveness, and is expected to assess the results and implications of PLATO, CHAMPION, TRITON-TIMI 38 and GRAVITAS.

Also, the meeting will maintain its three-day focus on endovascular and peripheral interventions, which will incorporate a new section on ‘How to Set Up a Stroke Center.’

Another annual highlight from CRT has been the luncheon panels. At CRT 2010, there will be two luncheon symposia: One dedicated to increasing awareness on heart disease in women--the panel will include mainly female cardiologists. The other luncheon will include the FDA’s chief executive, a representative from Congress, a representative from Wall Street and CEOs from industry to discuss the implications of the healthcare reform bill—if one has been enacted at that point—on interventions.

Related to healthcare reform, this year’s keynote speaker will be former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, who will focus on a healthcare system of the future.

In evaluating CRT, Waksman notes that larger conferences are “excellent, but can present challenges for physicians to navigate due to their size.” He sees the smaller, boutique meetings presenting “clear take-home messages and skills for specialists.”

With this year’s theme of “Impact Your Clinical Practice,” Waksman adds that there are specific foci that interventionalist cardiologists and general cardiologists can embrace for their various practices, such as the radial approach, the transeptal approach and tailoring dose according to platelet responsiveness, among others.