First Word: Cardiologists Respond to Haitian Tragedy, Ready for ACC.10

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 - C.P. Kaiser

Cardiologists might grumble about reimbursement and other healthcare challenges (and with good reason), but they certainly know where their hearts are. The devastation in Haiti following the earthquake on Jan. 12 produced an outpouring of help from the cardiology community that should be recognized. While we can’t list everyone, a few examples will show the spirit in action.

Dr. Dave Larson, medical director of the chest pain center in Ridgeview Medical Center, Minneapolis, and several colleagues already had their annual one-week trip to Haiti planned beginning Jan. 30 to work at Hospital Bon Samaritain. Following the earthquake, however, they regrouped, doubled up on supplies and invited an orthopedic surgeon not originally scheduled for the trip. (View images from Dr. Larson's trip to Haiti in the image gallery below.)      

The Minneapolis team in Haiti: (from left) Kelly McNeil, surgical technologist; Cindy, a physical therapist; Dave Larson, MD, Ginger Larson, RN, Paul Savaran, MD, anesthesiologist; Kevin Unger, MD, urologist; Pat Olson, OR technologist; Leslie Jeeger, MD, obstetrician; Dan Olson, MD, anesthesiologist; and Joe Twidwell, an attorney.

Dr. Chauncey Crandall from the Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center in Florida flew to Haiti with 1,200 pounds of medical supplies as part of a six-day mission aided by King’s Wings, a West Palm Beach-based charity. Crandall provided basic care and wound care from a field hospital and helped to establish an outreach/makeshift clinic to attend to 40 injured orphans.

Dr. Stanley Rich, who practices with the Lutheran Medical Group in Fort Wayne, Ind., was already providing primary care services in Haiti when the earthquake struck. Rich and a colleague converted their clinic into operating rooms and tended to the many patients with multiple fractures, internal bleeding, lacerations, burns and more.

These, and many others, deserve recognition and praise for their service.

ACC.10

Many cardiologists will gather this month in Atlanta for the annual ACC scientific meeting. The conference is an opportunity to share research, review practice skills and reconnect with friends and colleagues.

Sometimes the onslaught of new clinical data from meetings, however, can be daunting in terms of how and when to incorporate new procedures, drugs or devices into routine practice. In this issue of Cardiovascular Business, we connect some of those dots.

Longer-term, second-generation drug-eluting stent data are maturing and some interventionalists have a better idea of how, when and in whom to use these devices. But not everyone agrees about more at-risk patients.
New-generation ventricular assist devices for late-stage heart failure patients are proving to be game changers. The indications are expanding, but perhaps faster than the data define the optimal patient selection model.

SPECT imagers contemplate the future of outpatient services in light of drastic payment cuts. However, one practice is using its EHR to demonstrate appropriate ordering, and was thereby able to convince a local payor to waive SPECT preauthorization.

The Cardiovascular Business team will be in Atlanta, so look for our daily web coverage of clinical trials and educational sessions. In the meantime, we also offer an e-newsletter twice weekly and web-exclusive features—all the information you need to stay informed.

We hope to see you in Atlanta and, as always, we welcome your comments and feedback.