Tough Times and the Winds of Change

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C.P. Kaiser, Editor

The month of March brings with it the winds of seasonal change. It also brings the annual American College of Cardiology meeting, whose scientific and educational sessions will carry messages of change and progress in cardiovascular medicine and practice. In this issue, we pick up on the theme of progress and examine how the latest advances, be they in technology or strategy, are helping providers cope with the challenging economic climate.

In our cover story, “Interventionalists Survey New Blood-Thinning Options,” we examine how the therapeutic regimen for anticoagulation therapy—that has been in place for 30 years—is experiencing a major shift. Results from several recent groundbreaking trials have introduced new drugs and/or drug combinations for physicians to consider when performing PCI. While it may be some time before facilities adopt wholesale these new therapies, our readers can learn from those on the front lines who are stepping gently into the future.

Stents are another area seeing enormous growth and change. Across the media channels of Cardiovascular Business, we have covered many of the cutting-edge trials with stents; however, the article on page 20 takes a different tack. We delve into the technology behind stents and detail why successive modifications have made a difference. You may prefer a stent with a particular drug-elution kinetic or one with a certain strut design. Whatever the case, this article will give you a foundation on which to build and make future choices as stent technology continues to evolve.

Meanwhile, the article “JUPITER’s Orbit Expands: How Far Should Preventive Statin Therapy Go?” investigates, perhaps, the darker side of progress. The JUPITER trial suggests that asymptomatic patients could benefit from statin therapy. But is that the final word? Can we as a nation afford such a bold medical move? We have interviewed practitioners intimately involved in the topic and their opinion and experience will help inform your decisions.

Tough times call for imaginative thinking and nowhere is this more evident than in the cath lab where vendors have formed strategic alliances that offer more comprehensive choices for interventionalists. For example, vendors who offer intravascular ultrasound and fractional flow reserve have teamed with fluoroscopy vendors. These partnerships, like others we highlight, smoothly integrate or make more accessible technologies that have heretofore been more cumbersome to perform or initiate in the cath lab.

Cardiology is clearly marching down the path of progress. In these challenging economic times, we offer you informed and intelligent articles. It is our goal to provide practical information so that you can make decisions, earlier in the revenue cycle, to boost your bottom line and improve patient care. The winds of change don’t have to be disruptive. In fact, as this issue of Cardiovascular Business demonstrates, they can be quite instructive.