Tempered enthusiasm

The introduction of a new treatment strategy often carries with it a hope of broadening options in patient care. Attendees at events such as the upcoming Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) conference in San Francisco anticipate that they will depart with knowledge of safer, more effective techniques, devices or drugs that they can apply to patient care.

Drug-eluting stents (DES) are a case in point. Where before, researchers evaluated DES vs. bare-metal stents, they now compare newer generation DES to determine which patient population benefits (or doesn’t) from these devices. Look to results from the SORT-OUT VI and DUTCH PEERS late-breaking clinical trials to add clarity on that topic.

Will transradial PCI prove safe for women? SAFE-PCI may answer that question. Will results from OPTIMIZE or ARCTIC-INTERRUPTION be compelling enough to change antiplatelet practice? And there is transcatheter heart valves, sidebranch stents and other technologies on the docket, too.

Cardiovascular Business will be reporting findings as they become available at TCT.13, which runs from Oct. 28 through Nov. 1. Keep an eye out for daily coverage and special newsletters. I am looking forward to hearing discussions after clinical trial presentations and the debut of “TCT Goes Tablet.” Kudos to TCT’s sponsors for not only showcasing innovation but intertwining it into the conference experience.

Or maybe that should be conference experiment. The tablet initiative will allow for real-time participation by attendees through chat rooms available during presentations. That is not without its risks but also has the potential to make a mega-conference personal and enriching.

New technologies carry risks as well. More safety reports on dabigatran (Pradaxa, Boehringer Ingelheim) serve as a reminder that we need to remain vigilant after a product enters the marketplace. The FDA has argued that heightened awareness from the buzz of a new drug accounts for the spike in adverse event reports; critics see its MedWatch program as an imperfect gauge for tracking outcomes. Still, it is worth watching.

It is good to have options, and even better to have follow-up to ensure that what looks promising at first blush continues to offer benefits in real practice.

See you at TCT.13.

Candace Stuart

Cardiovascular Business, editor