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SCAI 2022 Scientific Sessions: A Productive Meeting

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SCAI 2022 Annual Scientific Sessions were just completed in Atlanta, Ga. Like so many society meetings this meeting represented an opportunity to resume a level of normality. In-person provided a much-appreciated opportunity for old friends and colleagues to meet, greet and exchange thoughts. Attendance was surprisingly good given the current challenges with air travel, rising COVID numbers in many areas as well as a competing conference, PCR, the European Society of Cardiology focused interventional course. One hopes that as scheduling hopefully again becomes more predictable going forward, such overlap will not happen as it does not support either society. 

Despite these challenges, the SCAI was quite representative of all levels of interventional cardiologists, from those in training, early career, main career and senior. As a past president, I see the SCAI a conference for “serious” interventionalists, emanating from Sones and Judkins, the founders who emphasized dedication and quality to the profession. So raw numbers can be deceiving. As always there was a quantity of quality interventionalists, experiences, leaders, scientists as well as cath lab directors. Thus, SCAI 2022 was an excellent learning environment for all attendees.

A highlight was the induction of the new Fellows (FSCAI) as well as the 2022 Master inductees including, Deepak L. Bhatt, MD, MPH, Joaquin E. Cigarro, MD, Thomas Fagan, MD, Marc D. Feldman, MD, Tim Fischell, MD, C. Michael Gibson, Dean J. Kereiakes, MD, Ahmed Magdy, MD, Oscar Mendiz, MD, Michael Savage, MD. representing the best of the best. 

The Annual Scientific Session always includes several named lectures, focusing on state-of-the-art topics. The HIldner Lecture named for Frank Hildner, a past president and founding editor of the Catheterization and Cardiovascular Intervention Journal was presented this year by the first editor of the inaugural SCAI Journal, J-SCAI, Dr. Alexandra Lansky. In her lecture entitled, Treatment Options for the Best Outcomes in Women, Dr. Lansky focused on clinical scenarios with worse outcomes in females such as calcified lesions, acute myocardial infarction (AMI), particularly for young women, who often present with more ambiguous symptoms. Even more striking are the results for women with AMI and cardiogenic shock who receive less diagnostic angiography, PCI and Mechanical Circulatory Support. Future studies need to assure appropriate female representation in trials as well as better understanding sex differences in appropriate treatment. 

Dr. Ziad Hijazi, a past president of the SCAI, presented the Mullins Lecture, honoring Charles Mullins, a pioneer in Pediatric Cardiac Intervention. Dr. Hijazi discussed the advances in Pediatric interventional cardiology treatment including the major improvements that have evolved over the years in a field very dependent on specialized devices by size and function. He summarized the remarkable contributions of Dr. Mullins while focusing on the evolution of treatment for Atrial Septal Defects.

Lastly the Founder’s Lecture was presented by Dr. Spencer King, another past SCAI president  on the history of coronary Intervention. Dr. King provided an exciting perspective on the evolution of techniques and equipment from his perspective with Dr. Andreas Gruentzig, who came to Emory with Dr. King. Despite a very simple beginning with great excitement, Dr. King traced the evolution but ended with probing questions regarding what the future will bring regarding diagnostic techniques – will coronary angiography persist as we know it or be replaced by alternative technology focusing more on diagnosing the high-risk lesions. Case volumes for PCI are declining – how will that impact the future in terms of training and patient experience. Dr. King ended with the challenge that many in the group will likely chart that path forward focusing on meaningful treatment of patients. An excellent perspective and challenge.

One last exciting note from the meeting was a session describing the Recent Accomplishments and Future Collaborations of the SCAI/ACC. Dr. Fred Welt, representing the ACC Interventional Council and Dr. Sunil Rao, incoming President of the SCAI co-chaired the session which included topics on combined efforts to address worker shortages in the cath lab, NCDR and AUC emphasizing improving reporting tools for clinicians. In addition, I presented a discussion of joint data and perspectives on Late Career Issues: The Issues involving the growing numbers of late career transitions from the active interventional work and the impact on the field. The overarching emphasis was the growing collaboration of the Societies focusing on major issues affecting the field and the patients we serve.

In summary this was a thoughtful, educational and excellent meeting further advancing the field of Interventional cardiology.

Dr. Vetrovec has no conflicts of interest to report.

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