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SCAI 2023: Back to Pre-Pandemic and More

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The 2023 SCAI Annual meeting has just concluded after an energetic and educationally expansive meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, MAY 18-21, 2023. The meeting felt as well attended as pre -pandemic meetings with a new added feature - the meeting was at the Phoenix Convention Center, marking the first time for the SCAI Annual Meeting to be in an actual convention center. The venue provided open space for traditional lectures, technical instruction, scientific posters, device, and pharmaceutical exhibiters, while providing convenient areas for discussion groups and for colleagues to meet in a comfortable but not excessive space. The associated hotels and restaurants were nearby in easy walking distance. For the late springtime, many attendees were a bit surprised by the daily temperatures in the high 90’S but walks to the Convention Center and local lodging and food were well tolerated.

A major highlight of the meeting was the named lectures.

Founders Lecture: Presented by Bonnie H. Weiner, M.D. MSEC MBA, MSCAI, SCAI, Harvard, MA. An SCAI Past President. Dr. Weiner discussed the challenges in implementing fair but useful measures of quality and how to apply to a cath lab setting.

Hildner Lecture: Innovation in Structural Heart Disease - The Promise of Transcatheter Electrosurgery. Presented by Adam Greenbaum, M.D., FSCAI, Emory Heart & Vascular Center at Decatur, Atlanta, GA. Dr Greenbaum discussed the multiple potential applications for this new technology in providing a remote surgical-like cutting device to manage difficult problems associated with structural heart procedures. 

Mullins Lecture: Something Borrowed, Something New. The Enduring Role of Innovation in Congenital Heart Care. Presented by Thomas Jones, M.D., MSCAI, Senior Congenital Interventionalist at Seattle Children's Hospital Seattle, WA. Dr. Jones discussed the evolution and advances in interventional therapies.

Keynote Speaker: Innovation and Science in Interventional Cardiology - Experience Over 40 Years. Presented by Gary S. Roubin, M.D., Ph.D. Northwell Health Lenox Hill Hospital. Doctor Roubin entertained the audience with photos, vignettes and wisdom of the originator of Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA) often referring to the philosophy of Dr. Andreas Gruentzig, the pioneer of this technology emphasizing Gruentzig’s humility and passion. An additional highlight of the session was the unveiling of a sculpture of the bust of Gruentzig originally given to Dr. Roubin, now gifted to the SCAI. The session was a great opportunity for those of us who remember the “early days” of PTCA while the younger attendees had an opportunity to appreciate the legacy of Gruentzig.

Physician wellbeing: While all of the science was the major focus, an important newer aspect of the meeting was a greater focus on physician wellness and career related issues. For example, there was a focus on exercise and mindfulness with short relaxation and/or yoga sessions during breaks. In addition, other meeting sessions focused on career stage issues. What are the goals and how are they being met for early career interventional cardiologists. What are the needs for this early practitioner group and how can those physicians best achieve their goals. Conversely, what factors impact when physicians retire. Given physician shortages, supporting physicians who are capable and want to maintain practice is important. Sessions focused on such issues were well attended and provided late career physicians with ideas as to various practice related options as well as consulting and industry jobs which offer opportunities to continue in a medically related field. To address the practice, career and health issue, the SCAI had a consulting group doing think tank sessions to better understand the issues and help craft ideas for SCAI to provide better leadership in address the issue.

Overall, it was a very focused meeting for interventionalists encompassing areas of life and practice not often addressed. This was an important step that the SCAI included in the sessions that will hopefully lead to even more focused and beneficial, future SCAI physician support beyond just the important science and training. A worthwhile three days!

Are you interested in writing about your experience attending a medical conference this year? Respond here.

Dr. Vetrovec has no conflicts of interest to report.

Illustration by April Brust

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