ORLANDO, FL (May 9, 2013) — Sometimes, the most effective way to tackle a serious subject is with a light touch. In delivering the Founders’ Lecture at the SCAI 2013 Scientific Sessions, George W. Vetrovec, M.D., FSCAI, will challenge interventional cardiologists to examine where their profession stands and where it needs to go – but he will do it using a technique made famous by comedian David Letterman: the Top Ten list.
Attendees – including interventional cardiologists from all of over world – will hear a message that is both positive and provocative, said Dr. Vetrovec. “I hope audience members go away with the sense that we need to be very introspective,” he said. “We need to think about what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, what the consequences of our actions are and how to keep moving forward in a positive way.”
Dr. Vetrovec directs the adult cardiac catheterization laboratory at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). He chaired the Division of Cardiology at VCU for 18 years and has served on the boards of SCAI, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. He is a respected researcher with hundreds of publications to his name and an active clinician who still performs more than 500 interventional procedures a year.
Dr. Vetrovec plans to use the Top Ten list to share his observations from 35 years of invasive cardiology practice – though perhaps with more gravitas than Letterman aspires to. Some hints of what’s to come:
Drs. Sones and Judkins, the founders of SCAI, were ahead of their time in their interest in outcomes measures and clinical registries, and their concern about the impact of government regulation on interventional cardiology.
Today’s focus on high-quality outcomes and professionalism is extremely important but can have unintended consequences, if physicians and administrators become too focused on numbers and rankings, rather than on what is right for patients.
Patients who have a combination of two critical problems—a heart that no longer pumps efficiently and arteries that are clogged with cholesterol deposits—are seldom the focus of clinical research on stenting or bypass surgery. They should be.
The relationship between physicians and industry has led to impressive device innovation over the years. The challenge today is to maintain the excitement and benefits for patients, while remaining sensitive to potential conflicts of interest.
“My career has been one of leadership in technology as well as interventional cardiology,” Dr. Vetrovec said. “I’m also a practicing cardiologist and interventionalist. I would hope that experience gives me a broad perspective and a rich understanding of the issues facing interventional cardiology.”