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Interconnectivity Brings High Level of Expertise to Far-Reaching Population

Stuart F. Seides, MD, Physician Executive Director, MHVI

We’re leveling the playing field in cardiovascular care. In the simplest terms, this is the linchpin philosophy behind creating an interconnected network of cardiovascular services. The growth and expansion of MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute (MHVI) has always focused on increasing our capacity to bring a consistent, high level of expertise to a far-reaching patient population.

This connectivity is achieved through multiple platforms, systems and programs. In this issue of Cardiovascular Physician, you will read about several of our newest initiatives, aimed at bridging gaps in services and maximizing the effectiveness of MHVI's clinical excellence.

Creating Professional Synergy: Our cover story recounts a collaboration between two MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute hospitals—miles apart but connected through the professional synergy of Drs. Mun Hong and Christian Shults. Quick consultation and fast transport resulted in a positive outcome for a critically ill patient. Another new program featured on these pages is focused on building an interdisciplinary complex aortic program at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital by harnessing the experience of a team of MHVI experts from throughout the system.

Multiple Modes of Connectivity: These examples of systemness represent ways we are improving the movement of information, expertise and people across distances. More and more of this connectivity is achieved virtually. An interdisciplinary team is currently designing an extensive high tech advanced cardiac imaging system that will stretch across many MHVI hospitals. A cadre of advanced cardiac imaging experts at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital will be routinely scheduled to virtually review images in nearly “real time” for patients and referring physicians in network facilities dispersed across our geographic footprint. These experts will make immediate recommendations for next steps—everything from initiating an emergency response to an immediate cardiac crisis to instigating needed follow-up clinical care and/or diagnostic testing.

Finally, we are creating a consistent protocol to respond to the more than 20,000 patients who annually present in our EDs with symptoms of a stroke warning or heart attack. A multidisciplinary group of cardiologists, radiologists, neurologists and emergency physicians is developing standardized guidelines for clinical evaluation that includes diagnosis, treatment and disposition of these patients. No matter which emergency department patients enter, they will be cared for with a common evidence-based pathway of clinical care.

A very important component of this program is the capacity to schedule follow-up outpatient appointments for ED patients with the appropriate specialists before they leave the hospital. We believe that our role as healthcare professionals isn’t simply to deliver care in emergent situations. To truly “level the playing field” in cardiovascular care—and improve our community’s health—requires prevention, early diagnosis and prompt treatment for all our patients. We know we can’t achieve this ultimate goal unless we ensure that patients who need services get them in the “right” setting at the “right” time.

CRT17: 20th Anniversary


Celebrating 20 Years of Advancing Cardiovascular Care

More than 2,300 participants gathered in Washington, D.C., in February for CRT17 at its 20th anniversary celebration. During the last two decades, the four-day meeting has evolved to include the largest international contingent of cardiovascular professionals and is today regarded as the nation ’s leading cardiology conference.

“When we began CRT in 1997, we had an audience of just 400,” says Ron Waksman, MD, director of Cardiovascular Research and Advanced Education. “During two decades, participation has grown exponentially—attracting a diverse mix of cardiology professionals from throughout the U.S. and abroad.”

Highlights included:

  • Keynote speaker Al Gore, former vice president of the U.S., who discussed the impact of climate change on the environment and the public's health.
  • Former Attorney General Eric Holder, who led a lively discussion about the disparities that continue to exist in health care.

In addition, at a first-of-its-kind 20/20 symposium, 20 prominent opinion leaders examined innovations that have revolutionized cardiology in the last two decades. Lectures included an historical examination of interventional cardiology, a review of the European perspective on personalized medicine, and a look at an industry model for technological innovation.

A special CRT 20/20 award was presented to Bram Zuckerman, MD, director, Division of Cardiovascular Devices at the FDA, for his ongoing support of the meeting’s educational mission, and for his long-time dedication to improve cardiovascular care in the United States. Another first brought together a group of invited interventional cardiologists from the Veterans Administration for a discussion about the challenge of bringing new technology to their special population of patients.

Three individuals received the Top Cardiovascular Innovation Award in recognition of their work in the development of cardiovascular technology:

  • Michael Whitman, BA; MIATM Minimally Invasive Annuloplasty Device
  • Ronald J. Solar, PhD; Endovascular Selective Cerebral Hypothermia for Neuroprotection
  • Yoseph Shalev, MD; A Novel Design of Smart Wire and Actuator To Cross Chronic, Calcific Occlusion of Superficial Femoral Artery

Preparation is underway for CRT 2018, which will be held in Washington, D.C., March 3-6, 2018.