Highlights from the Western Atrial Fibrillation Symposium

Now in its fourth year, the Western Atrial Fibrillation Symposium hosted over 350 cardiologists, physicians and others at this world-class conference demonstrating the latest research and clinical developments in diagnosing, treating and managing AF. It is particularly exciting to see how close we are to introducing some of these game-changing advances, including real-time MRI catheter guidance, into clinical practice.

The Symposium, which was sponsored by the University of Utah School of Medicine’s Division of Cardiology and co-sponsored by The Heart Rhythm Society (HRS), had many fantastic presentations from the world’s leading experts. For example, Dr. David Wilber from Loyola University provided conference attendees with the latest updates on the large AF clinical studies in progress, including CASTLE-AF and DECAAF, as well as an overview of recently completed randomized trials. Other highlights from the symposium’s distinguished international faculty included:

• Dr. Hugh Calkins from Johns Hopkins University provided insights into the HRS consensus updates and when ablation is appropriate as a first-line treatment.
• Dr. Ralph Damiano, Jr. from Washington University School of Medicine shared his experiences with the persistent problem of new onset postoperative AF.
• Mellanie True Hills, the founder and CEO of StopAfib.org, gave the results of a poll asking AF patients what they would like to tell physicians and how they would want to partner with them to make the AF experience less difficult.
• Rob McLeod, PhD, of the University of Utah, detailed how to identify opportunities for extracting clinically relevant information from MRI in AF and talked about future applications such as hand-held MRIs.

More information about these and other presentations is available from the Comprehensive Arrhythmia Research & Management Center (CARMA), which hosted the event. It’s also not too early to save the date for next year’s symposium, which will be held in Park City, UT, February 24-25, 2012.

Nassir F. Marrouche, MD is the Executive Director of the Comprehensive Arrhythmia Research & Management Center, Director of Electrophysiology Laboratories, and Director of the Atrial Fibrillation Program at the University of Utah School of Medicine, Division of Cardiology.

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