On December 9-11, 2010, the first-annual Electrophysiology Innovations Congress (EPIC) took place at the Washington Hilton in Washington, DC. Leading the event were course co-directors Seth Worley, MD and Kenneth Ellenbogen, MD. Keep reading for highlights from this premier national EP meeting. The Electrophysiology Innovations Congress, sponsored by the North American Center for Continuing Medical Education, LLC (NACCME), in partnership with HMP Communications, LLC, publisher of EP Lab Digest, and co-sponsored by the Heart Rhythm Society, brought together approximately 150 EP allied professionals and electrophysiologists. EPIC course co-director Kenneth Ellenbogen, MD, Kontos Professor of Medicine and Chairman, Division of Cardiology, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, described the meeting as “the only conference that I am aware of that focuses almost entirely on device therapy and new innovations and new techniques for the device world. We wanted to provide fellows, technicians and practicing physicians with the opportunity to learn about new device therapies and new developments that affect those of us interested in device implantation and follow-up.” The Electrophysiology Innovations Congress featured comprehensive CME agenda, moderated panel discussions, and noted debates, all provided by world-class faculty in EP. Several industry-supported symposia were provided. In addition, a demonstration pavilion was available, giving attendees with the opportunity to engage with industry representatives and see hands-on product demonstrations relating to the use of EP technology. EPIC presenter Jeanne E. Poole, MD, FACC, Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology and Director of the Electrophysiology Section at the University of Washington Medical Center, remarked, “The 2010 Electrophysiology Innovations Congress was a wonderful opportunity for participants to focus on cardiac rhythm device management. The complexities of device and lead management today make it imperative to provide ongoing educational opportunities such as this.” The CME agenda also showcased updates in the treatment of atrial fibrillation, including sessions on risk assessment and prevention of stroke, advanced imaging tools, epicardial ablation, antiarrhythmic treatment options, and current techniques and guidelines for catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation. EPIC presenter Edward Gerstenfeld, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Director of the Experimental GP Research Laboratory, gave a session on advanced imaging of AF ablation. He noted, “Current AF ablation techniques still use catheters designed for focal ablation to perform circumferential ablation around the pulmonary veins in a connect-the-dots fashion, and this approach is likely responsible for the higher than desired rate of pulmonary vein reconnection after ablation. New technologies designed specifically for pulmonary vein isolation are now becoming available and include the cryoballoon (Medtronic), endoscopic laser balloon (CardioFocus), and the circumferential pulmonary vein ablation catheter (PVAC, Medtronic). The hope of these new technologies is that they will allow safe, rapid and persistent PV isolation. However, each new technology has unique risks and benefits, and the outcome will need to be assessed with prospective trials.” On the second day of the meeting, EPIC course co-directors Kenneth Ellenbogen, MD and Seth Worley, MD hosted a session during which interesting cases provided by attendees were discussed and used to review when to perform venoplasty and lead extraction. Presented during this session were “interesting examples of either complex or educational cases having to do with various aspects of device implantation, including lead extraction, venoplasty, balloons as anchors, and transseptal puncture for LV leads,” said Dr. Ellenbogen. Breakout sessions were also available for attendees, including several allied professional courses. Sessions for the allied professional included information on the role of the EP scrub technologist during a biventricular device implant, pharmacologic considerations in the heart failure device patient, and ethical dilemmas and end-of-life choices for patients with an implantable cardiac device. EPIC presenter Betty Ching, RN, CCDS, FHRS, Nurse Manager of the Device Clinic at the Heart and Vascular Institute, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, who headed a breakout session for allied professionals on “Interpreting the Data Received from the Heart Failure Device,” describes that “Device diagnostics are like the ‘CSI’ of electrophysiology — no DNA, just a lot of data to look at, which allows you to be proactive in the care of the patient.” EPIC allied professional course co-planner Letitia P. Esbenshade-Smith, RCES, CEPS, CCDS, Staff Educator of Cardiac Electrophysiology at the Institute for Professional Development, Lancaster General Health, said, “My experience as one of the course planners for the allied professional was excellent. The feedback from the allied professionals in attendance at the EPIC conference was extremely positive. All of the topics were very relevant to current practice, and the speakers were excellent. I personally thought it was the best conference I had been to in a very long time.” EPIC presenter John H. Minnich, RCES, of Lancaster General Health, told us, “I really enjoyed the privilege of participating at the conference. I felt I had a lot to offer to the allied professional along the lines of the role of the scrub tech with BiV device implants. We have over 10 years of experience, and working with Dr. Worley has given us some real insight. Not everyone does things the same way, but I felt with my topic I was able to provide insight with setup for dye injections, venoplasty, snare use and vein selection. I think having more practical sessions like the role of the scrub tech will not only help people to understand how something is done, but why.” He added, “Overall it was a great conference that was packed with a lot of useful information!” EPIC course co-director Seth Worley, MD, President and Director of Electrophysiology Research, Lancaster Heart and Stroke Foundation, commented, “Outside the university medical center, many electrophysiologists spend more time with implantation and management of devices than they do with ablation. Although there are a wealth of excellent programs focused on ablation, there are few CME-accredited educational opportunities in the device area. This year, the Electrophysiology Innovations Congress provided a balance of ablation and devices, while future programs will focus on devices, including interventional implant techniques such as subclavian venoplasty, transseptal LV lead placement, coronary venoplasty, and the use of snares and anchor balloons to facilitate LV lead placement.” The Electrophysiology Innovations Congress 2010 was a great success thanks to everyone involved. We’d like to thank all of our participants from the first-annual meeting, and look forward to seeing you all in 2011!
For more information, please visit www.epicongress.com
All images by Al Peasley, photographer. To see more photos from the meeting, please see our Facebook photo album at http://facebook.com/EPLabDigest
For more information on how to purchase the conference DVD, please visit http://www.epicongress.com/dvd-order.html