Sneak Preview: The Heart Rhythm Society’s 33rd Annual Scientific Sessions

Compiled by EP Lab Digest

Compiled by EP Lab Digest

This spring, professionals from all over the world representing all facets of the heart rhythm community will meet in Boston for the Heart Rhythm Society’s 33rd Annual Scientific Sessions, May 9-12, 2012. More than 14,000 total attendees will explore the science, discovery, and innovation behind new research, technologies, therapies, and approaches to improve the care of patients with heart rhythm disorders.

Science, Discovery and Innovation describe the recurring tenets of the annual scientific sessions, with a specific focus for this year: Our Patients.

The 33rd Annual Scientific Sessions are designed to be a dynamic patient-centric meeting to help foster improved access to quality health care and enhanced physician-patient relationships.
Heart Rhythm 2012 will showcase the latest science, discovery, and innovation essential to quality care for our patients. Heart rhythm professionals from the United States and more than 75 countries worldwide will explore more than 250 educational sessions and 130 exhibits aiming to promote and encourage the evolution of patient care and technological developments in the field.

Heart Rhythm 2012 Program Overview

Sessions are developed and organized by the Heart Rhythm Society’s Scientific Sessions Program Committee. This year’s Program Committee Chair is Hugh M. Calkins, MD, FHRS, CCDS, and the Abstract Chair is Richard I. Fogel, MD, FHRS, CCDS. For a complete listing of the Program Committee members, please visit

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the sessions, participants will be able to:

  • Recognize new scientific advances in the field of cardiac arrhythmias: basic electrophysiology, pharmacology, defibrillation, catheter ablation, cardiac pacing, noninvasive diagnostic techniques, and technological innovations.
  • Apply scholarly exchange of ideas with basic and clinical scientists throughout the world through the presentation of new information and discussions during oral and poster abstract presentations, core curricula and translational electrophysiology sessions, and networking opportunities.
  • Apply concepts and knowledge in new developments in the diagnosis and management of cardiac arrhythmias and heart failure.
  • Examine results of recent clinical trials and guidelines updates as they pertain to current and future clinical practice.
  • Identify the newest pharmaceutical products, devices, and other technologic innovations used in the field of cardiac arrhythmias.
  • Recognize how electronic communication modalities can enhance the research, clinical care, and education of the electrophysiology community.

Heart Rhythm 2012 will offer multiple specialized tracks to allow attendees to customize their own itineraries and attend the sessions that are most relevant to their interests and learning. The specialty tracks include Allied Professionals, Basic/Translational Science, Cardiovascular Implantable Electronic Devices & Heart Failure, Clinical Electrophysiology & Catheter Ablation, Pediatric/Adult Congenital Heart Disease, Regulatory/Health Policy/Education, and Special Sessions.

Two new session types have also been added for Heart Rhythm 2012:

  • Mini-Board Review Sessions will be held on Saturday, May 12. These interactive, didactic teaching sessions will review complex questions from the board exam or IBHRE exam.
  • How-To Sessions are didactic teachings on how to perform a high-level clinical procedure.

Opening Plenary Session

The Opening Plenary will address social networks and their impact on patient care. Noted author and one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2009, Nicholas Christakis, MD, PhD, MPH, will kick off Heart Rhythm 2012 with a compelling presentation on how social networks operate, with an emphasis on how they affect behavior, well-being, and health.

The co-author of Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives will answer some of the pressing questions surrounding social media at this time:

  • What purpose do social networks serve?
  • Why are we embedded in them? 
  • How do they form?
  • How do they work? 
  • How do they affect us?
  • How do they affect our patients?

Dr. Christakis is Professor of Medical Sociology, Department of Health Care Policy, and Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is also Professor of Sociology, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Basic/Translational Science Forum

In partnership with the Cardiac Electrophysiology Society (CES), the Basic/Translational Science Forum, “Translation from Bench to Bedside,” places particular focus on using emerging technologies and strategies relevant to arrhythmia mechanisms and therapy. This year, the Forum will include the following discussions:

  • How Do Cells and Ion Channels ‘Talk’ to One Another?
  • How Do We ‘Talk’ to Cells: Flexible and Stretchable Electronics?
  • How Do We ‘Trick’ Cells: Dynamic Clamp Methodology?
  • How Do We ‘Listen’ to the Heart: Non-invasive Electrocardiographic Imaging?
  • How Do We ‘Read’ Genes: Genomic Frontiers in Cardiac Biology?

During the Forum, the 2012 Douglas P. Zipes Lecture will also be presented by Dan M. Roden, MD, FHRS of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee.

AF Summit

The 2012 AF Summit, “The Past, Present, and Future of Ablation,” is an all-day program that provides a comprehensive review of AF ablation and evolving therapies that are changing the field. This session provides a high-level technical review of four key areas: tools and technologies for AF ablation, catheter ablation of paroxysmal AF, persistent and longstanding persistent AF, and the future of AF therapies.

The Summit will inform participants on particular tools and technologies impacting outcomes and the care of our patients. Attendees will leave this session with advanced knowledge of this rapidly evolving field.

The AF Summit will also showcase the recipient of the Founders’ Lectureship Award.

Allied Professionals Forum

The Allied Professionals Forums promote quality education for allied professionals and inspire attendees to expand scientific discovery and apply it to their daily practice. Three complimentary forums will be offered, two for those beginning their careers, emphasizing the fundamentals of EP and devices; the third with an advance content focus. The forums include a Hands-on Educational Session, an Allied Professional Orientation for those attending their first Scientific Sessions, and the Opening Plenary Session.

Featured Symposia

Attendees will have an opportunity to learn from a panel of carefully chosen experts on syncope and high-risk patients, Brugada syndrome, catheter and surgical ablation of AF, the future of cardiac implantable devices, and other critical issues.

Global Networking Lounge

Visit this designated area in the exhibit hall to connect with leaders in the field from more than 75 countries.

Society Leadership Lunch Forum

This popular Forum gives attendees an opportunity to network with Heart Rhythm Society leaders, including President Bruce L. Wilkoff, MD, FHRS, CCDS, and President-elect Anne M. Gillis, MD, FHRS. The interactive discussion will include the Society’s recent accomplishments, upcoming activities, and how to maximize the value of membership. Non-members are welcome to attend; beverages and light lunch will be provided.

Hyde Park Corner

Hyde Park Corner is a freestanding slide-less debate session, in which an appointed speaker introduces new or controversial ideas or techniques. The individual will espouse the virtues of the idea even if it has not been sufficiently tested in a clinical trial to allow it to stand on “guideline-level” merits. The topics to be presented include:

  • Supporting Health Care Reform
  • More Trials, Not an AF Registry
  • Why We Don’t Need Health Care Reform
  • Athletic Screening for Athletes

Ideas on Trial

Ideas on Trial are debate sessions of the future! These interactive 90-minute sessions leave the traditional debate sessions on the floor of the EP lab. Instead of two debaters taking the pro and con side of an issue, the actual “idea” goes on trial with a Chief Justice and two Associate Justices presiding. Attorneys may call witnesses to help make their points to the Jury, which is the audience, to make a decision as to whether the idea is appropriate or “guilty.” Three Ideas on Trial sessions will be presented.

Poster Town

Poster Town is the largest committed space on the exhibit floor, providing a unique meeting place for attendees and an opportunity to directly experience science, discovery, and innovation. A special section will be dedicated to feature basic science posters. This space also features lounge areas and a presentation theater for moderated poster sessions.

Fellows-in-Training Sessions

Several sessions will be offered for Fellows-in-Training at Heart Rhythm 2012. Fellows can customize their learning experiences by attending sessions tagged “Fellows-in-Training,” including case-based discussions, Mini-Board Review, and How-To Sessions. Fellows-in-Training will also have a dedicated lounge where they can meet, network and hear talks from key opinion leaders in the field.

Hands-on Session

Engage in one-on-one conversations with educational representatives in a relaxed learning environment to get immediate answers to questions on the use of technology. The Hands-on Session offers a holistic learning experience by featuring a company’s system/device and/or service with its related products. Come learn about the latest technological innovations in cardiac pacing and electrophysiology.

New this year is “Experts in the Round,” featuring doctors who will present cases using the various devices offered for demonstration during the Hands-on Session. Participating companies in 2011 included: Bard Electrophysiology; Biosense Webster, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company; BIOTRONIK; Boston Scientific Corporation; Cambridge Heart, Inc.; GE Healthcare; Medtronic; St. Jude Medical; and Sorin Group.

Joint Sessions with International Affiliates

Ten 90-minute sessions will be offered on topics of medical and scientific interest to attendees, jointly sponsored by the international EP community, which makes up approximately 30 percent of attendees traveling to Heart Rhythm.

Participating organizations include: Portuguese Association of Arrhythmology, Pacing and Electrophysiology; National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center; Venice Arrhythmias; Alliance to Fight Atrial Fibrillation; European Cardiac Arrhythmia Society; Canadian Heart Rhythm Society; European Heart Rhythm Association; Taiwan Heart Rhythm Society; AAMI Cardiac Rhythm Management Device Committee; World Society of Arrhythmias; ABC Inc. (Association of Black Cardiologists); Chair Program Committee EHRA; and China Heart Rhythm Society.


Heart Rhythm 2012 will feature more than 900 internationally renowned experts representing a cross section of every aspect of the field of cardiac arrhythmias. These faculty members are now confirmed and a complete list can be viewed at

Heart Rhythm 2010 Abstracts

The 2012 Abstract Submission Site is now closed. The Late-Breaking Clinical Trial Submission Site will open Wednesday, February 1, 2012 and close Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. EST. The Scientific Sessions Program Committee reviews the abstracts, and authors will be notified of the status of their abstracts in early April 2012. For questions, please contact Chloé Muhammad-Thomas, Manager, Scientific Sessions, at abstracts@HRS Abstract categories and author designation information can be viewed online at


Registration is now open for this unique, patient-centered conference. Travel and housing information are available online; registrants can also access the online itinerary planner at the time of registration.

For more information, please visit