Heart disease kills more Americans than all diseases combined. In the U.S. today, a person suffers a heart attack every 26 seconds. LUMEN 2009: The Symposium on Optimal Treatments for Acute MI recently hosted hundreds of paramedics, emergency department staff, critical care nurses, cardiovascular laboratory technologists and nurses, internists, general practitioners, hospitalists, intensivists, clinical and interventional cardiologists, cardiac and vascular surgeons, and hospital administrators, to discuss the state of America’s healthcare system and the fight to save vulnerable heart attack patients.
The Presidential Keynote was delivered by the American College of Cardiology (ACC), President W. Douglas Weaver, MD, FACC. Weaver recently attended the White House Forum on Health Care Reform, after which he announced six ACC principles to reforming the current healthcare system. One of those principles, “Focus on patient value—transparent, high quality, cost-effective, continuous care,” is a cornerstone in how heart attack patients must be treated, according to LUMEN Program Director Dr. Sameer Mehta and many of his colleagues, who argue it should a matter of national public health policy.
According to the American College of Cardiology (ACC), the majority of deaths from STEMI (ST-elevation myocardial infarction), a heart attack caused by complete obstruction of a coronary artery, occurs within the first 1 to 2 hours after symptom onset. And, although heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, there is still no protocol in place for an integrated STEMI system and national STEMI policy. A national initiative to establish STEMI Receiving Centers throughout the U.S. was the backbone of LUMEN. The symposium highlighted five of the world’s best STEMI programs - The Mayo Clinic, The RACE program in the state of North Carolina, Citywide Protocol for Ottawa, Canada, the Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, and SOCAL: Southern California Systems.
Alice Jacobs, MD, FACC, chairperson of the American Heart Association’s Mission Lifeline, addressed more than one hundred fifty clinicians and revealed challenges that may affect an overhaul of America’s healthcare system. One ongoing issue is that heart disease is not evenly distributed by population. In rural areas of the U.S., only 4% of hospitals have the ability to perform PCI or angioplasty, believed by many physicians to be critical in saving the lives of STEMI patients. Other roadblocks include financial disincentives for patient transfer for PCI and the critical need for EMS systems to invest in 12-lead EKGs.
“At the end of the day, if you don’t improve mortality, you’re not going to make very much headway,” added William O’Neill, MD, FACC, a pioneer in STEMI interventions who addressed the recent backlash against angioplasty. “We need to start talking about symptom onset to reperfusion time.”
Martin B. Leon, MD, FACC, Chairman Emeritus of the Cardiovascular Research Foundation and Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, argued that medicine is the “art of balance” between evidence-based medicine and three important additional factors: the physician’s clinical judgment, patient and physician expectations, and socioeconomic factors. Despite the emphasis on evidence-based medicine, these factors must also be taken into account in patient treatment.
“LUMEN was a great resource for dialogue and the exchange of ideas to better support America’s healthcare system,” said Mehta. “As healthcare reform moves forward, the individual and his or her doctor must be able to determine what is in the best interest of the patient.”
LUMEN 2009: The Symposium on Optimal Treatments for Acute MI served as an integrated STEMI educational rendezvous for paramedics, emergency department staff, critical care nurses, cardiovascular laboratory technologists and nurses, internists, general practitioners, hospitalists, intensivists, clinical and interventional cardiologists, cardiac and vascular surgeons, and hospital administrators.
NACCME, LLC offered certified medical education during LUMEN for physicians, nurses, radiologic technologists, emergency medical service practitioners and emergency room physicians. Over one-hundred healthcare practitioners claimed credit for the three day course. Course evaluations showed a great deal of enthusiasm for the course content and the esteemed faculty chosen by NACCME for this year’s event. NACCME, LLC will utilize the evaluation data to plan future educational activities in the area of STEMI management.
NACCME, LLC is a leading accredited medical education and communications company. CME/CE activities sponsored by NACCME, LLC reach medical professionals in many different formats. Through meetings, publications, and web-based programming, thousands of healthcare practitioners participate in NACCME, LLC activities, expanding their clinical knowledge and competence by examining current medical issues, trends, therapies, and technologies. CME/CE activities sponsored by NACCME, LLC are produced to strengthen practitioner awareness of evidence-based patient care advances in a broad range of therapeutic areas. NACCME, LLC sponsors CME/CE activities for physicians, pharmacists, podiatrists, nurses, physician assistants, and other allied healthcare professionals. NACCME, LLC is committed to improving healthcare practitioner knowledge, competence, and performance, ultimately to improve patient care.
HMP Communications, LLC, a sister company to NACCME, LLC, managed logistics for the event, including audience generation and the acquisition and management of all corporate sponsorships and exhibits.
For information about LUMEN 2009: The Symposium on Optimal Treatments for Acute MI, visit www.LUMENami.com.
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Patricia Levy, 609-371-1137