Why is the Mitral Conclave So Important for Patients, Cardiologists & Surgeons?
It’s not often that 1,000 heart surgeons and cardiologists gather in one spot to discuss and debate best practices for mitral valve therapy. In fact, it never happened until Dr. David Adams, Chairman of Cardiothoracic Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, brainstormed the idea. Then, with the full support the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS), that idea transformed into the… Mitral Conclave.
Now, just a few years later, the Mitral Conclave is the largest symposium for physicians to teach — and learn from each other — about mitral valve repair and mitral valve replacement procedures. To help you understand how important this event is for you, the patient, cardiologists and surgeons, I jumped on a plane to New York to capture the highlights of the Mitral Conclave in this “Behind the Scenes” video.
Of all the great things I witnessed at the Mitral Conclave, it was a unique sense of community that struck me.
The fact that so many surgeons, so many cardiologists and so many companies — from all over the world — would come together to discuss one heart valve was beyond inspiring and comforting. After watching this video, I am hopeful that your surgeon has already been — or plans to attend this event — for all the reasons discussed in the video.
Many thanks to the doctors who were interviewed during the filming of the Mitral Conclave video. And, a special thanks to Dr. David Adams, Gideon Sims, Flo Kelemen, Yvonne Grunenbaum and Kimberly Derr for granting me access to such an extraordinary conference.
Keep on tickin!
P.S. For the hearing impaired members of our community, I have prepared a written transcript of this video below:
Adam: Today we’re at the AATS Mitral Conclave in New York City. This conference room is going to fill up with over 1000 cardiologists and cardiac surgeons from all over the world. We’re going to be talking with several surgeons and cardiologists about how the latest trends and education specific to mitral valve therapy.
Dr. David H. Adams, Program Director, Mitral Conclave, The Mount Sinai Medical Center: “I wanted to continue the legacy of one of my mentors Alain Carpentier. I approached the American Association for Thoracic Surgery which is the scholarship society in our community and they were very supportive of the Mitral Conclave ideat. With their leadership, we’ve basically put together a worldwide meeting. I’m very proud of it.”
Dr. Michael Borger, Leipzig Heart Center: “Dr. David Adams has done a fantastic job of organizing this symposium. It has become the largest mitral valve symposium in its short existence — anywhere on the planet. If you sit in the room and you listen to the speakers — and you look out around the crowd to see who’s attending — you see that this is the “Who’s Who” of mitral valve surgery. I’d like to learn from their valve repair and replacement techniques — as well as sharing of knowledge to benefit the patients across both sides of the ocean.”
Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood, East Carolina Heart Institute: “This is where we really talk about the latest therapy for patients. And we share internationally, nationally and we get new ideas.”
Dr. John Gott, Piedmont Heart Institute: “It’s like getting your knowledge by taking a drink from a fire hose. It’s just amazing — the talent that’s congregated here for this.”
Dr. Robert Bonow, Northwestern Memorial Hospital: “I see many patients with heart valve disease. I also teach and lecture about this — So, it gets me up to speed with all of the really important, innovative new things we’re doing. It helps me determine the next strategy for my patients.”
Dr. Marc Gillinov, Cleveland Clinic: “Coming to an event like the Mitral Conclave or any other major educational environment is incredibly important. You don’t want the surgeon to be somebody who just stands still and says, “I’ve always done it this way, the last 20 years.” Surgeons need to keep learning just like everybody else. And coming to an event like the Mitral Conclave, going to academic meetings, reading, watching other surgeons, these are always to keep getting better — which means we do better job for our patients. “
Dr. Thomas Mihaljevic, Cleveland Clinic: “The discussions about technology are very important. Ultimately, the reason why we’re using that technology in mitral valve surgery is to improve patients’ outcomes and I believe this is a phenomenal forum to share our early results.”
Dr. Steven Bolling, University of Michigan – Cardiovascular Center: “Meetings like this are probably the most thing for education, not just of surgeons or cardiologists but for patients. They need to know what a quality outcome in mitral valve surgery really is.”
Dr. Craig Miller, Stanford School of Medicine: “There is nearly a thousand surgeons here, who can see the experts do what they do, so that the surgeons who might see five mitral valve operations a year, like what is the average in the United States might learn what their limitations are, whether they shouldn’t do it, and where they should be referring a patient out to a center or surgeon who has much more experience.”
Dr. Craig Smith, New York–Presbyterian Hospital Columbia University Medical Center: “If patients are being referred for surgery, it’s very important that they go to a place that does lots of mitral valve surgery. It is important to be sure who you’re dealing with, doctors and institutions that do a lot of this kind of work and have a lot of experience.”
Adam Pick: In addition to the main exhibit hall, there’s also two breakout sessions that are going on at all times during the Mitral Conclave. These breakout sessions — as you can see behind me — are standing room only with several hundred people in each of the rooms. So you know, a breakout session are additional topics that are being discussed by cardiologists and surgeons throughout the days here at the Mitral Conclave.
Dr. Patrick McCarthy, Northwestern Memorial Hospital: “Well even though it’s a Mitral Conclave, Adam, we’re talking about all sorts of things that are related. For instance about 30 to 40% of patients have atrial fibrillation and irregular heart rhythm so that would be one of the topics that we talk about. And then many of the patients also have a leaky tricuspid valve. And so even though it is a Mitral Conclave we are talking about all the other associated diseases that go with that.”
Dr. Harold Roberts, Aventura Hospital: “The heart muscle itself pumps better if you repair and then replace the valve.”
Dr. Michael Mack, The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano:”Generally, we like to keep the patient not one second longer than they need to be there so that infection is, they are not at risk for infection. However, for mitral valve surgery, infection is an extremely rare complication.”
Dr. Joseph Bavaria, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania: “The fact of the matter is that the people who have aortic valve disease have a little bit higher incidence of mitral valve disease than a normal person. So, I am an aortic specialist but I am here at the Mitral Conclave for that reason.”
Dr. Kevin Accola, Florida Hospital, Cardiovascular Institute. “This is fun for me because I get to pick other surgeons’ brains who have the same types of problems and see the same types of circumstances that I see every day. It’s really outstanding sharing of information as well as a collegial good to see my friends, as well as you, here at these events.”
Adam Pick: To the AATS, the Mitral Conclave Faculty and the attendees, On behalf of the patients and caregivers with the HeartValveSurgery.com community, thank you for your ongoing commitment and pursuit of healthy hearts!
Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.