Cardiologists showcase skills to
international physicians

July 17, 2012 9:12 am Views: 585
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Visiting cardiologists watch live procedures from Toronto General Hospital’s conference room

In an innovative use of telemedicine technology, interventional cardiologists from the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre and St. Michael’s Hospital collaborated on a best practices course in complex, minimally-invasive cardiac interventional procedures on May 3 and 4 to a group of Canadian and international cardiologists.

As part of the University of Toronto’s commitment to global impact in teaching, education and research, physicians often travel to distant countries, sharing best practices and helping patients.  But it’s not everyday that physicians are able to showcase skills in their own backyard to a group of international health care providers.

That is precisely what a group of cardiologists from PMCC and St. Mike’s did in a medical education event that attracted over 15 physicians from leading clinical and academic centres in Canada and the United Kingdom.

Hosted at University Health Network’s Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, visiting physicians completed a “Best Practices” course in complex percutaneous (though-the-skin) cardiac interventions supported by Cordis and Johnson & Johnson. The workshop is an educational forum designed for physicians and nurses with a specific interest in some of the most complex coronary angioplasty patient cases.

Several patient cases agreed to have their treatment procedures transmitted to the audience of interventional cardiologists for May 4 and 5 for cardiologists to tackle in PMCC’s and St. Mike’s Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories (Cath Labs).  Cath Labs at TGH and St. Mike’s were wired to broadcast the procedures to a conference room located at Toronto General Hospital (TGH) where visiting healthcare professionals could watch multiple procedures, see the patient’s vital information and talk to the cardiologist performing the angioplasty. During the live videoconference, cardiologists in the Cath Lab were able to explain the procedures and field questions from the participants.

“This is the first time we’ve hosted a multi-operating room broadcast, offering an incredible view of multiple cath labs,” says  Grigory Vainberg, TGH Manager of Audio-visual Services, who oversaw the course’s technical portion.  “There was a sense of cooperation amongst visiting faculty and cardiologists performing the procedure, leaving everyone with a great deal of satisfaction.”

Cardiologist Dr. John Graham (centre); Dr. Chris Buller, director of cardiac catheterization and intervention (left), and Dr. Basem El-Barouni, a U of T medical student (right) during the cath conference that was broadcast by telemedicine to UHN.

Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), commonly known as angioplasty, is a therapeutic procedure to treat the narrowed coronary arteries of the heart found in coronary heart disease. These narrowed arteries are due to the buildup of cholesterol plaques that form due to atherosclerosis.

Canada is at the forefront of research and the subsequent treatment for patients with coronary artery disease and the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre and St. Michael’s Hospital are home to many of the country’s top interventional cardiologists that are leading research and development in the field. Each year, 1.7 million patients worldwide undergo PCI, and Canada completes a significant share, performing over 55,000 PCIs per year.

“Participating in these workshops is important because it allows cardiologists to share expertise and collaborate with international physicians to determine the best treatment techniques for our patients” says Dr. Vlad Dzavik, Deputy Head of TGH’s Division of Cardiology and Director of Research and Innovation at PMCC.

The course received excellent reviews from participants and organizers plan to establish an annual collaboration between PMCC and all University of Toronto interventional cardiology programs.

Article By:

Nicole Bodnar

Nicole Bodnar is a Public Affairs Associate at the University Health Network.

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