Monday, April 10, 2006

Chinese Interventional Therapeutics 2006

Was out at Chinese Interventional Therapeutics 2006 from 6th April 2006 till 9th April 2006, at the Beijing International Coventional Center. This big meeting, one of the biggest Cardiac Interventional Meetings in Asia, was co-sponsored by TCT of USA and EuroPCR of Europe, themselves the largest Cardiac Interventional meetings in the world. This is mainly a live case demonstration meeting to show angioplasty techniques and devices. I was invited there to be a guest faculty member, to participate in their management discussions and to give a Malaysian perspective of the way we do angioplasties here.

Compared to when I last worked there in 1997, they have progressed by leaps and bounds. They are now much more advance then us, do much more work then us, with much better results. There are almost 20 cardiac interventionist per province and there are about 30 provinces in China. Some of the provincial hospitals are doing less then 100 cases a year, but the major centers in Beijing and Shanghai are doing about 1800 angioplasties a year. The case mix is much more complex. Because of their skill, they dare take on very complex cases successfully. They also have manufactured their own DES (Drug Eluting Stent). Having helped them in a small way before, I was amazed at the progress made and the speed at which that progress is made.

I enjoyed the discussions at the smaller sessions in smaller halls, where the locals present their works for us to comment. The main halls are used for live demonstrations and very formal didactic lectures showcasing the Americans and Europeans. In the smaller halls, they sometimes speak in "putong hua" and we have to learn to understand, with some gesturing. But it was their work and I was glad to discuss their work from the smaller hospitals. We both learned a lot from each other, I from them and hopefully they from me. There were Argentinians and Polish there too, to discuss their work. Basically, we all had a good time of cardiology exchange.

In the early days, angioplasty was propagated, and taught from one generation to the next through live demonstration courses. Initially the courses ran by Dr A Greuntzig (the founder of angioplasty), Richard Myler and Simon Stertzer, the pioneers of angioplasty, were only for well trained angiographers, who knew the risk and responsibilities of angioplasty. Nowadays, anyone can go, as long as you pay. The new generation of Interventional Cardiologist sometimes have not yet understood the risk and responsibilities of cardiac intervention. The dangers of these live case demonstration courses maybe the birth of a new group of cardiac interventionist who came to learn over 4 days, how to "dilate for bread". But then who cares and who is to control?

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