Monday, January 25, 2010


I spend the last few days of last week in Singapore at the Asia PCR Singlive 2010. SingLive began in the early 90s ( wow, I have been invited there yearly for the last 15 years ) as the Singapore GH Live demo congress. Initially it was held in Singapore General hospital-Outram road ( I remember staying at Apollo hotel ). Then it was a Singapore Heart Center show.
Similarly, the EuroPCR began as a live demo course in Interventional cardiology, organised by the cardiologist at Clinic Pasteur Toulouse, France. It grew, and grew and the Toulouse cardiologist worked along with the Paris cardiologist, and soon the European cardiologist, to form EuroPCR, held every year in May. This EuroPCR meeting is probably the second largest Live demo course in Interventional cardiology in the worl ( after the TCT-Washington ).
Now, the Europeans have agreed to joint host the SingLive course in Singapore in March. They called it the AsiaPCR SingLive. This allowed the Singaporeans to tap into the resources of EuroPCR, including their branding and also their very experienced teaching faculty.
I made a few observations at this year's meeting. I think, the attendance is down abit and also sponsorship money, so the meeting is on a less grand scale. There is no gala night ( not that we miss it ), and also less " big guns " walking around. Even the operators doing cases are mainly local ( Singapore Heart Center ) cardiologist ( and they do have quite a strong team there ),with a springling of foreigners, like Koreans and Japanese. There were the usual oversease transmission from Australia ( Melbourne ) and India. I particularly like the session conducted by Dr Jean Fajadet ( Toulouse ) on Friday afternoon, when he tried to be very practical to teach ( almost step by step )the way of doing bifurcation stenting, inviting alot of discussions and explanation.
Throughout the whole meeting ( from Thursday to Saturday ), when I sat through the meetings and seeing what's going on, I kept wondering ( as usual ) how do live demo courses end. Having sat through, literally, about 50 such courses in my career, I have seen the importance of it, at the beginning and then how it seem to just flow on, almost aimlessly. Do live demo courses ever end? When Andreas Greuntzig first started doing angioplasties, there were so many new things to talk about and teach, to all of us, who did even know the basics then. This was back in the 70s and 80s. There were then so many new devices ( many never made it to primetime ), and we had to know, which to use and when and which was good for the patient and which were harmful ( like the lasers ), to the patient. There was then a need for discussions and teaching ( live demos ), to share experience. Junior as I was, in the 80s and early 90s, we did get a bit involved. Now in 2010, when there are literally hundreds of thousands of interventionist worldwide, and when the procedure itself have matured, with no new breakthrough devices to discuss, is there still a need for a routine annual live demo course, and I am not refering to the AsiaPCR SingLive, in particular, but to live demo courses in general. I am concern because, all these money spend at all these courses by the sponsoring companies, must evetually go back to the company's A&P budget and to the cost of product.
Well, I know the question and have asked it many times, at the proper forum, but unfortunately, I do not have the answers.
We are still demonstrating. But is it a new technique, a new device, a new discovery to benefit our patients, or just demonstrating ourselves. This we must ask all the time, and come out with our own answers to settle our own conscience.
I did send a congratulations message to Prof Koh Tian Hai, who must have worked his socks out, to pull off this AsiaPCR Singlive demo. Syabas to Prof Koh and his team.

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