Monday, January 28, 2013


Last week, I was over at the AsiaPCR Singlive 2013, held at Marina Bay Sands ( the previous venue was Suntec City, which I hear is now under renovation ), Singapore. It was quite an experience. There is so much to talk about.
Of course Marina Bay Sands is a very, very busy place, so much so that the foyer is not unlike a "pasar malam" ( if you know what I mean ). The in-house room service is reasonable. It does help, when they give you a room on the 39th floor, with an ocean view.

                             Marina Bay Sands ocean view from my room on 39th Floor, tower 3.

If you think that the daytime view is breathe taking, you should see the nighttime view. from the swimming pool, which is of course at the highest floor ( I think the 54th floor ). 

                                         Marina Bay Sands at night, looking in from Fullerton Hotel.
This was the night of 25th Jan and our host brought us for dinner at a nice Thai Rest, besides Fullerton Hotel.

                                   View of Fullerton Hotel, from the swimming pool of marina Bay Sands.
                                                        Boy, it was cold as the wind was blowing strong.
                                                We visited the swimming pool after dinner near Fullerton.

I neither have time, nor the interest to go into the casino. I did sneak out on 24th Jan afternoon ( my sessions were on 23rd Jan and 26th Jan ), to go to Sim Lim Square, to have a look at some of the digital devices. During the trip, I learn of a new Singapore that I did not meet before and which is very troubling to me.
I had gone to the basement of Marina bay Sands MRT station - Bayfront MRT station. I knew that that day, I was going to be on the SMRT for quite a few trips, so I wanted to buy a 1 day pass.  The guy at the service office, ( after Q- ing) told me that they do not sell 1 day passes and if I wish I could buy it from the Raffles station. So I asked to buy a regular ticket to Bugis St station ( the nearest to Sim Lim, I was told ). The same guy told me that he cannot sell to me, and that I must Q up at the ticketting machine. ( and boy, there was a long Q at all the ticketting machines. ). I obvious am not a Singaporean. I was asking very basic questions. I cannot understand why, if Singapore wants tourist dollars to be tourist friendly. later, when I was having dinner with my brother, he told me that the man should have offered to sell me an EZ link card, which can be used for all public transport, and which is valid for 5 years, for a basic card of S$ 17. Oh that is bad. If Singaporeans become as lazy as Malaysians, I believe that PM Lee has a big problem.
Anyway, I digress.
The AsiaPCR Singlive itself started for me on 23rd jan afternoon, as my sponsor wanted me to attend the Asia expert forum on their new Bio-resorbable scaffolding ( the ABSORB BVS ), which was on the day before the actual congress. It was a nice forum, and of course we ran overtime, as there were so many questions to discuss with the experts. I must say that after 3 years result on ABSORB cohort B ( cohort of 100 patients ), is good. As I brought out at the forum ( me and my big mouth ), I am convinced that it is a safe stent. The concept seems good, but I am not yet convinced fully on its efficacy. Cohort A ( 30 patients ) has now 5 years follow-up. They had a change of stent design for Cohort B ( 100 patients ) with 3 years follow-up, which at this moment looks good. I am unlikely to be convinced on 30+100 patients at 3 years follow-up. Much more work needs to be done. Not to mention that the BVS is RM 12K, when compared to DES ( which second generation DES this BVS have yet to better ) is at RM 8K, apart from the fact the the polymer scaffolding disappears at 2 years. Is the trade-off reasonable for my patients? I must say that some of my colleagues are convinced and they have gone on to implant this BVS in all their richer patients. I must and will surely keep a close watch on the development. It would be nice to have cohort B at 5 years.

                                       Certificate of attendance + faculty name tag combo ).

As for the AsiaPCR meeting, well I had a word with my friend Prof TH Koh, when I met him, that Marina Sands may be very good for gamblers / casino, but it may not be the best place to hold a serious Cardiac meeting. It was too big, too busy and too impersonal. maybe I have got used to Suntec City, but I do think that it is a better venue.
I have been at this meeting since the early 90s ( I cannot even remember the real date. It was conducted by Dr Athur Tan then, at Outram Rd - SGH conference hall, and the attendance then was a few hundreds. Now, the attendance is about 1,000 ( I guess ), run by EuroPCR ( essentially a business organisation from Europe who goes around organising interventional cardiology meetings. They are essentially competing with the Americans ( Cardiovascular Research Foundation  Group ) who travels the world organising TCT type meetings ( eg TCT Asia in Korean, or TCT at CIT in China ). So the interventional world courses, live shows are divided between the PCR group and the TCT group. Thanks Tian Hai for choosing the Europeans.

                                Asia PCR SingLive. My session on 26th Jan 2013. The Panel

                                   Dr Munawar of Indonesia on my right. Discussing the case.

As for the content, it is essentially the same. The main product this year ( I think ), is the BVS - bio-resorbable scaffolding ).
I went out by Firefly and return by Firefly. It lands at Subang and that is good for me ( 15 minutes to and from airport ).
Next scheduled trip should be in March to TCT at CIT. I hope that it does not clash with GE 13. I have been invited overseas faculty to CIT for the last 10 years at least. Keeping the fingers crossed.

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