November 13th, 2011

What Will Keep Me Coming Back to AHA?

Several Cardiology Fellows who are attending AHA.11 this week are blogging together on CardioExchange.  The Fellows include Revathi Balakrishnan, Eiman Jahangir, John Ryan (moderator), and Amit Shah. Read the previous post here. Check back often to learn about the biggest buzz in Orlando.

This morning I spent my time at a special seminar dedicated to emerging concepts of the right ventricle. My research this year is centered around improving RV function in animals models of pulmonary hypertension. As part of this work, I have spent a lot of time reading the literature, getting familiar with different models and trying to come up with new concepts for treatment. Hearing these senior scientists present their best work, published and unpublished, is a gift.

AHA attendance is in decline, and some have attributed this to the fact that the major trials get posted online  in major journals and then synthesized into digestible morsels through sites such CardioExchange and, or even on twitter. For me, however, this seminar was an incredible resource that yielded both inspiration and practical guidance as to how to develop research questions in this field and novel concepts that can be employed  when looking at endpoints. It is special seminars like this one that I suspect will keep bringing me back to AHA year after year, because they cannot be distilled into 140 characters or any other simple summary.

For those at AHA this year, what is it the most that brings you back to the meeting annually? The science? The late-breaking clinical trials? The networking? Or the Epcot center?

5 Responses to “What Will Keep Me Coming Back to AHA?”

  1. Eiman Jahangir, MD says:

    For me it is the networking and socializing. I agree that we can see the science on line and quickly.

  2. Agreed- the AHA scientific sessions is the most economical use of time and money to meet as many people as possible. And I think that is true in terms of meeting old friends as well as investigators with common interests

  3. Jay Ritzema, MD PhD says:

    I think we all agree with the value of large meetings. Has anyone discussed one of the major reasons attendance is in decline- lack of company sponsorship due to new regulations. I am a non US fellow and find it a great shame that none of us get to experience large US / European meetings as the costs are prohibitive coming from Australasia. I was asked to talk at a major US meeting and had to decline as I could not afford to attend. A great shame. I can not think of another profession where this happens.

  4. Eiman Jahangir, MD says:

    I agree, we are in a catch 22 with our current policies. We do not have industry as the rules do not allow it out of fear of influence. But then we are left with less opportunities to attend meetings or have events at meetings where we can get together for dinners, etc….Additionally, by not marketing to us the companies are marketing to consumers which likely has a bigger influence/impact on what we prescribe. How many times have you seen a patient who tells you they heard about a new drug and want to try it?

  5. First, I agree that the personal relationships that are formed, and the intellecutal discussions that spark new studies, are two major reasons to come back. I’m torn between AHA and the smaller conferences such as AHA/EPI, which are smaller and more intimate, but have less overall opportunity.

    The question of industry sponsorship influence is quite interesting. In the end, my formulary at Grady Hospital is mostly limited to $4 generics, etc, so I don’t really see the influence of direct to consumer advertising. I would imagine that this general trend, however, is only one piece of the whole pie.

    The other large force on attendance is likely the global economic decline. I’ll be interesting to see what happens to the trends as it recovers. Will there be a U-shaped curve, or are we headed in a negative spiral?