May 14th, 2013

Presenting at HRS — Benefits Before the Session, During, and Afterwards

Several Cardiology Fellows who are attending the Heart Rhythm Society meeting in Denver this week are blogging for CardioExchange. The Fellows include Luis Garcia, Sandeep Goyal, and Amit Mehrotra. You can view the previous post here.

Now that I have recovered from a hectic work and travel schedule, I can reflect on the short time I spent at HRS. I arrived Thursday afternoon and left Friday evening. At Thursday afternoon’s poster session, I visited my good friend and colleague, Michael Broman. I have heard his presentation numerous times on FOG-2, a transcription cofactor that he believes may be associated with the development of atrial fibrillation. This time, it was nice to see others from outside the University of Chicago take interest in his work and to see my friend showcase some of his hard work.

After the poster session, we met up with our section chief, Dr. Martin Burke, who helped me practice the oral presentation I was to give Friday on my research into decision modeling to guide the management of recalled ICD leads.

What worked best about the preparation was the number of times I presented the work to my colleagues and attending physicians. We reviewed it at least three times, and with each presentation, revisions were made. For example, I initially spent a great deal of time explaining the process of Markov analysis rather than my specific work and its application to recalled leads. I quickly changed this and spent more time explaining my model. At the next review, I was asked to spend a little more time explaining my graphs. I added a few slides to clarify the graphical representation of our findings. The result of this iterative review process, I believe, was a much clearer and more concise presentation than I would have presented de novo. I highly recommend that anyone presenting at a conference do the same.

It was a great feeling to have our section’s strong support regarding the presentation of our work. The prep session was followed by a cocktail at a local bar, a nice reminder of the social aspect of these meetings, which plays as strong a role in why I attend as the educational component.

That evening, we attended a Medtronic dinner. The relationship between industry and physicians is particularly strong within electrophysiology. While this relationship carries the potential pitfall of undue influence from those with a vested interest in maximizing profit rather than necessarily optimizing patient care, I have seen its potential benefits in research funding and strong educational conferences. Whatever the case, after an evening of excellent food and drink, I was simply enjoying the time with my colleagues and attending physicians outside the work setting.

The following morning, I caught up with my co-fellows and made the final preparations for my presentation. The seminar was well attended, and I was excited to see other groups performing similar analyses. It is rare to meet someone who has experience in Markov analysis or Monte Carlo simulation plus an interest in electrophysiology. The questions I was asked were limited and fairly straightforward, mostly regarding the example Markov analysis I showed.

More intriguing than the questions asked was the request for collaborative work. I was approached after the presentation and asked to coordinate efforts with a group of physicians working at Duke University. I am looking forward to this opportunity and am interested to learn of additional ideas regarding decision modeling in electrophysiology.

I was particularly excited when another seminar attendee came to the microphone and quoted one of our previously published studies. I guess this is why we hold conferences — to share in the value of such research and promote enthusiasm to continue with new endeavors. I know I am more more motivated even after a brief 24 hours at this year’s conference, and I look forward to attending others in the future.


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