November 17th, 2013

Early-Career Sessions at AHA 2013: Pearls, Personal Insights, and Powerhouse Presentations

Several Cardiology Fellows who are attending AHA.13 in Dallas this week are blogging for CardioExchange. The Fellows include Vimal RamjeeSiqin YeSeth MartinReva Balakrishnan, and  Saurav Chatterjee. You can find the previous post here. For more of our AHA.13 coverage of late-breaking clinical trials, interviews with the authors of the most important research, and blogs from our fellows on the most interesting presentations at the meeting, check out our AHA.13 Headquarters.

AHA 2013 has got off to a rollicking start! The first day was largely devoted to the early career sessions, where lots of us fellows were walking about starry-eyed and a little overwhelmed at the scale of things, as well as to be walking the same halls as some of the legends of cardiology. There were lots of practical tips for the fellows on how to initiate a career in research and how to be clinically strong.

We faced some hard choices, because attending one session meant missing other concurrent sessions. The quality of the presentations was high, and a few of the presenters struck personal notes. For instance, in a talk titled “The Importance of Good Mentorship” for the early-career Functional Genomics and Translational Biology council, Dr. Emelia Benjamin presented a few anecdotal pearls – and shared that she learnt the art of texting from her mentee John J. Ryan! For me, it’s small human interactions such as these that make the mentor-mentee relationship so special.

There were also powerhouse presentations from the Peripheral Vascular Disease council – including from world leaders in the field – and a workshop for the fellows-in-training. I have attended this session for the past 2 years now. As many programs lack a lot of exposure to PVDs, especially in the initial months of fellowship, it has garnered a lot of interest.

One of the other aspects of the first day was the fact that things appeared well organized, to the point that even the unofficial symposia were summarized in a handout – and the teaching value of such a session became apparent during a presentation on “Cardiovascular Controversies in Diabetes” chaired by Dr. Valentin Fuster. One speaker from Canada outlined the recent preventive guidelines published by the AHA/ACC, while Dr. David Holmes brought to the fore some of the lesser-known issues associated with the FREEDOM trial (on which Dr. Fuster was PI): e.g., poor enrollment of patients (<10% of those screened); a higher risk for stroke with CABG compared with PCI in diabetics with multivessel disease; issues of patient preference in choosing lower immediate stroke risk over long-term mortality benefits. This sparked an interesting conversation between two giants of medicine.

Overall, an extremely encouraging and interesting prelude to what I hope will be a fantastic meeting, with lots of education and information for cardiologists in all stages of their careers.

What’s your take on the issues framed in the early sessions at AHA? Share them with the CardioExchange community.

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