March 19, 2009 - The LUMEN 2009: The Symposium on Optimal Treatments for Acute MI recently hosted hundreds of paramedics, emergency department staff, nurses, internists, hospitalists, interventional cardiologists, cardiac and vascular surgeons, and hospital administrators, to discuss the state of America’s healthcare system and the fight to save vulnerable heart attack patients.
The presidential keynote was delivered by the American College of Cardiology (ACC), President W. Douglas Weaver, M.D., FACC. Weaver recently attended the White House Forum on Health Care Reform, after which he announced six ACC principles to reforming the current healthcare system. One of those principles, “Focus on patient value—transparent, high quality, cost-effective, continuous care,” is a cornerstone in how heart attack patients must be treated, according to LUMEN Program Director Sameer Mehta, M.D., and many of his colleagues, who argue it should a matter of national public health policy.
According to ACC, the majority of deaths from STEMI (ST-elevation myocardial infarction), a heart attack caused by complete obstruction of a coronary artery, occurs within the first one or two hours after symptom onset. And, although heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., there is still no protocol in place for an integrated STEMI system and national STEMI policy. A national initiative to establish STEMI receiving centers throughout the U.S. was the backbone of LUMEN. The symposium highlighted five of the world’s best STEMI programs - The Mayo Clinic, The RACE program in the state of North Carolina, Citywide Protocol for Ottawa, Canada, the Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, and SOCAL: Southern California Systems.
Alice Jacobs, M.D., FACC, chairperson of the American Heart Association’s Mission Lifeline, addressed more than 150 clinicians and revealed challenges that may affect an overhaul of America’s healthcare system. One ongoing issue is that heart disease is not evenly distributed by population. In rural areas of the U.S., only 4 percent of hospitals have the ability to perform PCI or angioplasty, believed by many physicians to be critical in saving the lives of STEMI patients. Other roadblocks include financial disincentives for patient transfer for PCI and the critical need for EMS systems to invest in 12-lead ECGs.
“At the end of the day, if you don’t improve mortality, you’re not going to make very much headway,” added William O’Neill, M.D., FACC, a pioneer in STEMI interventions who addressed the recent backlash against angioplasty. “We need to start talking about symptom onset to reperfusion time.”
Martin B. Leon, M.D., FACC, chairman emeritus of the Cardiovascular Research Foundation and professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, argued medicine is the “art of balance” between evidence-based medicine and three important additional factors: the physician’s clinical judgment, patient and physician expectations, and socioeconomic factors. Despite the emphasis on evidence-based medicine, these factors must also be taken into account in patient treatment.
“LUMEN was a great resource for dialogue and the exchange of ideas to better support America’s healthcare system,” said Dr. Mehta. “As healthcare reform moves forward, the individual and his or her doctor must be able to determine what is in the best interest of the patient.”
LUMEN 2009: The Symposium on Optimal Treatments for Acute MI served as an integrated STEMI educational rendezvous for paramedics, emergency department staff, critical care nurses, cardiovascular laboratory technologists and nurses, internists, general practitioners, hospitalists, intensivists, clinical and interventional cardiologists, cardiac and vascular surgeons, and hospital administrators.
NACCME LLC helped sponsor the event and is a leading accredited medical education and communications company. Through meetings, publications, and Web-based programming, thousands of healthcare practitioners participate in NACCME activities, expanding their clinical knowledge and competence by examining current medical issues, trends, therapies, and technologies.
For more information: www.LUMENami.com