18th Annual Boston AF Symposium, January 17-19, 2013, Mechanisms and New Directions in Therapy

by Steve S. Ryan, PhD

Steve at entrance to BAFS 2013 exhibits Jan 17, 2013.

Steve at BAFS 2013 exhibits Jan 17, 2013.

INTRODUCTION

The annual international Boston A-Fib Symposium (BAFS) is one of the most important conferences on A-Fib in the world. It brings together researchers and doctors who share the latest information.

Each year I attend the Symposium to learn, and ‘absorb’ the presentations and findings. On the plane ride home I start writing summaries of significant presentations and important research findings as it applies to A-Fib patients seeking their A-Fib cure. I add my own comments to help interpret the information for A-Fib.com (non-medical) readers.

Over the next months, I will be posting my summaries. (FYI: I send each of my summaries to the presenter for their feedback before posting, so it takes time to get all my summaries written, reviewed, and posted.) I’ll announce each addition on the A-Fib News page with a link to each report.

Be warned: If you haven’t read and understood most of the technical articles on A-Fib.com, it may be difficult reading. (Hint: Our Glossary of Terms may be helpful.)

Over the three days of the 2013 BAFS, there were 43 presentations, eight Live and Pre-Recorded Case Presentations, and two 2-hour-long panel discussions.

By far and away the most innovative, important and groundbreaking presentations dealt with ECGI (Noninvasive Electrocardiographic Imaging) which the author predicts will revolutionize the way A-Fib is mapped and ablated. See my in-depth article: “Noninvasive Electrocardiographic Imaging“.

My reports on the 2013 Boston Atrial Fibrillation Symposium are divided into three parts (click title to jump to topic or open new browser window):

 Part 1:  BAFS Overview (below)
 Part 2:  Highlights of Symposium Presentations
 Part 3:  Steve’s In-Depth Reports

BAFS OVERVIEW

Surprise Announcement: AF Symposium will be moving to Orlando, FL in 2014

TBAFS 2014 Moving to Orlando FLhe 18th annual Boston A-Fib Symposium opened with a surprise announcement—the AF Symposium will be moving to Orlando, FL in 2014. It wasn’t just because of the January snow and cold in Boston. The Orlando World Center Marriott is a 200 acre resort that can house the entire Symposium meeting in one place.

The dominant mood of this year’s Boston A-Fib Symposium seemed to be impending change and a bitter-sweet nostalgia. The Symposium had been at the Seaport World Trade Center for 15 years, ever since the hotel opened. In Dr. Ruskin’s words, “we’re certainly going to miss them and this place.”

On a Personal NoteBeat Your A-Fib formats: eBook and print

I presented speakers with an autographed copy of our new book ”Beat Your A-Fib: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Cure. Most of the speakers are mentioned in the book’s Acknowledgements as a resource and support in writing the book. It is available both as a print book (see Amazon.com for reviews) and in a .PDF version. Visit our book site at www.BeatYourA-Fib.com for more info.

Over three days there were 43 different short presentations, eight Live and Pre-Recorded Case Presentations, and two 2-hour-long panel discussions—the first on Difficult Cases in AF Management, the second on Challenging Cases in AF Ablation. The most discussed subject was Persistent A-Fib with six different speakers.

Format: Speaker + Open Discussion

Most of the presentations were structured so that each speaker would have time to answer a few questions. Then after the last speaker’s presentation on, for example, ‘Persistent A-Fib’, each six speakers would then move to the elevated head table for a no-holds-bared discussion with the audience. Often these audience and speaker interaction discussions produced remarkably insightful comments and thinking. See for example “Difficult Cases in AF Management” below. (One featured speaker, who is one of the most experienced and knowledgeable doctors in A-Fib, said that the Boston A-Fib Symposium is the only conference where he attends all sessions.) Not only are the presentations excellent and provide new, important information, but the discussions after presentations are unique opportunities for the best minds in the A-Fib field to exchange ideas and viewpoints, argue, and expand their thinking about the major issues and challenges in A-Fib.

Speaker-Audience Interactivity Via Remote

As in previous years, each audience member had a remote clicker on which they could select choices. A presenter might ask, for example, which of the following five treatments would you recommend or choose in your practice? Within seconds the percentage of audience members selecting a choice would be flashed on the screen. This resulted in much more involvement and interaction of the audience with the presenters. It was also a learning experience for audience members to see how their colleagues’ choices compared to theirs.

Note: I am indebted to the writers and publisher of “The Boston AF Symposium News” (MediFore) for their daily news publication with many detailed reports.

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