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Media Contact: Sherry Baker 29 April 2004    
  (404) 377-1398   Print  | Email ]

EPIC 2004: Emory Heart Center Trains Cardiologists in All the Latest Techniques
Breakthroughs in interventional cardiology have resulted in rapidly evolving new technologies and therapies for fighting heart disease and repairing damaged hearts. But how do cardiologists, and other cardiac care health professionals learn first hand about the best innovative strategies for preventing restenosis (the reclogging of arteries) after angioplasty? And what are the optimal medications for patients who have had heart attacks?

How do physicians identify the new and best approaches to the management of major complications of coronary interventions? How can stem cell therapy be used to treat ischemia? And how can strategies for cardiovascular risk reduction be applied to patients in the real world?

These questions and others will be tackled at EPIC (Emory Practical Intervention Course) 2004 this week. Cardiologists, cardiac nurses and physicians' assistants, interventional radiologists and other healthcare professionals from around the country who are interested in the latest information pertinent to the practice of interventional cardiovascular medicine will attend the event, which is slated for April 29 through May 1st at the Emory Conference Center Hotel adjacent to the Emory campus. The faculty includes world-renowned cardiologists who will take part in lectures, debates and interactive case demonstrations.

Now in its third decade, EPIC offers cardiology specialists demonstrations of coronary and peripheral vascular interventions broadcast live from both Emory University Hospital and Emory Crawford Long Hospital.

"It is particularly appropriate that this course is offered at Emory, one of the birthplaces of interventional cardiology," notes Douglas C. Morris, MD, Director of the Emory Heart Center, who will be one of the moderators for the Drug Eluting Stent Symposium at EPIC 2004.

Emory's role in the development of interventional cardiology began in l980, when pioneering cardiologist Andreas Gruentzig, MD, joined the Emory medical faculty. In 1977, while living in Zurich, Switzerland, Dr. Gruentzig had inserted a catheter into a man's clogged coronary artery and inflated a tiny balloon, successfully opening a blockage and restoring blood flow to the patient's heart. At Emory, Gruentzig worked with other cardiologists to vigorously research and refine this intervention, soon to be known as "angioplasty," that was destined to revolutionize cardiology.

Following Dr. Gruentzig's death in l985, The Andreas Gruentzig Cardiovascular Center of Emory University was created to continue cutting edge interventional cardiology research and to foster clinical excellence in the practice of interventional cardiology. Gruentzig Center interventional ardiologists have now performed over 35,000 coronary angioplasty procedures.

John S. Douglas, Jr., MD, a colleague of Dr. Gruentzig who helped refine the technique of coronary angioplasty, also personally participated in another historic advance in interventional cardiology. In l987, Dr. Douglas inserted the first stent -- a tiny, metal tube-like object that helps keep arteries open after angioplasty -- in an American patient. Today, three-fourths of all patients undergoing angioplasties receive stents. Dr. Douglas has also been in the forefront of researching drug eluting stents. Dr. Douglas and Dr. Morris are among the Emory interventional cardiologists who will participate in both live case demonstrations and lectures at the EPIC event.

"Interventional cardiology is moving very quickly. Some of the most innovative procedures at 'EPIC 2001' may well be standard practice in a couple of years," Dr. Douglas comments. "This is a very exciting time for cardiology -- and for our patients."

"EPIC 2004" is presented by the Emory University School of Medicine, the Andreas Gruentzig Cardiovascular Center and The Emory Heart Center.

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