Heartfelt with Dr Melissa Walton-ShirleyView all posts »
Traveling to Barcelona for the 2009 ESC CongressAug 24, 2009 22:24 EDT
I'm packing for Barcelona tonight. I'm also on first call, so I guess depending upon how many calls I get or whether or not I'll have to go out, I might or might not get there with the essentials. Someone asked me last week why I do this. Why do I travel to Europe and two American meetings annually to blog late-breaking clinical trials, pursue interesting and helpful tidbits, don tennis shoes to run from meeting to meeting, conduct interviews and network with some of the brightest minds in cardiology and medical journalism today? The answer? It's all about two important issues: one, to bring YOU, the practitioner or the researcher, the latest information to pass along to your patients or apply to your subjects, and two, to help ME keep up with advancements that I otherwise wouldn't have time to read about or listen to.
Don't get me wrong, it's been interesting for the last few years. I usually embrace cultural differences, or at least most of them although sometimes it gets a bit challenging. Though Vienna was beautiful, I've never seen more human beings with smoke pouring from their mouths like chimney stacks in any other part of the world. They smoke more than the folks in downtown Paris (before they went smoke free that is)! I saw a naked man in the Turkish sauna/shower in Munich (long story, but suffice it to say, I was completely innocent and he wasn't phased a bit). I was flashed by a regular at a local park while riding in a rickshaw, and in the four hours of free time we enjoy during a typical meeting week, I've seen things like the Vasa in Stockholm, royal jewels gleaming alongside the chandeliers of Vienna, and was lost in a rainstorm in a part of a Sweden where no one spoke my language. I ate white sausage once and more herring than I'd care to admit. I keep on doing it because these meetings are one of the most intense learning experinces I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. I also love our team at theheart.org.
You see, I am just like you. I work long hours as a cardiovascular healthcare provider and have little time to read, so I depend upon theheart.org for my patients' well being. I know I can depend upon our heartwire journalists to get it right, condense it and present the news in a concise, readable, and digestible format. I know the information is accessible anytime I need it, but more importantly, it's accurate. I can use our search engine to research specific topics and I can tune in to hear what other cardiologists think is the most practical application of the information. I can actually watch the Topolog with Eric Topol, who authored one of the most outstanding textbooks of cardiology of our time, and listen to researchers like Bob Harrington give his slant on topics in his regular podcast. We always assemble the brightest and most dyanmic thought leaders in cardiology for our CardioPanels. I count folks like Clyde Yancy as both an expert in the field of CHF but also a friend. I'll always cherish my time with the late Dr. Phillip Poole Wilson, a true gentleman and a true genius whose acquaintance I owe to my work with theheart.org. We have information on anything that anyone could ever need to practice cutting edge cardiology, but it isn't that way by accident. Each meeting requires an exhaustive team of journalists, techs, editorial staff, directors, producers, videographers, coordinators, and photographers. It's quite a production, really, and to pull it off in a different country every year is challenging.
I can hear the sounds of suitcases zipping and laptop carrying cases snapping shut all around the world tonight in preparation for an exhausting but exhiliarating week ahead.
It doesn't hurt that we are traveling to beautiful Barcelona as our setting this year. Make no mistake, first and foremost our business is to bring you as close to the ESC as possible. I look forward to information on BiV pacing, Factor Xa inhibitors, hypertension trials, congestive failure advancements, and left main stenting. I saw something about pediatric risk factors for adult CAD which should provide us with more information to pass along to our patients. I encourage you to click on to heartwire for late-breaking clinical trials, video and audio programs to provide wrap- ups of late breakers and other interesting presentations each day.
Theheart.org team may be far away from you but we are really no farther away than the click of a button. Come along with us to Barcelona. We hope you will enjoy our coverage of the ESC 2009 Congress as much as we will enjoy bringing it to you!