ECU News Services

youtube twitter facebook rss feed

International leaders in heart surgery coming to Greenville

GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Sept. 24, 2004)   —   Some of the most noted heart surgeons in the world will arrive in Greenville Sept. 26 for a two-day symposium dedicated to teaching new methods to analyze heart valve disease and the latest techniques in heart valve repair and replacement surgery.

Approximately 100 heart surgeons, cardiologists and anesthesiologists from the United States, Canada, Asia, Africa, Australia and Europe have registered to attend the Carolina Valve Symposium, which will include lectures and operating room observations thanks to two-way video and audio communications between operating rooms at Pitt County Memorial Hospital and the Greenville Convention Center.

The program chairman for the symposium is Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood Jr., professor of surgery and chief of cardiothoracic and vascular surgery at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. He is director of the new cardiovascular institute and also senior associate vice chancellor for health sciences at ECU. In May 2000, he performed the first total heart valve repair using robotic technology in North America at Pitt County Memorial.

The symposium, which will be held Sept. 27 and 28, is jointly sponsored by the Brody School of Medicine, University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina and Edwards Lifesciences. The event will focus on new methods of using echocardiography to diagnose and to aid during cardiac valve surgery. Echocardiography is a noninvasive diagnostic method that uses ultrasound to visualize internal cardiac structures.

Chitwood said some people might wonder why his peers from around the world are traveling to Greenville for a symposium. The answer is simple: because the newest technology and techniques will be discussed and demonstrated in eastern North Carolina, a region that unfortunately leads the rest of the state in mortality from heart and vascular disease, he said.

"Cardiac surgeons do not foresee a decrease in the need for their expertise. The number of cases of heart disease is expected to grow substantially over the next decade purely as a result of the aging of the baby boom generation, with former President Bill Clinton as a recent national example," said Chitwood.

"“Eastern North Carolina is the center for heart disease. These surgeons, cardiologists and anesthesiologists will come here to see how to fix these problems, some of which are preventable,”" said Chitwood.

The heart surgery “superstars” who will be lecturing and operating during the symposium include the following:

--Sir Magdi Yacoub of London, a pioneering surgeon in heart and lung transplantation. He has performed more of these transplants than any other surgeon and is considered by his peers to be one of the world’s leading cardiac surgeons.

--Dr. Friedrich Mohr of Leipzig, Germany, a pioneer in robotics and endoscopic minimally invasive surgery. He has built a premier cardiothoracic program at the University of Leipzig. His program is the primary producer of young chiefs of surgery in Germany. There has been a special collaborative relationship between the University of Leipzig and ECU, as it’s where the ECU surgeons learned and began their robotics program.

--Dr. Jack Shanewise, who is director of the Division of Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons in New York. His research focuses heavily on intraoperative echocardiography.

--Dr. Pravin Shah, who is medical director of non-invasive cardiac imaging and academic programs at Hoag Heart Institute in Newport Beach, Calif. He is one of the world’s authorities on echocardiography.

--Dr. Randy Martin, director of noninvasive cardiology at Emory University School of Medicine. He is a recognized expert in echocardiography and noninvasive cardiology and is the immediate past president of the American Society of Echocardiography, an organization of 9,000 cardiov


Contact: Jeannine Manning Hutson | 252-744-2481