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International leaders in heart surgery coming to Greenville

GREENVILLE, N.C.   (Apr. 25, 2005)   —   Some of the most noted heart surgeons in the world will travel to Greenville May 1 for a two-day symposium dedicated to the latest advances in treating heart conditions, such as atrial fibrillation and mitral valve abnormalities.

Approximately 150 heart surgeons, cardiologists and anesthesiologists from the United States, Canada, Asia 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. This year's symposium pays tribute to Dr. Alain Carpentier of Paris, an internationally recognized pioneer in robotic heart surgery.

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 Eastern Carolina Cardiovascular Institute and also senior associate vice chancellor for health sciences at ECU.

The symposium will focus on ablation to correct atrial fibrillation, which is a form of arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, in which the atria (the two upper most chambers of the heart) quiver instead of beat effectively. Ablation uses an energy source, such as radiofrequency, microwave or laser, to correct the arrhythmia. The two-day program is sponsored by the Brody School of Medicine, University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina and Edwards Lifesciences.

The meeting will also focus on identifying which surgical intervention is the most effective for repairing or replacing valves and on the use of echocardiography to diagnose and to aid during cardiac valve surgery. Echocardiography uses ultrasound to visualize internal cardiac structures.

"This year's Carolina Valve Symposium will feature the world's top valve surgeons, including Dr. Carpentier and Dr. (Tirone) David," said Chitwood, who is also known internationally for his mitral valve surgery advances. "We plan to have a special tribute to Dr. Carpentier for his work in developing valve repair rather than replacement surgical procedures.

"Surgeons, cardiologists and other health care providers will have the opportunity to interact as they perform and discuss the most complex types of valve surgery," he said.

In addition to Carpentier, the following heart surgery "superstars" will be lecturing and operating during the symposium:

--Dr. David Adams, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. Adams is one of the young American surgeons recognized for his expertise in the area of mitral valve and aortic valve surgery.

--Dr. Tirone David of Toronto, who is a leader in heart valve surgery and in developing and refining techniques to repair rather than replace the mitral valve. Because of his work in this area, an operation has been named for him, the Tirone David reimplantation method of aortic valve sparing for aortic root aneurysm. He is president of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery.

--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 past president of the American Society of Echocardiography, an organization of 9,000 cardiovascular specialists.

--Dr. Friedrich Mohr of Leipzig, Germany, a pioneer in robotics and endoscopic minimally invasive surgery. At the University of Leipzig, he has built a cardiothoracic program that is the primary producer for young chiefs of surgery in Germany. There has been a special collaborative relationship between the University of Leipzig and ECU; it's where the ECU surgeons learned and began their robotics program.

--Dr. Jack Shanewise, who is director of the Division of Cardiothoraci


Contact: Jeannine Manning Hutson | 252-744-2481