THE 4th International Cardiology Conference, organised by Gleneagles JPMC Cardiac Centre, went into full swing yesterday as a number of distinguished speakers dealt with various issues pertaining to the advancing fields of cardiology.
Held at the Royal Brunei Polo & Riding Club, the conference carried the theme 'Emerging Trends in Cardiology' and discussed the current status of atherosclerosis and heart failure management, interventional cardiology and device closure as well as topics in cardiac surgery.
The conference's distinguished panel of speakers included well-known specialists in the field of cardiology and electrophysiology, interventional cardiology and cardiac surgery.
The day was divided into three sessions with the first focusing on coronary artery disease. Here, the topics of intervention to prevent atherosclerosis, acute PCI, evidence-based management of coronary artery disease and management of acute coronary syndrome were discussed.
The second session dealt with heart failure and arrthymias, in which the topics of heart failure, in terms of epidemiology and medical management, as well as EP studies and ablation in the diagnosis and management of cardiac arrhythmias were highlighted.
The same session saw Dr Lim Chong Hee, a Senior Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon at the National Heart Centre in Singapore, speak on establishing a comprehensive heart failure programme.
"Heart failure is going to be an epidemic in this part of the world, especially," he said.
"Coronary diseases will get worse, plus diet, obesity and all these things. So it is important for us to get our teams together and anticipate this problem," he said.
As he explained, a heart failure programme needs to be set up in a tertiary care hospital where surgeons, cardiologists, nurses and multidisciplinary specialities come together to look at individual patients and see whether we can offer specific therapies for them.
This, he continued, is because not all heart failure cases are the same. Some need a bypass, some need valve replacements, some just need medical therapy, and some need a heart transplant or a device.
"It streamlines the treatment of heart failure because now it is treated by a lot of cardiologists, but the patients don't get views from other doctors in the same discipline. If you just stick to one cardiologist, maybe you're not getting the correct treatment or the best treatment out there. So, in a tertiary care hospital, we can offer a more rounded and more balanced treatment to the patient.
Sharing with the Bulletin his thoughts on the conference itself, he said, "I've been to a couple of these conferences in Brunei and I can see that it has been going from strength to strength.
"You can see the audience and they're very interested and very focused on the problems of cardiology in this part of the world as well as in Brunei," he pointed out.
Dato Paduka Dr Hj Md Isham bin Hj Jaafar, Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Gleneagles JPMC, also delivered a presentation on the role of mechanical devices in the management of heart failure and LVAD as destination therapy.
"We want to streamline a heart failure programme," he said, before going on to talk about what kinds of mechanical devices are available now,
Explaining how these mechanical devices work, he said, "Basically when the heart is failing, it means it is not pumping enough blood around the body, so we implant something to help that process."
The implant is attached to a convenient battery pack, which allows users to go about their normal activities.
"It is not something we have in Brunei, but it is something we plan to embark on. We want to share with the public this thing that we call destination therapy. It is called such because you're going to live with it forever," he said.
Mechanical devices are a viable option for the region, as "transplants aren't big in this part of the world," he went on to say, highlighting culture as the main reason.
He highlighted that the whole point of the conference is to make people aware of the services that are available here in Brunei, the region, as well as around the world.
The conference's third and final session dealt with cardiology updates, discussing various operating procedures and technologies used.
Gleneagles JPMC's 4th International Cardiology Conference received a good response they called "overwhelming," with over 200 registered participants having involved themselves in the event, comprising doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals from Brunei and around the region.