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SCAI Creates New Council for Rising Interest in Interventional Therapies for Structural Heart Disease

Council will develop training standards and guidelines to ensure quality

keeps pace with growth in new subspecialty field

WASHINGTON, June 18 /PRNewswire/ -- To develop first-of-its-kind guidelines and training standards for the emerging interventional cardiology subspecialty field of structural heart disease, the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) announced today the creation of The Structural Heart Disease Council. The Council's mission includes encouraging research, delivering professional education, facilitating development of guidelines, fostering advocacy, and promoting public education and communication about the potential of interventional therapies for congenital and acquired "structural" heart conditions.

Structural heart disease (SHD) includes a range of conditions and diseases that affect the heart muscle, the development of the heart and valves that control blood flow -- the so-called "heart structures." These conditions may be present at birth (congenital heart disease) or they may develop later in life. They include valve problems, "holes" between the chambers of the heart, malformations of the atrial appendage and other conditions.

Until recently, the only way to repair or replace these conditions involved open-heart surgery. In recent years, interventional cardiologists have developed catheter-based procedures that are minimally invasive alternatives to open-heart surgery -- an especially important development for children and adults who are not good candidates for major surgery.

"Structural heart disease is truly a new subspecialty, and it is rapidly delivering some of the most exciting advances in the field of medicine," said Ziyad M. Hijazi, MD, MPH, FSCAI, president of SCAI. "As the leading interventional cardiology association, SCAI believes this new Council will develop a consensus on guidelines and training specific to structural heart disease, establish criteria for structural heart disease research, and educate the medical community and the public about this new field. This effort is all part of making sure we are doing our best for patients."

Dr. Hijazi, who is professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at Rush University and director of the Rush Center for Congenital & Structural Heart Disease in Chicago, is a pioneer in this subspecialty field and will co-chair the SCAI Structural Heart Disease Council. His co-chair is Ted Feldman, MD, FSCAI, professor of medicine at Northwestern University School of Medicine, director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Evanston Hospital, and a past president of SCAI.

SCAI's Structural Heart Disease Council will create a forum for worldwide collaboration on issues facing cardiovascular specialists who treat structural heart disease, so that they have guidelines, tools, and resources that will help them to provide optimal patient care. SCAI envisions a multi-specialty effort, led by its council, to promote communication and cooperation among organizations and cardiovascular societies in the field.

"This is the first collaborative effort by a professional society to develop guidelines and performance criteria for this emerging field," said Dr. Feldman. "We expect our efforts will lead the development of and have a worldwide impact on this subspecialty to achieve the fundamental goal of benefiting our patients."

Among the goals for the SCAI Council is to facilitate the development of guidelines for training of physicians in structural heart disease intervention in collaboration with both the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Pediatrics. The Council will also facilitate in establishing objective performance criteria for interventional therapies in structural heart conditions, including --

-- Aortic valve replacement;

-- Mitral valve repair/replacement techniques;

-- Pulmonary valve replacement;

-- Left atrial appendage (LAA) closure; and

-- Paravalvar leaks (mitral and aortic).

The SCAI Structural Heart Disease Council will include SCAI Fellow members, as well as representatives from a diverse range of professional medical societies committed to working together to advance the field and achieve the highest-quality care for patients.

About SCAI

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions is a 4,000-member professional organization representing invasive and interventional cardiologists in more than 60 nations. SCAI's mission is to promote excellence in invasive and interventional cardiovascular medicine through physician education and representation, and advancement of quality standards to enhance patient care. SCAI's annual meeting has become the leading venue for education, discussion, and debate about the latest developments in this dynamic medical specialty. SCAI's new patient and physician education program, Seconds Count, offers comprehensive information about cardiovascular disease. For more information about SCAI and Seconds Count, visit or

SOURCE Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions
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