By Nassir Marrouche, MD
Director, Western Atrial Fibrillation (Western AFib) Symposium
Director, Tulane Heart and Vascular Institute and the Research Innovation for Arrhythmia Discoveries (TRIAD), Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans
Atrial fibrillation, often called AFib, is the most common type of heart arrhythmia.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that between 3-6 million people in the United States currently suffer from AFib. It impacts an estimated 9% of Americans aged 65 and older, and this number is expected to increase as the population ages.
As the number of cases increases, our knowledge of this disease is also growing and evolving.
I first began researching AFib in 1993, and my colleagues and I learned that you cannot look at the disease from only one angle. The best outcomes require a multidisciplinary approach, with the entire care team communicating with each other and working together. Effective diagnosis and treatment cannot be done only by the ablationist, the traditional noninterventionist, or from the nursing perspective; all teams involved need to collaborate on different aspects of the work.
This multidisciplinary approach is at the heart of the annual Western AFib Symposium, planned for February 24-25, 2023, in Park City, Utah. It is an opportunity for expert faculty to present the latest advancements in diagnosis and treatment, challenging case studies, and fireside chats for group discussions.
Unlike traditional conference settings, each session at Western AFib is a mix of topics instead of being dedicated to only one subject. Sessions feature (for example) a basic scientist speaking, then an imager, then an ablationist, then a nurse, and then a patient. In the 15 years that we have held Western AFib, participants have told us they love this format because it allows them to learn from everyone. It is critical to us that we are teaching clinicians to look at this disease from multiple angles.
Western AFib also focuses on the importance of digital health and artificial intelligence (AI) in screening for the disease and improving patient care and outcomes. There is no way we can live without AI and digital health, especially as our patients grow ever more personally reliant.
At Western AFib we will highlight how clinicians can incorporate Fitbits, smart phones, and other technology into patient treatment plans. For example, encouraging patients to track their own health data through technology, and evaluating the data to determine the best course of action for ongoing care.
Western AFib is an extensive meeting that supports an agenda of access and equality. It is an opportunity for clinicians to heighten their knowledge and explore new technologies that will improve the lives of their patients. Our attendees come to interact, discover, and learn. For more information or to register, visit theafibmeeting.com.