Cardiovascular Rounds

News, resources, and analysis from the Cardiovascular Roundtable

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New AF quality guidelines help standardize a complicated field

by Marissa Schwartz August 3, 2016

Atrial fibrillation (AF) affects between 2.7 and 6.1 million U.S. adults, and its prevalence is expected to more than double by 2050. Despite its significant toll, efforts to standardize treatment guidelines and define quality metrics have been less intensive for AF than for many other CV conditions. So what’s an electrophysiologist to do?

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Breaking: CMS proposes mandatory bundling for CABG, AMI

Megan Tooley July 26, 2016

A shockwave hit the world of CV services on Monday, as CMS released a proposal for a new mandatory bundled payment model for CABG and AMI.

The proposed rule contains three new significant policies:

  • A mandatory episode payment model (EPM) for CABG and AMI (note they are also extending the existing bundled payment model for hip replacements to other hip surgeries)
  • A new payment model for cardiac rehab meant to increase utilization
  • A track that would enable physicians with significant participation in bundled payment models to qualify for the Advanced Alternative Payment model track in MACRA

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Want better CV care? Include pharmacists.

by Julie Bass July 6, 2016

We’ve reported on the benefits of including pharmacists in CV care teams in the past, and now new research is strengthening evidence to support involving pharmacists in CV patient care.

A new study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology this month set out to evaluate the effectiveness of a community pharmacy-based intervention on CV risk. The results? CVD risk was reduced and patient outcomes improved in the intervention group. If you aren’t including pharmacists in your CV care teams yet, you’ll want to after reading more.

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How sex differences in atrial fibrillation can impact CV care

by Marissa Schwartz June 30, 2016

Sex-based differences in cardiovascular conditions are well known. Prevalence, presentation, and prognosis for men and women can vary significantly. However, a new analysis of the ORBIT-AF registry suggests that sex differences in atrial fibrillation (AF) morbidity and mortality may fall along counterintuitive lines, with women being at greater risk for adverse events than men, but experiencing lower overall mortality. This observation has important implications for how physicians treat AF patients.

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Valve and TAVR Resource Center

June 28, 2016

Megan Tooley, Cardiovascular Roundtable

You’d like to expand your valve services—but should you pursue TAVR, or should you strengthen your other valve services? Finding the information you need to make an informed decision just got easier. We’ve compiled the best of our valve and TAVR resources below to help you evaluate your options. Keep reading for exclusive TAVR benchmarks you won't find anywhere else, our comprehensive guide to valve centers, a profile of the first commerical TAVR program to span two independent health systems, and more.

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Quick poll: How do you staff for CABG?

by Aaron Mauck June 15, 2016

Here at the Cardiovascular Roundtable, we receive a lot of questions about how to best structure the CV care team to ensure top-of-license care as well as optimal efficiency. One recent question we received from a member that piqued our interest concerned standard staffing levels in the CV OR.

So, we would like to put the question to you.

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Watchman: What is it, and should CV programs invest in it?

by Julie Bass June 9, 2016

Atrial fibrillation (AF) prevalence in the United States is on a steep incline—it’s expected to increase to 12.1 million by 2030 and 15.9 million by 2050. With this huge uptick in prevalence, CV programs are looking to double down on optimizing treatment plans and further decreasing stroke risk in AF patients.

While many CV programs are using anticoagulants to decrease stroke risk, other programs are considering new alternatives—like the Watchman device—to further reduce the risk. Before adopting Watchman into an existing AF program, there are a few key factors planners and CV service line leaders need to consider.

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The 'heart team'—defined

by Andrea Titus May 24, 2016

If you’re an administrator of a CV service line, you’ve no doubt heard the phrase “heart team.” It’s a seductive term, promising a spirit of collaborative, multidisciplinary decision-making. But it’s also hard to define. What actually is the heart team in practice? Who are the team members, and how do they guide the patient care pathway in different institutional contexts?

Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics Symposium (TCT)—the Cardiovascular Research Foundation’s hub for covering interventional cardiology news—has been digging into these questions over the past several months, surveying over 250 of their global members (primarily clinicians) on how they use heart teams at their hospitals. Here’s what we’ve learned from their work thus far.

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