2023 Heart Failure Symposium

On a sunny Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center at the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson held its inaugural Heart Failure Symposium—the first iteration of what is now an annual event.

The Symposium was held in the UArizona Thomas W. Keating Bioresearch Building, which houses the BIO5 Institute where many Sarver Heart members conduct research. Physicians, scientists, nurse practitioners and other medical providers from across the area convened to discuss various topics in heart failure. This included updated guidelines in the management of patients with heart failure released in 2022 by the American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association and Heart Failure Society of America. Participants could earn up to 3.0 CME credits for attending the event.

Cardiothoracic surgeon Toshinobu Kazui, MD, PhD, offered opening remarks and shared a bit of history about the BIO5 Institute, which is named for the five core disciplines of the UArizona Health Sciences and aptly exemplifies the interdisciplinary goal of the Sarver Heart Center’s event. BIO5 provided a picturesque venue for the Symposium, which aimed to harness the collaborative power of providers from diverse backgrounds with a shared goal: to provide the highest quality of care possible for patients with heart failure.

Presentations were kicked off by Banner – University Medical Center Tucson’s Alexandra McGlamery, FNP, who presented on Guideline-Directed Medical Therapy, followed by a presentation by Banner’s Juvel-lou P. Velasco, AGACNP, on implantable pulmonary artery sensors. Advanced Heart Disease and Transplant Cardiology team member Saad Kubba, MD, covered pulmonary hypertension during the first of his two presentations, which was followed by a break.

In the lobby, representatives of 13 organizations, including medical technology and pharmaceutical companies and local non-profits that provide hospice care, shared information about their products and services. Event attendees had no shortage of entertainment between presentations, whether they were engaging with exhibitors, enjoying refreshments, or viewing the solar eclipse which occurred that day. Guests passed around eclipse glasses to safely watch the moon transit directly across the sun before returning to the auditorium to resume presentations. 

After the break, Deepak Acharya, MD, MSPH, Division of Cardiology lead for the Cardiogenic Shock Program, presented on “Shock and Temporary Mechanical Circulatory Support,” before returning the microphone to Dr. Kubba for his talk on “Timely Referrals.” Next, Banner Clinical Program Manager Eddie Betterton delivered his presentation on ventricular assist devices and artificial hearts, followed by a presentation by Sharon Powell, MSN, RN, AGNP-C, CCTC, on transplant coordination. Dr. Acharya returned to the podium as well to present on “Referrals: The Window of Opportunity” before the CME portion of the event wrapped up. 

The eclipse wasn’t the only poignant feature punctuating the Symposium. The event was wrapped up with a patient story from Paul Hartman, a retired astronomer and former patient of Elizabeth Juneman, MD, Sarver Heart interim director and Division of Cardiology interim chief, Dr. Kazui, Powell, Velasco, and Betterton. Hartman, accompanied by his wife and daughter, shared his experience receiving a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) to support his heart. He said, despite his initial doubts, his care team worked closely with him to tailor a treatment plan and restore a quality of life he hadn’t expected to regain.

At the conclusion of the event, Velasco presented Hartman with a gift on behalf of the Sarver Heart Center. Lunch was provided and attendees took a final lap around the lobby to interact with exhibitors before heading out.