December 28, 2015

The Heart Team is a concept used to best determine the course of treatment for a cardiac patient–usually surgery or intervention. A team typically includes surgeons, interventional cardiologists, referring cardiologists, imaging specialists, nurses, and PAs but varies considerably depending on the institution. Some teams hold organized weekly meetings and some Heart Team conversations happen ad hoc in the hallways.

As part of an ongoing investigation for tctmd.com into how key players view the Heart Team in concept and in practice, I interviewed several general and interventional cardiology fellows at the recent American Heart Association Scientific Sessions meeting in Orlando, Fla.

They defined the Heart Team as “stronger than a collaboration,” and recognize the importance of the different, yet critical roles assigned to physicians and non-physicians alike. The biggest challenge to the team’s success, they said, will be finding a way to balance the opinions of all involved and potentially regulating its use in the future.

But seeing it implemented successfully during training, said one interviewee, can make fellows “more open to the idea” of incorporating the Heart Team into their practice down the line.