Attend any large cardiology meeting this year, and you’ll lose track of the number of times you hear the term “heart team.” But ask anyone what it actually means in practice, and you won’t hear the same thing twice.
Is it activated for all cardiology patients or just those with complex structural disease? Does the team involve only cardiologists and surgeons or do these members also invite the opinions of anesthesiologists and palliative care specialists? Is it a Heart Team (note the capitalization) that meets at a scheduled time once a week, or are informal heart team discussions held in the hallways when convenient? What roles do non-physicians play? Who on the team is responsible for following up with the patient post-procedure? How are all these efforts reimbursed?