Public Release: 

SCAI 2016 Hildner lecture to chronicle practice of cardiology

Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions

Orlando, Fla. - Since interventional cardiology was founded almost 40 years ago, the practice has completely transformed cardiovascular care. This evolution will be covered in the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) 2016 Hildner Lecture, given by James S. Forrester, MD, emeritus professor and former chief of the division of cardiology at Cedars-Sinai, and professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles. The lecture, "How Surgery and Cardiology Evolved to Intervention: The Incredible True Story of Our Lifetimes," will be presented at the SCAI 2016 Scientific Sessions in Orlando, Fla. Dr. Forrester will describe three paradigm shifts -- and the individuals behind them -- in the last half century that led to the catheterization laboratory, or cath lab, becoming the center of cardiac therapy.

"In the coming decade, heart disease will cease to be the number one cause of death in the United States, in no small part thanks to interventional cardiology," said Dr. Forrester. "It's amazing how far our practice has come. It wasn't long ago that there was no cardiac surgery, no angioplasty, no defibrillators, and treatment for valvular and coronary disease was nonexistent."

Dr. Forrester is known for the development of hemodynamic monitoring using the Swan-Ganz catheter, coronary angioscopy, and the Diamond-Forrester method, an approach to diagnostic heart tests that is now widely used. He has given more than a thousand national and international cardiovascular lectures.

Dr. Forrester, who joined cardiology when the field was in its infancy, became interested in the practice due to the great deal of objective information, which he noted made it more intellectually stimulating than other specialties of internal medicine.

The Hildner Lecture will address the pivotal role intervention has played in improving health outcomes in patients with cardiovascular disease and offer attendees a view on their profession's evolution and how it will influence the future of cardiology and the interventional subspecialty.

Dr. Forrester noted that his talk will also focus on the colorful personalities, or "mavericks," whose ideas drove the milestones that have propelled cardiology forward, including:

  • Dr. Dwight Harken was the first surgeon to touch the heart, going against a millennia-old approach, pulling shrapnel from the hearts of soldiers wounded during World War II.
  • Dr. F. Mason Sones, Jr., inadvertently flipped a catheter into a coronary artery during surgery, thereby inventing coronary angiography.
  • Dr. Andreas Gruentzig developed the idea of balloon angioplasty, which was ridiculed initially, but led to the field of interventional cardiology.

"These doctors were iconoclastic and challenged conventional wisdom, which not only translated into their fascinating personal lives, but it is also why they succeeded in medicine," said Dr. Forrester.


Dr. Forrester published the book "The Heart Healers: The Misfits, Mavericks and Rebels Who Created the Greatest Medical Breakthrough of Our Lives," in September 2015. He will be signing 100 free copies following the lecture.

The SCAI 2016 Hildner Lecture will be held on Wednesday May 4, 2016 at 12:45 p.m. ET at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, Fla. For more information about the SCAI 2016 Scientific Sessions, visit http://www.

About SCAI

The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions is a 4,500-member professional organization representing invasive and interventional cardiologists in approximately 70 nations. SCAI's mission is to promote excellence in invasive/interventional cardiovascular medicine through physician education and representation, and advancement of quality standards to enhance patient care. SCAI's public education program, Seconds Count, offers comprehensive information about cardiovascular disease. For more information about SCAI and Seconds Count, visit or Follow @SCAI on Twitter for the latest heart health news.

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