As patients demand greater access to interventional and minimally invasive digestive care treatments, clinicians must be knowledgeable on the newest technologies and innovations. These are the market forces of healthcare at work. – Dr. Michel Kahaleh.

NewYork-Presbyterian, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Weill Cornell Medical College are pleased to extend an invitation to the Third Annual Peter D. Stevens Course on Innovations in Digestive Care accredited course to be held on April 10th and April 11th in New York City. The Co-Directors, Dr. Frank G. Gress, Dr. Michel Kahaleh, Dr. Amrita Sethi, and Dr. Robbyn Sockolow, recently met to discuss the rational behind this year’s program. What follows is a summarized transcript of their conversation.


Question: What is the history behind the Third Annual Peter D. Stevens Course on Innovations in Digestive Care?

Answer: The course is a tribute to Dr. Peter D. Stevens, a beloved leader in the field of digestive care. Dr. Stevens was a faculty member of the GI Division of NYP/Columbia University Medical Center who died three years ago.

Q: How is the Digestive Care course structured?

A: The course is divided into three-hour sessions covering the esophagus, pancreas, GI lumen, colon & rectum, and the hepatobiliary system. The sessions are held at separate times so participants can attend all five. The course is taught through didactic sessions, hands-on animal tissue labs, and live cases sessions.

Q: What is the advantage to having a course on the entire digestive system?

A: Gastroenterological clinicians treat and diagnose all parts of the digestive system. Patients will at times present with more than one gastrointestinal condition. Since the technologies and procedures used to treat these are similar, it only makes sense to combine these topics into one program.

Q: What is the value of live cases sessions?

A: Unforeseen complications or challenges can occur during a live case and attendees can see how experts in the field manage these. This wouldn’t happen during a lecture or a prepared demonstration.

Q: How are the live cases sessions organized?

A: The live cases aren’t always known ahead of time. The hospital would never delay the care of a patient for the sake of a course. But being a tertiary care institution, NYP/Columbia is presented with complex cases daily. This provides for interesting learning experiences that would not be available elsewhere.

Q: Where will the course be held?

A: This year, the course will on the NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center campus in northern Manhattan. NYP/Columbia is fortunate to have a start-of-the-art endoscopic lab and a brand new endoscopic suite. Attending clinicians can learn how to use equipment that may not be available in their offices or centers.

An example would be the new SpyGlass Direct Visualization System used for cholangioscopy. This is a 6,000 megapixel fiber optic cable used to image the bile and pancreatic ducts. When using this scope, physicians have better views of the diseased areas, can more accurately diagnose and in some cases intervene in one procedure.

Another exciting technology for presentation will be Confocal Laser Endomicroscopy (CLE). CLE allows for the viewing of cells in the body as if they were under a microscope. Cancers can be seen at earlier stages without the need for a biopsy.

Q: What will be covered in this year’s presentations and cases?

A: Dr. Sethi is presenting on “Endoscopic Innovations in Bariatric Surgery.” This will include endoscopic methods to treat complications arising from bariatric surgeries, as well as primary endoscopic procedures for weight loss.

Endoscopic Submucosal Dissection (ESD) will be discussed and might be part of a live case. Used mostly in the bowel, ESD allows for the removal of submucosal tissue down to the muscle level by a needle knife. This is state of the art care in Asia but new to the United States. As a minimally invasive procedure, patients can avoid the risks of open surgery.

Dr. Kahaleh will discuss and demonstrate Peroral Endoscopic Myotomy (POEM). In the past, many achalasia patients were treated with balloon dilation or open surgical procedures. POEM treats achalasia by making an incision in the muscles and the lower sphincter of the esophagus. This allows the muscle to relax and opens the lumen.

Q: What else would be important to know about this year’s course?

An important part of this year’s course is the large number of medical industry supporters. To prevent any conflicts of interest, every GI related company was invited to participate. Attending physicians can see and use all digestive care device technologies on the market.

For more information about the Third Annual Peter D. Stevens Course on Innovations in Digestive Care contact Jessica Scully at 212-304-7817 or at


TCT Conference Recap

by Columbia Surgery on December 9, 2013

TCT Image 2This year marked the twenty-fifth annual Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics Conference (TCT). TCT is a yearly event where interventional cardiologists, cardiac and vascular surgeons, nurse practitioners, and other health care professionals meet to discuss the latest breakthroughs and developments in the field of interventional cardiology. This year’s conference in San Francisco had over 12,000 attendees, and several staff members and clinicians from New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center held important roles in the proceedings.

Dr. Martin B. Leon, the original founder of the TCT conference, directed this year’s event along with director Dr. Gregg W. Stone and New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center co-directors William A. Gray, MD and Ajay J. Kirtane, MD. Among the thousands of presentations at TCT, some of the highlights included the live case transmission by Dr. Susheel Kodali and Dr. Mathew Williams, of Columbia’s Heart Valve Center, as well as daily wrap-ups by Dr. Kirtane via video podcast.

Ajay J. Kirtane, MD

Ajay J. Kirtane, MD

Other organizers and featured presenters from New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center included Craig Smith, MD, Michael Argenziano, MD, Jeffrey Moses, MD, Mathew S. Maurer, MD, Allan Schwartz, MD, Rebecca Hahn, MD, Giora Weisz, MD, Ziad A. Ali, MD, Isaac George, MD, Tamim Nazif, MD, James F. McKinsey, MD, Manish A. Parikh, MD, Omar Khalique, MD, Warren Sherman, MD, and several others.

While Columbia physicians played a major role, the true significance of the event came from the presentation of research and clinical trial results. Several of these trials were presented, and many will hold important implications for the future of interventional cardiology.

Some of these new studies include:

 The SORT-OUT VI Trial

  • This trial demonstrated the safety of second-generation drug-eluting stents, which are stents that are coated in medicine to prevent arteries from narrowing again after stent placement. Two drug-eluting stents were compared to one another. One was a stent with biocompatible polymers and the other a stent with biodegradable polymers.
  • Results indicated that both of these newer drug-eluting stents are effective and associated with a low incidence of negative effects.


  • This study tested the effectiveness of long-term dual antiplatelet therapy (the combination of aspirin therapy with a second anticlotting medication) versus short-term dual antiplatelet therapy.
  • The study included over 3,000 patients who were randomized into two groups. One group received one year of dual antiplatelet therapy when treated with a drug-eluting stent, and the other group received three months of the same therapy. The study was done in non-STEMI patients, meaning the patients did not have the more serious type of heart attack known as ST segment elevation myocardial infarction.
  • The study concluded that there were similar results from three months of dual antiplatelet therapy and one year of dual antiplatelet therapy. In addition, some patients undergoing a full year of this therapy had a higher risk of complications due to bleeding.
  • These results indicate that doctors may not need to treat patients with extended dual antiplatelet therapy after surgery, particularly elderly patients who are at a greater risk of bleeding complications.


  • This was another study that analyzed the effect of long-term dual antiplatelet therapy after the placement of a drug-eluting stent.
  • The trial was performed on 1,200 patients randomized into two groups. One group received dual antiplatelet therapy then discontinued treatment, while the other group continued past one year with the same therapy.
  • The study appeared to show that treatment beyond a year with dual antiplatelet therapy, after the placement of a drug-eluting stent, did not offer any significant benefit to patients who did not experience adverse events within the first year of treatment. Additionally, patients who received this therapy beyond a year were found to have an increased risk of major and minor bleeding events.


  • 1,800 patients were randomized and treated with two new generation drug-eluting stents. Both stents performed similarly and both proved to be safe.
  • Because of studies like this, many interventional cardiologists now feel comfortable using these second-generation and third-generation stents.

Why are these studies important?

These and other studies have confirmed that short-term dual antiplatelet therapy after the placement of a drug-eluting stent may be as effective and possibly safer than long-term treatment, meaning patients can spend less time on medication after surgery. In addition, clinical trials of newer generation drug-eluting stents have proven these stents to be significantly safer, alleviating concerns that physicians and patients may have had regarding their use in the past.

And finally, the volume of studies and trials taking place highlights the fact that interventional cardiology is a growing and evolving field. Advances in this field will continue to evolve, and patients will be offered treatment options that are increasingly effective for the management of cardiovascular disease.



Second Annual Update on Gastrointestinal Cancers CME: Interview with Dr. Tyvin Rich and Dr. Michel Kahaleh

August 2, 2013

Tweet  The Second Annual Update on Gastrointestinal Cancers will be held on Friday, September 27, and will feature lectures, case presentations, and Q&A panels with expert faculty. Doctors Tyvin Rich, Michel Kahaleh, K.S. Clifford Chao, and Ravi P. Kiran are co-directors of this program and leading experts in the fields of radiation oncology, colorectal cancer, […]

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2013 Lung Cancer CME: Updates and Challenges in Lung Cancer

June 11, 2013

TweetIf you are a medical professional involved with the management of patients with lung cancer, be sure to attend the 2013 Lung Cancer CME: Updates and Challenges in Lung Cancer Friday, June 21. This one-day CME accredited educational course will focus on challenging aspects of lung cancer care as well as updates on screening, work-up, […]

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11th Annual Vascular Surgery & Wound Innovations CME Course

April 1, 2013

Tweet Course: Innovations & Controversies in Complex Vascular Interventions & Wound Management: Emphasis on Advanced Arterial Interventions, Non-healing Wound Management, Venous Procedures, and Podiatric Therapies Date: May 9, 2013 – May 11, 2013 Location: The Marriott Marquis, NYC 1535 Broadway at 45th Street New York, NY 10036 Program Directors: James F. McKinsey, MD Program Co-Directors: […]

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2013 GI Innovations: Second Annual Peter D. Stevens Course on Innovations in Digestive Care

February 21, 2013

Tweet Course: NewYork-Presbyterian’s Second Annual Peter D. Stevens Course on Innovations in Digestive Care Date: Thursday, April 25 – Friday, April 26, 2013 Location: Weill Cornell Medical College 1300 York Avenue at East 69th Street New York, NY 10065 Program Co-Directors: John A. Chabot, MD, FACS Michel Kahaleh, MD, AGAF, FACG, FASGE Charles J. Lightdale, […]

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2013 HCM Course: Genetics, Imaging and Emerging Treatments in Adult and Pediatric Patients

February 14, 2013

Tweet Course: Hypertrophic & Restrictive Cardiomyopathy: Genetics, Imaging and Emerging Treatments in Adult and Pediatric Patients Date: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 Time: 7:00am – 4:10pm Location: Columbia University Medical Center, Bard Hall 50 Haven Avenue, New York NY 10032 Directors: Mathew S. Maurer, MD Hiroo Takayama, MD, PhD Melana Yuzefpolskaya, MD This program will focus […]

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2013 Cardiac Critical Care CME: Current Concepts in Pediatric and Adult Congenital Cardiac Critical Care

January 28, 2013

TweetCourse: Current Concepts in Pediatric and Adult Congenital Cardiac Critical Care Date:  Thursday, March 21, 2013 Time: 7:00am – 5:40pm Location: Columbia University Faculty House, 
64 Morningside Drive, 
New York, NY 10027 Course Director: Arthur J. Smerling, MD Program Director: Emile A. Bacha, MD Associate Program Director: Sandra M. McGill-Lane, RN, MSN, FNP, CCRN  NewYork-Presbyterian […]

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Lung Cancer Continuing Medical Education Event: Update 2012 Screening, Diagnosis, Staging and Treatment

June 5, 2012

TweetOn Thursday, June 14, from 7 am to 5:30 pm, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center and Weill Cornell Medical College will hold an intensive, one-day Continuing Medical Education course on lung cancer, its screening, diagnosis and staging, as well as bronchoscopic, surgical, radiation-based and oncologic treatment approaches. The course is for: pulmonologists radiologists medical and radiation […]

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Breast Cancer Management 2012 CME: Staying at the Forefront of Medicine

August 30, 2011

Tweet Date: Friday, November 18, 2011 Time: 12:00 pm – 5:15 pm Location: Columbia University Medical Center, Alumni Auditorium, Black Building, 650 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032 Directors: Sheldon M. Feldman, MD, FACS and Dawn L. Hershman, MD, MS Register: Nina Scatton, Program Coordinator at 201.346.7009,, online, or by mail. This November, […]

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