Love Your Heart: High-risk case conference has doctors working together for patients

Love Your Heart: High-risk case conference has doctors working together for patients

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - When a cardiologist at Willis-Knighton has a patient that needs surgery — but the surgery may be too risky for them — their case will go to the high-risk case conference.

The conference meets every Friday at Willis-Knighton, cardiologists and cardiac surgeons get together to discuss why patients are high risk and if surgery is the best option.

"The patients are older, sicker, have more co-morbidity than they have in the past." "The question is if you operate on someone who is very high risk, how high is that risk and is it going to benefit them to have the surgery," said Dr. Curtis Prejean, a cardiac surgeon.

The goal is to discuss why the patient is high-risk, and if a surgery is the best option. The doctors and surgeons get the opinion from multiple different people at one time, giving them the opportunity to make the best decision for the patient and their families.

"Then you can go back to your patient and say, we've had your case discussed not just with one surgeon, but with all of our surgeons and a number of our cardiologists, and looking at things, they just don't think this is the right thing to do. I think that's very comforting for a patient, and it helps the doctor reinforce the wisdom of not doing something, which for many people is counter-intuitive," said Dr. Frederick White, a clinical cardiologist.

Doctors say this conference is extremely valuable for them, as it gives physicians the chance to make the best decision for their patient.

"There's certainly more than one way to solve a problem, even with surgery, sometimes there are different surgical approaches that can be taken, sometimes there are different procedural options to choose from. And sometimes the coming together of a number of different doctors can help guide that decision process as well," said Dr. White.

"I think it's something that no other program at least in the area has a high-risk case conference where we discuss to operate or sometimes no don't operate," said Dr. Prejean.

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