Photo of surgery during broadcast
A camera captured two kinds of surgical procedures at the cardiac catheterization labs at UC Davis Medical Center. 

Nearly 12,000 physicians, technicians and other specialists  observed UC Davis vascular specialists John R. Laird and Reggie Low, along with some of the world's other leading endovascular interventionalists, perform live surgeries on Oct. 25 in connection with the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics meeting, the largest interventional cardiology conference in the world.

The presentation of 100 live surgical cases from around the world was the main feature of the 2006 TCT meeting in Washington, D.C. UC Davis Health System was among the nearly 30 medical institutions from 10 countries whose surgeons were invited to perform procedures broadcast to the TCT attendees at the Washington Convention Center.

Operating from the cardiac catheterization labs at UC Davis Medical Center, Laird and Low performed two kinds of surgical procedures. One repaired degenerated vein grafts on patients who had undergone coronary artery bypass graft surgeries previously at other hospitals. In coronary artery bypass graft surgery, veins or arteries from elsewhere in the patient's body are grafted from the aorta to the coronary arteries, bypassing coronary artery narrowings caused by atherosclerosis, to improve the blood supply to the heart muscle.

The vein grafts in the patients who under went surgery during the TCT meeting narrowed as a result of atherosclerotic disease. Laird and Low used newly designed stents to protect the patients from plaque (fatty deposits) breaking off and traveling to downstream blood vessels, where they could possibly cause a heart attack. The procedures also were intended to relieve the patients' symptoms and help avoid the need for further open heart surgery.

Two procedures were performed on patients with peripheral arterial disease, also known as atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. One patient had a severe blockage in the abdominal aorta, the main vessel carrying blood to the legs. The other had a severe blockage in a femoral (thigh) artery. Laird and Low used a new laser catheter to improve blood flow to the legs and allow the patients to walk farther without pain.

To complement the live cases, the meeting assembled panels featuring some of the most influential individuals in the field of interventional therapies asking questions and providing commentary as the cases proceeded. Following the completion of their live cases, Laird and Low provided a quick review of their cases and long-term prognoses for their patients.