Salzburg Weill Cornell Seminar in Cardiology

Oct 15, 2021

30 fellows from 26 different countries participated in the October 10-16, 2021 cardiology seminar here at Schloss Arenberg. It is the 28th cardiology seminar in Salzburg, and one of more than 400 OMI seminars with Weill Cornell Medicine. This course featured 19 academically enriching lectures, covering topics such as cardiomyopathy, cardiac emergencies (cardiogenic shock, arrythmias, and their treatments), and some very interesting fellow and faculty case presentations.

The seminar follows a three-year curriculum, meaning that year one, two, and three all cover different core areas within cardiology. Therefore, after three years, the course content repeats once again, but with the most updated information. Hence, a fellow can visit the course on a yearly basis, or alternatively every three years, as the subject matter will be more up to date.

This week’s course director was twelve-time veteran Dr. Robert J. Kim, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine and Director of Consultative Cardiology at Weill Cornell Medicine-NYP. The co-course director was Dr. Gerald Maurer, Professor of Medicine at the Medical University of Vienna, who joined us for the eight time. They worked alongside Dr. Thomas Binder, Professor of Medicine at the Medical University of Vienna, and Dr. Irene Marthe Lang, Deputy Chair of the Department of Cardiology at the Medical University of Vienna. The American faculty consisted of Dr. Harsimran S. Singh, Director of Adult Congenital Heart Disease at Weill Cornell Medicine, Dr. Irina Sobol, Assistant Attending Physician, New York Presbyterian Hospital, and Dr. George Thomas, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine.

Fellows were given the opportunity to participate in an amazing workshop by Medtronic. We are extremely grateful to Ausra Stancikiene, Alvo Ishak, Nabil Saleh, Bozidar Ferek Petric, and Ela Vidovic for their effort in helping our fellows master the different stations. The first station was a device programming station for pacemakers. The second and third stations focused on difficult, minimally invasive catheter techniques. The second station allowed fellows to practice a transcatheter aortic valve implantation, and the third placing a left ventricular lead. This workshop required months of planning and we are grateful to Medtronic and their staff for helping us prepare this workshop.


Three fellows shared their experiences throughout the week in a diary. You can find our seminar report, including the diaries, here.

I am so happy to see the faculty. Dr. Kim, the course director, greeted us warmly and as he took off his mask off, we could see his sincere smile, bringing a bit of normality. I was also happy to see Dr. Maurer, whose lectures on HCM and cardiac amyloidosis were very comprehensive and once again pointed out the most important information regarding diagnosis and management of the conditions. It was a pleasure to know that the diagnostic algorithm I once used in a patient with AL amyloidosis was pretty similar to the one Dr. Maurer talked about. Dr. Irina Sobol, a new member of the faculty this year, was totally brilliant. I could listen endlessly to a person who is so professional from head to toes, working in the right place and so in love with what she is doing. She made complicated topics like inflammatory cardiomyopathies feel like there is a chance for everyone to understand them. (…)

(…) On Tuesday it was my group’s turn for the workshops. Thanks to Medtronic, we got our hand on TAVI stimulation, pacemaker implantation, and implantable device programming. I have never done this in my daily practice, but it was very exciting. Maybe one day I will consider specializing in one of these techniques. Dinner time came quickly, accompanied by fun conversations in a very nice atmosphere. (…)

(…) There is so much to take home: new knowledge, new friends, new practical experience, and so many positive impressions. We owe this to the people standing behind the program, the organizing staff, the faculty, people who believe that there is a chance for change for the better in our developing countries, people who chose to spend their time teaching and sharing, people who know that giving is the most rewarding feeling when you have so much to give.

Ana Plugaru, MD

OMI fellow from Moldova