At the recent annual PERT Consortium* Meeting in Nashville, TN, BTG plc announced they entered into a strategic partnership with the PERT Consortium to advance the science of Pulmonary Embolism (PE) treatment and promote the implementation of PERT programs across the United States.

In the U.S. alone, PE afflicts 500,000–600,000 patients annually1,2 and is either a primary or secondary cause of death in 150,000–200,000 of these individuals2.

In their new partnership, BTG and the PERT Consortium are uniting to create public awareness about this disease.

Medical Device News Magazine interviewed Mr. John Sylvester**, Chief Commercial Officer, BTG plc to learn more about the partnership.


MDNM:  How many people in the United States are impacted by a Pulmonary Embolism?  And would you say that there is an epidemic?

MR. SYLVESTER: Annually pulmonary embolism impacts between 300,000 to 600,000 people in the U.S. and it leads to the death of about 200,000 people in the U.S., though some believe the number is actually higher. According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pulmonary embolism appears to be the third most common cause of cardiovascular death after myocardial infarction and stroke. It represents a heavy economic burden on health care systems globally. Whether this meets the definition of an epidemic could be open to question, but it certainly represents a healthcare crisis that has been allowed to go on for too long, especially since we can change these numbers.

MDNM:  How will the partnership with PERT Consortium advance the science of PE?

John Sylvester, Chief Commercial Officer, BTG, interview, Medical Device News Magazine, PERT Consortium
John Sylvester, Chief Commercial Officer BTG plc

MR. SYLVESTER:  We are working together to expand options for professional education, expand clinical research, establish quality benchmarks for care of PE, and develop new mobile technologies to convene PERT teams and improve decision-making. We need to do more to understand how institutions and the healthcare system overall can make progress faster. We are looking to the PERT Consortium for practical guidance on what is possible and impactful.

MDNM:  Does the PERT Consortium have any inroads with government officials and if so, what are they communicating to government officials to describe the PE crisis here in the United States?

MR. SYLVESTER: Our understanding is that the PERT Consortium is first and foremost in raising awareness, and facilitating a stronger dialog within the medical community.

MDNM:  Are there other corporate partners?  Who?

MR. SYLVESTER:  We understand there are other sponsors. Learn more here.

MDNM:  There still is some differences in opinion regarding how a PE should be treated?  I am specifically referring to what we are hearing at various CME activities.  Some believe that interventional approaches are not gold standard.  In your professional opinion, is enough being done to educate vascular specialists across the board?  What’s missing?

MR. SYLVESTER:  Yes, absolutely there is more room for education, evidence and smart debate. That is exactly why we partnered with the PERT consortium.  Our goal is that the clinical experience and the clinical evidence that is available be well considered. It is our intent to clarify with the PERT Consortium which patients would benefit the most from intervention and what the standard of care should be for these patients. Ultimately each institution needs to make the best decision for their patients.

MDNM:  How will this new partnership, specifically, increase provider awareness?

MR. SYLVESTER:  Nearly everything the PERT Consortium does raises provider awareness, so our main goal is to stand behind them and facilitate their existing mission and activities.

MDNM:  Will this partnership provide any special educational training to vascular specialists?

MR. SYLVESTER: We are exploring that now, and will update you as that work advances.

MDNM:  Regarding hospital protocols. What are hospitals doing to change their protocols for the diagnosis and treatment of PE? Exactly how are multidisciplinary teams working together that can best serve the patient?

MR. SYLVESTER:  The PERT consortium was founded on the mission of promoting the adoption of the PERT model, expanding the body of scientific literature and educating the general public and healthcare professionals regarding PE. We share this vision in changing and improving PE patient care. We see these multidisciplinary teams coming together, from many areas of expertise within the hospital, and making decision together to ensure their patients receive the right treatment.

MDNM:  Finally, will this partnership make an impact in getting hospitals to develop and comply to PE protocols?

MR. SYLVESTER: That’s certainly our goal. Our aim is to work with the PERT Consortium on their objective to have institutions examine their current protocols, and use best available clinical data to make improvements. About a decade ago, the U.S. Surgeon General and National Heart Lung and Blood Institute announced a call to action concerning pulmonary embolism, encouraging awareness research. We’ve made progress since then. We’re proud to have been part of that movement and continue to progress clinical evidence in this field.


References

  1. The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism. US Department of Health and Human Services report, 2008.
  2. Ansari A. Acute and chronic pulmonary thromboembolism: current perspectives. I. Glossary of terms, historic evolution and prevalence. Clinical Cardiology(1986), 9:398-402

*PERT Consortium was developed after the initial efforts of a team of physicians at Massachusetts General Hospital. The first PERT sought to coordinate and expedite the treatment of pulmonary embolus with a balanced team of physicians from a variety of specialties. This multidisciplinary approach allows for: the rapid evaluation of risks, formulation of a treatment plan, and mobilization of the necessary resources to provide the highest level of care to those in need. Pulmonary embolism has long been called a silent killer. It is the third most common cause of death from cardiovascular disease, just after heart attack and stroke, but with prompt diagnosis and treatment, survival rates can be significantly improved. The PERT Consortium intends to guide and influence PE embolism care and research in institutions across the U.S. and will be the driving force behind increased survival rates and the future of PE treatment.

The inaugural meeting of the PERT Consortium held in Boston, Massachusetts on May 21st, 2015 created the framework for a national consortium of pulmonary embolism response teams by establishing peopled Governance, Research, Education, Clinical Practice and Protocols, Development and Communication committees. Additional information regarding the PERT Consortium, partners and other information can be found here.

**John Sylvester joined BTG in January 2011, following the acquisition of Biocompatibles. John joined Biocompatibles in 2005 and was appointed to the Board in the same year.

His career covers a series of commercial roles for Rio Tinto Zinc plc, ICI plc and English China Clays where he was General Manager for their European and Asian Operations. Previously he was with Baxter Healthcare where he was VP Marketing for their European Medication delivery business.