The annual Rocky Mountain Valve Symposium is scheduled for Thursday and Friday, July 20 and 21 in Missoula, hosted by the International Heart Institute at Providence St. Patrick Hospital.

Executive Director at the IHI, Tim Descamps, said the finest heart specialists in the country will be gathering in Missoula starting next week to learn and discuss new techniques in valve repair and imaging techniques.

"This is our 27th year of hosting the Rocky Mountain Valve Symposium," Descamps said. "The emphasis is now on what are called catheter based technologies. We have the ability now to deliver valve repair via a catheter. Rather than coming in through the chest, as in open heart surgery, surgeons can now come in through a pinprick through the groin or the stomach and insert a tube that can be pushed  into the heart where the valve can be placed in exactly the right spot."

Descamps said catheter based surgery requires a highly skilled team of physicians to do a heart valve repair.

"You have a lot of imaging experts that are tracking the movement of that catheter based valve, and they are able to see through a video monitor just where the valve should be replaced," he said. "Here at the symposium, we promote and facilitate an exchange of ideas among our faculty and our attendees that you do not get anywhere else in those larger meetings where there are thousands of people and you have a very limited amount of time. This meeting is much more intimate and our attendees have come to really enjoy that and gain a lot of educational value."

The symposium will be held at the Providence St. Patrick Hospital's Broadway Building Conference Center.