2018 42nd New York Annual Course Success!



First, and this is a big one, we had outstanding registration, totaling close to 700 for the main sessions!!  We had a delegation of 15 physicians attend from China.

 We also had over 200 Workshop and Symposia registrants, at last count. This remains the largest regional GI meeting in the USA each year, and trails behind only DDW and the ACG meeting in terms of attendance.

We had 89 faculty, 41 presentations in the main session, 24 presentations in the Nurses and Associates program, and countless others in the satellite seminars.

In fact, there were 5 separate satellite and hands-on sessions during the Course, and several other special Programs. These sessions are each unique, innovative and in a word, outstanding.

We had attendees from all over the US and around the world, a testimony to the far reaching word of mouth “buzz” there is about this Course each year.

On top of all that, we had seven innovative lunchtime symposia, and 11 special lectures, including the Florence Lefcourt Lecture, given by Tonya Kaltenbach, the David Falkenstein Lecture, given by Todd Baron, the Ed Bini Lecture, given by Larry Brandt, the ASGE President’s Lecture by Steve Edmundowicz, the NYSGE President’s Address by Seth Gross, the Richard McCray Lecture, given by Sid Winawer, and the Peter Steven’s lecture, given by Stavros Stavropoulos.

We had an incredible scientific poster session, led by Susana Gonzalez and Lauren Khanna. This year we had over 50 different authors who submitted 38 posters, with several entries from outside the NYC area!!  The poster session review included a cocktail reception on Thursday evening. The room was packed; this is indeed a popular event!  The always popular Peter Steven’s Video Forum, led by Anthony Starpoli and Juan Carlos Bucobo, again was a huge success, with 6 outstanding videos, including one submitted from Canada.  The Fellow’s Forum on Thursday evening was superb, coordinated by Michelle Kim and Brian Bosworth; the feedback was excellent.

 The Doris C. Barnie Nurses and Associates Program, skillfully arranged as always by Barbara Zuccala and Nancy Schlossberg, again was a huge success, with outstanding lectures and interactive sessions. The Nurses and Associates program this year attracted well over 200 participants, all of whom were raving about the quality of the program. A huge thank you to Barbara and Nancy; we appreciate their efforts immensely.

The Live from New York Course was packed with a range of incredible cases again this year…our most sincere gratitude to Greg Haber for the unbelievable amount of energy and effort he puts into directing this truly outstanding piece of the Course each and every year.  Big time thanks to Sammy Ho as well for his co-leadership this year.   The NYU-Langone location continues to be excellent.  Many thanks to the team there who worked hard to coordinate everything. The quality of the HD transmission is truly spectacular; even more impressive is the quality of the material being presented and the quality of the Faculty doing the procedures and commenting on the care…fascinating procedures at the cutting edge of gastroenterology explained by masters in their field!!  

Gratitude is well-deserved to the many persons who give their time to the New York Course.

Thanks to our out of town guests at NYU, Todd Baron, Guido Costamagna, Jacques Deviere and Vanessa Shami, who were simply amazing, as well as to our NYC Faculty, who were equally awesome!

Thanks as well to all the panelists at the Marriott, who really were very lively and provocative this year, many of whom spent parts of both days with us…the panel discussions really brought out critical decision making points in each case…many thanks!!

 Also, we can’t thank David Robbins enough.  David is now the master of the hugely important role of being behind the scenes at the live course…really making it all happen, but rarely seen!!  We couldn’t have done it without him!!

Phil Joseph and his team at Advance Concepts get big time kudos as well.  Their audiovisual and technical expertise is beyond amazing and we appreciate their help greatly!!

Also thanks to the NYU staff (there are many, many people involved there)!!

 The Satellite Courses, both hand-on and didactic, continue to be a huge draw. Small groups, great teaching…what more could you ask for??  Nearly every session was filled to capacity, a fairly amazing thing when you consider all that is going on and the proximity of the meeting to the Holidays. The directors of each satellite session are truly responsible for the success of each individual program, and so we want to thank those individuals specifically:  Frank Kasmin, Nikhil Kumta, Ira Jacobson, Joesph Odin, Reem Sharaiha, Violeta Popov, Sammy Ho, Frank Gress, Amrita Sethi, and Arvind Trindade; all did an amazing job!!

 We also ran the Annual New York GI Fellows Endoscopy Course on Wednesday.  It was a full day Program for 36 GI Fellows in training, and featured a full range of lectures and hands-on training, with 12 specific hands-on stations for luminal and pancreaticobiliary teaching.  Amazing.  Thanks to the group that led that effort this year, Chris DiMaio, Adam Goodman, Reem Sharaiha and Stavros Stavropoulos. 

 A special enormous thank you to Karen Cervenka, the Society’s Managing Director, for being so incredible.  Karen works seemingly endlessly (and then more!) to put every aspect of this very complicated Course together, and she once again did a simply phenomenal job.  Her enthusiasm, energy and dedication are very much appreciated!!!!  Many others at Digestive Health Works also worked very hard on our behalf…thanks to Bina Mesheimer, Robin Weidy, Barbara Connell and everyone else who contributed behind the scenes. 

 Thanks also to Montefiore CME, and in particular Nada Piacentino, Marilyn Sasso and Vic Hatcher for their help. Nada retired earlier this month, and we thank her as well for all her years of dedication to NYSGE and our Programs.

 We still miss Florence Lefcourt, the “heart and the soul of the Society”, but she “continues to be there” as well. Regular tributes to her remind us all of the wonderful woman who led us for so many years!!

The NYSGE Council helped whip the Program into shape many months ago, and we appreciate their efforts as well.  Today’s version of the Course is really built on the Courses of 20, 30 and now over 40 years ago…we thank the many NYSGE council members over all the years, as well as the original founders of the Society, and appreciate all they did to shape the Society and to shape this Course. Also, congratulations to the Society’s current President, Seth Gross, who has had a most successful year as President!!

Most of all, we want to thank you, the Faculty of this year’s Course. You took time away from your busy schedules to join us, traveling from far and wide (Belgium, Italy and every corner of the US), worked really hard on syllabus contributions and high quality presentations packed with videos, photos and cutting edge information.  We know how difficult that can be, and just want to express our sincere gratitude for all that each of you did. The spirit of collegiality is so readily apparent; we all work together really well, and that is terrific.  One more truly important thing…we all seemed to have loads of fun, and that’s maybe the best marker that things continue to go so well!! 

Yes, the 42nd Annual NYSGE Course was indeed a special one, and so thanks one more time for being part of it.   Our best wishes for a wonderful Holiday season and a Happy and Healthy New Year from all of us to all of you!!














Acute pancreatitis (AP) and chronic pancreatitis (CP) were originally described as two well defined entities on the opposite end of a disease spectrum. We now think that recurrent acute pancreatitis (RAP) is a transition stage between acute and chronic pancreatitis.

pancreatitis-acute organ

Acute pancreatitis is defined as an acute inflammatory condition characterized by epigastric pain, elevated amylase and lipase and imaging consistent with pancreatitis. There is currently no consensus definition of chronic pancreatitis. One consistent requirement is that there is documentation of irreversible changes either histologically (i.e., fibrosis, atrophy) or morphologically (i.e., calcifications, ductal abnormalities with or without other accompanying features (e.g., pain, AP, or RAP), organ dysfunction (diabetes, exocrine deficiency), and impaired quality of life.  

Recurrent acute pancreatitis is defined as two or more distinct episodes of acute pancreatitis with near complete resolution of symptoms between episodes with no evidence of chronic pancreatitis. The difference between RAP and CP is based on morphology and histology of the pancreas. The difference is based on whether or not there are definitive changes of CP in cross sectional studies, like a CT scan or a MRI.  

In the United States, acute pancreatitis is one of the most common gastrointestinal causes of hospitalization. Although most cases of acute pancreatitis are self-limited, studies have shown that up to one quarter of patients can have a reoccurrence of acute pancreatitis and up to ten percent of patients go on to develop chronic pancreatitis.

Recurrent acute pancreatitis by definition occurs when a patient has two or more episodes of acute pancreatitis. A challenge in the diagnosis acute recurrent pancreatitis is that there is often symptom overlap with chronic pancreatitis. Patients may present with an acute attack, a recurrence or may have an acute on chronic flare with minimal imaging findings consistent with chronic pancreatitis. In addition, sometimes determining the etiology of RAP remains challenging. Alcohol and gallstones are by far the most common causes of RAP and together they account for 70% of the cases. Other common etiologies include toxins, metabolic, idiopathic, genetic, autoimmune and obstructive causes. Patients with RAP also are younger with a higher incidence in patients (<40 years old).  

The risk of developing acute recurrent pancreatitis can be reduced by encouraging alcohol abstinence and by performing a cholecystectomy after the first episode of acute pancreatitis in patients diagnosed with biliary disease. It is also important to note that because up to thirty percent of patients have no defined etiology of recurrent acute pancreatitis on routine lab work and imaging treatment options are limited. Etiologies such as pancreas divisum, occult stone disease and sphincter of Oddi dysfunction and genetic causes are overrepresented in idiopathic RAP patients.

A patient’s history and standard tests such as blood chemistry, trans-abdominal ultrasound, MRCP, and CT scan generally detect the causes of recurrent episodes in about 70% of cases. When no cause is found at the initial diagnostic work-up, these patients should have a more advanced diagnostic work-up, that includes specific pancreatic tests, genetic testing, MRCP with secretin stimulation, sphincter of Oddi motility evaluation, EUS, and in selected cases ERCP. Genetic and autoimmune pancreatitis can be diagnosed by testing respectively for CFTR or SPINK1/PRSS1 gene mutations and IgG 4.

In patients with idiopathic RAP, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography and endoscopic sphincterotomy with or without pancreatic duct stent placement have been suggested to offer some benefit however the long term benefit and outcomes have not been adequately defined in the literature.  Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is curative when gallbladder stones or sludge are detected; however, the clinical benefit for sludge is less evident. In documented SOD endoscopic sphincterotomy is currently the standard therapy.
Amit H. Sachdev

Clinical Instructor of Medicine, Interventional Gastroenterology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

John M. Poneros M.D.

Associate Professor of Medicine, Associate Director of Endoscopy, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons



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Genes Behind Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is the third most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, with over 43,000 deaths expected in 2017.1 While most pancreatic cancers are sporadic, approximately 10% of pancreatic cancers appear to have a familial component.2


Familial Pancreatic Cancer (FPC) is defined as families that have > 2 affected individuals who are first-degree relatives of each other. FPC can also include families with > 3 affected individuals on the same side of the family, even if they are not first-degree relatives of each other.

Germline mutations in BRCA1, BRCA2, PALB2, ATM, p16, PRSS1, STK11, and the mismatch repair genes (Lynch syndrome) are associated with a significantly increased risk of pancreatic cancer; however, these genes have a low penetrance for pancreatic cancer, and often the family history is more notable for other cancers.

Despite what appears to be an autosomal dominant mechanism for inheritance, a genetic mutation leading to pancreatic cancer is found only 10% of seemingly hereditary cases.

Several large-volume centers have begun to study screening for pancreatic cancer in high-risk patients, and consensus-based guidelines have been published.3  Candidates for screening may include:

1) First-degree relative of an affected individual in a FPC family

2) First-degree relative of an affected individual in a family with > 2 pancreatic cancers

3) BRCA2, PALB2, p16, ATM, and mismatch repair gene mutation carriers with affected first-degree relatives

4)  BRCA2 mutation carriers with 2 affected relatives, even if no first-degree relative is affected

5) All Peutz-Jegher’s syndrome (STK11 mutation) patients regardless of their family history

6) All PRSS1 mutation carriers

Consensus guidelines recommend pancreatic cancer screening in high-risk individuals at age 50, with the exception being PRSS1 mutation carriers who start screening at age 40.

The goals of pancreatic cancer screening include:

1)  Detection and treatment of precancerous lesions (i.e., high grade multifocal pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasms, or high-grade dysplasia within an intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm).

2) The detection and treatment of a T1N0M0 cancer.

3) Detection of any resectable pancreatic carcinoma.

Detection of these early pancreatic cancers or pre-malignant lesions is dependent on our ability to identify and screen high-risk individuals before the onset of symptoms.  Current tools for pancreatic cancer screening include Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) with MR Cholangiography (MRCP) and endoscopic ultrasound (EUS.)

MRI has the benefit of being a non-invasive test, but is sometimes limited by the patient’s ability to lie still for the duration of the study. 

EUS is a more invasive examination which requires anesthesia, but offers an opportunity to sample any abnormalities that may be detected on examination.

Emerging data suggest that MRCP may be more effective in detecting cystic lesions of the pancreas, while EUS may be more sensitive to detect small solid lesions.4 Computer tomography (CT scan), abdominal ultrasound, and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography are not generally used in pancreatic cancer screening.

For further information on pancreatic cancer screening studies, or to arrange a consultation please visit  http://www.mountsinai.org/profiles/aimee-lucas or  http://labs.icahn.mssm.edu/lucas

Amiee Lucas, MD  Professor of Medicine – Gastroenterology  Mt. Sinai Hospital


1. Society AC. Cancer Facts & Figures 2017. Atlanta: American Cancer Society 2017.

2. Klein AP, Hruban RH, Brune KA, et al. Familial pancreatic cancer. Cancer J 2001;7:266-73.

3. Canto MI, Harinck F, Hruban RH, et al. International Cancer of the Pancreas Screening (CAPS) Consortium summit on the management of patients with increased risk for familial pancreatic cancer. Gut 2012.

4. Harinck F, Konings IC, Kluijt I, et al. A multicentre comparative prospective blinded analysis of EUS and MRI for screening of pancreatic cancer in high-risk individuals. Gut 2015.