SAN FRANCISCO — Big medical companies usually have big footprints at medical conferences, and Medtronic stomped around with one of the very largest CD&D has ever seen at this year's scientific sessions of the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS; Washington).

Its major marketing presence seemed to provide an indication of how important it considers the clinicians primarily electrophysiologists who attend this event.

In fact, its presence was so pervasive, non-medical San Franciscans might well have thought that it was the Medtronic Scientific Conference taking place at the Moscone Convention Center.

The marketing began as we disembarked from our flight at San Francisco International Airport and were handed a city map, labeled as courtesy of the company.

Walking to the sessions, you couldn't miss the rather (not to understate it) mammoth posters on the center's outside walls. And circling about, something that looked like a bit like moon rovers were outfitted with huge flat-screens, further bannering the company's imaging technologies. In fact, "Rovers" is what they were called.

Inside the center, on the facings of the steps floor to floor were bumper sticker-looking signs, with the alternating wording "Medtronic/VISION 3D/ Medtronic/VISION 3D" (which you observed while riding the escalators since, even at a cardiovascular meeting, hardly anyone takes the steps).

Positioned centrally in the exhibit hall, there was Medtronic, flashing rather largely with a 16-foot tall Rubik's cube-like thing, tipped on one point, its multi-color arrays, flashing "VISION 3D ... Devices, Data management and Delivery & lead systems."

And for those of us in the media center, a veritable tidal way of press releases describing products being rolled out by the company at the sessions.

Thinking that all of this marketing might be costing the proverbial "pretty penny," CD&D asked a Medtronic representative how many of them.

"An appropriate investment," she advised perhaps no surprise given the very large number of physician/clinician/potential customer attendees at the '08 HRS scientific sessions.

— Don Long, National Editor