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XXIII European Society of Cardiology Congress

The field of cardiology has come to consider the European Society of Cardiology Annual Congress as one of the most important events in its calendar. The huge interest shown in the Congress is evident by the growth in all areas of its ­activities, attendance and requirements.

One of the world’s largest events of its type, the Annual Congress is usually held at the end of August or early in September. From London in 1952 to Vienna in 1988 the Congresses were held every four years. From 1988 onwards the Congress became an annual event. This year’s Congress is taking place in Stockholm, Sweden.

The wide range of sessions will address basic science related to cardiovascular physiology and pathophysiology, population science, clinical science practice including diagnostic procedures (imaging and other), atherosclerotic heart disease, valvular heart disease, heart failure and arrhythmias.

This year’s Congress is being held together with the 36th Annual General Meeting of the Association for European Paediatric Cardiology (AEPC). The scientific programme reflects this alliance with a special emphasis on congenital heart disease in infants and adults.

The scientific programme
As expected the scientific programme for the Congress is extensive, featuring special lectures, hotline sessions, main sessions, free communication sessions, working group sessions, computer presentations, focus sessions, poster presentations, satellite symposia and press conferences, tackling practically every issue in cardiology.

Main sessions
The main sessions provide reviews of topics related to current basic and clinical cardiovascular research, epidemiology and clinical cardiology, as a perspective for daily clinical practice. Highlights include:

  • Blood pressure and target organ damage.
  • Therapeutic angiogenesis: how far from clinical practice?
  • Cardiovascular hormone replacement therapy: is there a benefit for the risk?
  • What matters in ischaemic heart disease: risk assessment and pharmacogenetics? European Society of Cardiology and European Atherosclerosis Society.
  • Management of valvular heart disease: how to apply the guidelines.
  • Imaging the vulnerable plaque: getting to the site of action.
  • Management of acute coronary syndromes: an update.

Joint sessions with other organisations
Several joint sessions between the ESC and other international organisations will be taking place during the Congress. Topics covered include:

  • The Global Forum for cardiovascular disease – experiences from Africa, Asia and Latin America

European Society of Cardiology and World Heart Federation.

  • Tobacco: a global threat to public health

European Society of Cardiology and European Heart Network.

  • Cardiac sudden death in children and the young

European Society of Cardiology and European Resuscitation Council.

  • European Board for Accreditation in Cardiology (EBAC)

European Society of Cardiology and the Cardiology Section of the Union of European Medical Specialists.

  • Treatment of stable angina in the third millennium

European Society of Cardiology and the American College of Cardiology.

  • Kidney and cardiovascular risk

European Society of Cardiology and American College of Cardiology.

  • Ongoing guidelines

Committee for Practice Guidelines and Policy Conferences.

  • Towards cellular transplantation

European Society of Cardiology and American Heart Association.

  • Genetically determined arrhythmias

European Society of Cardiology and American Heart Association.

According to Prof Thomas Lüscher, Chairman of the Congress Programme Committee, one of the highlights for clinicians will be the Hotline sessions: “Evidence-based cardiology is a crucial part of clinical practice today, so big trials are substantially influencing our daily practice. That is why the Hotline sessions are very ­interesting for practising cardiologists and attract high attendance each year.”

A new feature at this year’s Congress is the “Update on Recent Clinical Trials”. Prof Lüscher explains: “This is a session that focuses on additional analyses of subgroups in large clinical trials, to give the clinician important information on how to differentiate the management of individual patients.”

Other highlights for prescribers include:
The Denolin Lecture
This was first introduced in 1988, and previous lectures have tackled: “The pulmonary circulation at high altitude” (1988); “What blood pressure level should be treated?” (1991); and “The woman with congenital heart disease” (1997). This year’s talk is about “The concept of antiadrenergic therapy in congestive heart failure – how many lives could have been saved in the past 25 years?” and is being given by Swedish cardiologist Prof F Waagstein.

Highlight session
This session provides short overviews of what has been new and exciting in basic and clinical sciences at this year’s Congress – the whole Congress summarised in just 90 minutes! Topics include:

  • Epidemiology.
  • Imaging.
  • Arrhythmias.
  • Congenital heart disease.
  • Valvular heart disease.
  • Heart failure and cardiomyopathies.
  • Interventional cardiology.
  • Myocardial infarction.

Symposium on cardiac disease issues in the developing world
Past President Prof Lars Ryden has organised this symposium. In countries of the developing world, the prevalence of coronary artery disease has risen as Western habits become more prevalent. Due to the size of the populations in these countries, this will be an enormous health problem in the future.

Young Investigators’ Award Session
A chance to highlight the work of the brightest young investigators in both clinical science and basic cardiovascular science. These sessions were introduced for the first time last year. Five investigators younger than 35 years old with abstracts of outstanding quality will present their work in the basic research, clinical and thrombosis awards sessions. A prize will be given to the best three presentations in each session. Topics include thrombosis, clinical science and basic science.

The Exhibition
One of the most important parts of the ESC Congress is the Exhibition. This complements the scientific programme and provides representatives from ­industry with an opportunity to meet and speak with cardiologists and members of affiliated disciplines and share their knowledge and experience of products – pharmaceuticals and medical devices – in the field of cardiology.

At this year’s Exhibition, around 200 companies from all over the world will display their cardiology-related products and services, including major pharmaceutical companies such as Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca and Boehringer Ingelheim (see opposite page).

Hospital Prescriber Europe
Hospital Prescriber Europe is the new quarterly journal designed specifically for hospital pharmacists and prescribing clinicians across Europe. It provides essential clinical/pharmaceutical updates in a convenient,  accessible format.

The journal is being launched at the ESC Annual Congress and will have a stand at the Exhibition. Delegates will be able to register there quickly and easily for free copies of the journal.

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