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Interview with the Chairperson of the Hungarian WGHF 

Interview with the chairperson of the Hungarian Working Group on Heart Failure: Dr. Noemi Nyolczas, FESC

Dr. Noemi Nyolczas, FESC 

Dr. Noemi Nyolczas, FESC
Topics: Heart Failure (HF)
Date: 25 Feb 2009

Dear Dr. Nyolczas, FESC, may I start to ask you why you were interested in becoming a doctor?

It would be quite appealing, but rather stereotyped, to say that I wanted to be a doctor since I was a little child in order to help sick patients, but that would not be completely true.
In my elementary and high school years, everything that interested me was related to natural science, but most of all I wanted to become a mathematician or a physicist. However, right before choosing my field, I felt that my need in having a personal relation with people through my work was more important than these professions could have offered me.
On the other hand, I always had a mixed feeling of fear and respect towards physicians’ work, that I got acquainted with rather too early through my mother’s chronic illness. I was always amazed how quickly and soberly they could overcome symptoms that were so frightening and scary to me.
After all, I think that it was my interest in natural science and my respect towards medical profession that led me to become a doctor.

Where did you study medicine? How long did your training last after your medical studies?

I studied at the Szent-Györgyi Albert Medical University in Szeged, a beautiful Hungarian university-center town, which is famous for its classical tradition. Following this, I took part in a 5 years training in internal medicine, partly at the Department of Medicine of Szent-Györgyi Albert Medical University in Szeged, partly in Budapest at the Postgraduate Medical University. With that came a 3-year cardiology training at the Imre Haynal University of Health Sciences in Budapest.

Why did you choose cardiology as your speciality?

Cardiology is one of the most logical fields of medical science, that can be best described and explained by the rules of physics which in itself was already quiet appealing to me.
Furthermore, in the last decades, cardiology has been the most dynamic developing part of medical science. We are witnessing a huge development in the field of both diagnostic and therapy. This fact allows us to successfully treat most of the cardiovascular diseases. Frequently, we can make the patients, who are in serious, and often desperate conditions completely free of symptoms and complaints. Followed by our management, these people can return to their families and most of the time, to their work as well. This is the situation today with cardiovascular diseases like myocardial infarction or heart failure which were so fearful in the past.
In the past decades, the treatment for heart failure has been a particular great challenge to cardiologists. Nowadays, we know more and more the pathogenesis of this disease with unfavorable prognosis, newer diagnostic techniques are available and the palette of the possibilities of treatments is constantly extending.
To conclude, cardiology continuously offers new challenges to doctors dealing with it and it provides them a successful feeling.

If I understand you correctly, your main interest in the field of cardiology is Heart Failure – why is that?

Like I mentioned before, the research of the theoretical aspects of heart failure and the development of the alternatives in diagnostics and therapy are the most spectacular in the dynamically developing cardiology. The echocardiography, which is offering subsequent possibilities in the diagnosis, CT, MR, PET and laboratory examination facilities are at our disposal as well. Besides the medical therapy, a wider range of treatments with devices is known. Assist devices help our work in the treatment of patients suffering from advanced heart failure. And all this has just been achieved in the recent years.
All of these possibilities require constant learning and developing from us, due to the fact, that a heart failure specialist must be acquainted with the different procedures of medical imaging, the electrophysiology as well as the invasive cardiology. It makes this speciality permanently very interesting.
In addition to it, we experience a lot of success in providing a better  quality of life with the increasingly modern facilities and a longer life expectancy for patients, whose life expectation was not so long ago considered almost hopeless.

What is your present position in your country?

Currently, I am the deputy of one of the largest Hungarian cardiology center’s head of department. I am a member of the board of the Hungarian Society of Cardiology and I was appointed president of working group on Heart Failure and Heart Muscle Disease of Hungarian Society of Cardiology one year ago.

Recently you were appointed to be the chairperson of the Hungarian Heart Failure working group. How long can you stay as a chairman according to your rules in your country?

We can be the president for 3 years. According to the present legitimate rules, a new president must be elected every 3 years, there is no possibility to extend this period. However, this does not mean that the basic conceptions are changed every 3 years. The working group is working hard to define the most important short and long term aims and the current board and president try to realize them.

Could you share some of your objectives for the period you will serve as a Chairperson?

At present time, our most important task is to organize the heart failure management programme in Hungary, just like in other European countries, in order to provide a highly qualified management for patients suffering from chronic heart failure, and to establish outpatient heart failure clinics. According to estimations, there are today 200-300 000 patients with chronic heart failure in our country, among whom at least 70 000 would need regular controls in heart failure clinics, but today, only a few centers are dealing with the treatment of these patients and it only concerns 1-2000 patients. At the moment, negotiations are being held with the Ministry of Health and the insurance company about the establishment of  well-organized system of heart failure clinics.

Finally I would be interested in hearing more about the structure in your Heart Failure working group organization?

The members of the working group are mainly cardiologists. We hold 3-4 meetings a year with the working groups. We are going to hold our first two-day Heart Failure Congress in January 2009, which we are planning to organize regularly in the future years. Partly at the meetings of the working groups, partly at the annual congress, we are discussing and reviewing the actual issues of heart failure and interesting cases.
Next year, we are going to regularly organize postgraduate courses for cardiologists and nurses in order to have more efficient functioning heart failure clinics.

Who provides financial support for your HF working group?

Partly the Hungarian Society of Cardiology, partly different pharmaceutical companies.

How is your social life today? What are you doing in your free time?

I have very little free time, so I like to spend it mainly with my family. In addition, I like to read, going to theaters, listen to music. I like doing sports, I run, play tennis, ski, swim during summer, cycle, surf and I try to fulfil the recommended physical training, although I do not always succeed.

Thank you so much for your time and willingness to answer my questions. If the HFA could provide any help to you or your group, please don’t hesitate to ask...