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Keynote Lecture: Challenges in the management of arrhythmias

Challenges in the management of arrhythmias for the 21st century: looking to the guidelines, presented by Professor Panos Vardas

400,000 people per year are victims of arrhythmias and the prevalence is increasing due to aging populations.  The management of atrial fibrillation aims to reduce symptoms and prevent severe complications associated with the disease.

Cardiovascular Nursing


Professor Vardas said that the prevention of complications of atrial fibrillation relies on antithrombotic therapy, the control of ventricular rate and adequate therapy of concomitant cardiac diseases. Symptom relief may require additional rhythm control therapy by cardioversion, antiarrythmic drug therapy or by ablation therapy.

Sudden Cardiac Death, the breakdown of electrical disturbances, is mainly caused by ventricular tachyarrhythmias. The challenge here lies with prevention, both primary and secondary. However there are huge discrepancies between countries as shown below for Secondary Prevention:

  • In EU countries no than 75% of SCD survivors are protected by an ICD
  • In ESC member countries less than 60%
  • Not all ESC member countries reimburse ICD cost for secondary prevention

Professor Vardas recommended the recent 2010 ESC Guidelines on the Management of Atrial Fibrillation.

Professor Vardas is President Elect of the European Society of Cardiology and President of the European Heart Rhythm Association.