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Europrevent 2010: Two intensive and unforgettable meeting days in Prague

EuroPRevent 2010, offering 40 symposia, how-to-sessions, meetings with experts and many other scientific activities to over 1100 participants from 60 countries has become the main European meeting place for science in preventive cardiology.

Scientists from basic and translational science, epidemiology, exercise physiology and sports cardiology, and prevention and rehabilitation gathered for two days around the main theme of the congress, “Cardiovascular Prevention: A Lifelong Challenge”. Sessions varied along the lifeline theme from CVD risk in early life and childhood obesity (the "couch kids”), to prevention in adults, to the cardiac exertion in ultra-sports, and finally to the challenge of prevention in the elderly: “Is it ever too late for prevention?”

The city of Prague was specially chosen as the host city in order to put a special focus on the effect of the political transition on CVD epidemiology in the Central and Eastern European countries. The IMPACT model by Prof. Simon Capewell and co-workers (UK) has given insight into the mechanisms behind the large decline in cardiovascular mortality in many Western countries. At EuroPRevent it was shown that this decline now occurs even in central European states (ex. Poland, Ungern Czechia) where the economic growth is more widely spread over the population in contrast to the countries (ex. Russia, Ukraine) were the socioeconomic gap in the population has increased and where CVD mortality still increases.

The importance of a heart-healthy lifestyle was addressed by Prof. Eric Rimm (US) in the Fredrick B. Epstein Memorial Lecture. Asking the question “Diet and lifestyle in CVD prevention, where is the biggest bang for the buck?” he draws a gloomy picture of the consequences of poor nutritional habits on CVD health in many countries, especially in the younger generations. Using the successful banning of trans fat in Denmark, he advocated strong legislative measures to limit the negative influence of the food industry on CVD health. He convinced an engaged audience that it is high time for political action.

EuroPRevent as a meeting place: the tiny poster hall was often crowded, discussions were lively and all posters (over 400) were visited and commented on by senior EACPR experts. This new and appreciated initiative with designated “poster hosts” will be repeated at the 2011 congress. In the moderated poster sessions, two of the prize winning presentations (Dr Mindell UK, Dr Pisinger DK) concerned smoking, demonstrating that smoking at home does not increase after a smoking ban (as anti-ban campaigners had warned). Dr Redaelli (DE) reported that a low-cost program (in-patient rehabilitation and telephone reminding) is effective in a high-risk, low-education cohort, a population where conventional programmes usually fail.

The Young Investigator Awards contained five high-quality presentations; the jury decided to award first prize to Dr Papadakis from London, who presented a study on over 1000 (!) elite athletes from France and Britain, showing major ethnic differences in ECG repolarisation. This important study allows for a better distinction between normal variants and pathological findings.

When can a congress be called a success?

If it can be judged through the inspiration experienced and witnessed by many participants,  EuroPRevent achieved its goal. The social programme contributed to the success with a memorable opening ceremony, a well attended Fun Run and Fun Walk and the typical Czech closing dinner, all well organized by our eminent local host, Prof. Renata Cifkova and the ESC Congress Team under Chelsea Thomas. Two intensive and unforgettable meeting days in Prague are over, but do not despair: in less than twelve months EuroPrevent is back, this time in Geneva!