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EHRA Summit 2009

Health care disparities in Europe: the case of arrhythmias

The EHRA Summit has now become a tradition within the EHRA community with the third EHRA Summit that took place at the European Heart House in Sophia Antipolis, France on 16 and 17 March 2009.


The main goal of the EHRA Summit is to reinforce a discussion platform with the Working Groups in Electrophysiology and Cardiac Pacing and / or National Societies and to continuously weave stronger links, evolve in the same direction and ensure European needs are addressed to improve the quality of life of the European population by reducing the impact of cardiac arrhythmias.

EHRA Summit 2009

From left to right: R. Ferrari, J. Brugada, C. Wolpert, P. Vardas

The 2009 edition of the EHRA Summit gathered 73 participants at the headquarters of the EHRA to explore and discuss Healthcare disparities in Europe, and the case of arrhythmias more specifically.
The agenda of the EHRA Summit 2009 was strong and powerful: the opening lecture, dedicated to the socioeconomic inequalities in cardiovascular diseases in Europe, enabled an overview of inherent discrepancies which exist in Europe and which result in a varying impact of Cardiovascular disease from one European country to another.

This heterogeneity was highlighted all the more so, as the first session of the EHRA Summit gave an overview of arrhythmia management in various European countries: the presentations delivered by National Representatives from Denmark, Russia, Germany, Czech Republic, Portugal and Lithuania demonstrated the need for homogeneity in health care across Europe. This lack of unity across Europe was identified as a major challenge in the treatment of patients and it was commonly agreed that EHRA has its role to play towards a better unity, reducing these disparities.

During the first session, healthcare disparities were discussed further and tackled from different angles, namely on health economical, medical and political points of view.  Participants expressed great interest in the presentations delivered, as testified by lively panel discussions, which gave participants the opportunity to express themselves and bring light to issues which are relevant in their own countries. No doubt the breadth of the agenda and the topics proposed generated some vivid discussions.

Workshop sessions allowed further opportunity to focus - in smaller groups - on medical technology, reimbursement, education and training: outcomes of these sessions were collectively discussed by the full group afterwards.
The EHRA Summit also provided room for state-of-the art technologies, which are growing faster and faster, such as AF ablation, prevention of SCD and E-Health.
Prof. C. Wolpert, Chairman of the National Societies Committee, also took the opportunity to enhance the need for active involvement from the member countries for the EHRA White Book 2009, which will be launched for EUROPACE Congress, in Berlin, 21st – 24th June 2009.

EHRA is looking forward to the 2010 edition of the Summit, the focus of which will be E-Health.

Overall, the EHRA Summit 2009 reached the success that Professors Brugada, Vardas and Wolpert hoped for inasmuch as it gave the opportunity to bring light to issues and challenges which are real in Europe so that the Association can use them as a driving force.

Monday 16 March 2009

Introductory Part

Welcome address (J. Brugada)
Introduction (C. Wolpert)
Meeting objectives (P. Vardas) 

Opening Lecture
Chairs:  J. Brugada / L. Kappenberger
Socio-economic inequalities in CVD in Europe
Prof. Dr. Stefan N. Willich

Session 1 -  Healthcare Disparities in Europe.  Issues and Challenges
Chairs:  C. Blomström-Lundqvist / B. Merkely


Arrhythmia Management from country to country
Chairs:  M.J. Schalij / C. Wolpert


Tuesday 17 March 2009

Session 2 – Evolving fields in European arrhythmias
Chairs:  J. Morgan / E. Rowland


Break Out Sessions
Chairs:  P. Brugada / G. Germano

J. Kautzner / F. Lindemans - Task Force 1:  Medical technology in the diagnosis and treatment of arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death in Europe. Recognizing the problem of access.

G. Boriani / M. Janssen - Task Force 2:  Funding, pricing and reimbursement in European arrhythmology. Do the disparities compromise the outcomes?

C. Deaton / P. Raatikainen - Task Force 3:  Education and training of electrophysiologists as a weapon in the war against disparity.