Madrid, 29 June 2011 - EHRA-Europace and Cardiostim, Europe's leading congresses in "electrophysiology" and the treatment of heart rhythm disorders (such as atrial fibrillation) have formed a strategic alliance to ensure the development from year to year of a homogeneous congress programme devised under the direction of a common scientific committee.
The EHRA (European Heart Rhythm Association) and Cardiostim have had an agreement since 2006 whereby each organisation held their respective congresses in alternating years - Cardiostim in "even" years, and Europace in "odd". That arrangement will continue under the new agreement, but now with further scope for consistency, integration and homogeneity. Both organisations share a wish to avoid fragmentation and create a common vision and objective - to promote the field of electrophysiology in terms of training and accreditation, research, the exchange of clinical skills and co-operation with allied professionals and manufacturers.
Under today's agreement, both congresses will retain their independence in terms of brand, ownership and finance, but will join forces in the planning and preparation of scientific content. The agreement, therefore, which was signed by representatives of EHRA-Europace and Cardiostim on 26 June 2011, aims to reinforce the quality of each congress and provide a scientific continuum from one event to the next. Currently, each congress attracts almost 6000 participants.
The agreement between the two organisations is for six years, from 2012 to 2017 inclusive; years 2012 and 2013 are seen as transition years in which EHRA-Europace and Cardiostim will retain their respective congress rules and structures. However, from 2014 a single common scientific committee, composed of and chaired by members of each organisation, will develop the scientific programme and the two congresses will aggregate their names.
Each programme will be built around four main themes: electrophysiology and catheter ablation (one important approach to the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias), devices for the management of heart rhythm and heart failure, non-invasive approaches to rhythm disturbances, and basic science. Abstracts selected for inclusion will be published in the Europace-EHRA journal.
Commenting on the agreement, Professor Panos Vardas, President of the European Heart Rhythm Association, said: "The EHRA is the indisputable European leader in the management of cardiac arrhythmias and we have entered this agreement with Cardiostim in the belief that together we can create a highly successful congress driven by a common programme committee. We believe that this strategic decision - which took two years of discussion to reach - will be welcomed by the majority of European arrhythmologists."
Dr Philippe Ritter, Chairman of Cardiostim, said: "This agreement is an historic event for the European electrophysiology community. Highly supported by the industry, this strategic alliance is the continuation of a rapprochement which started in 2006. Respectful of both organisations, it should now allow us to jointly accelerate the development of our congresses, as international congresses open to doctors and scientists from all over the world."