‘Here you will experience the best in scientific discovery, innovation, technology, education and clinical practice,’ says Geneviève Derumeaux, Chair of the Congress Programme Committee, ‘an unrivalled opportunity to get connected with an international community of over 27,000 professionals from 140 countries together under one roof.’Audience participation is a feature of 2015, with 62 interactive sessions with the ESC Mobile App for questions. ‘We want you to get actively involved,’ says Derumeaux. The ESC is also extending greater interactions with delegates from outside Europe, allied health professionals, the young community and women. Indeed, as the first ever female ESC Congress Programme Committee chair, Derumeaux is delighted that nearly one quarter of speakers and session chairs this year are female.Opportunities for cross fertilisation between disciplines are reflected in the attendance of Nobel Prize Laureate Elizabeth Blackburn, who will speak at a number of sessions, including today’s Inaugural Session.
New this year are the ‘My NCS@ESC’ sessions in which seven national cardiac societies (UK, Russia, Israel, Germany, Turkey, Serbia and Norway) will explore how guidelines are interpreted in their countries using case studies and registries. ‘European countries are very heterogeneous,’ says Derumeaux. ‘It’s really important for all stakeholders to identify any gaps.’
‘Science@Breakfast’ sessions, another innovation this year, are intended as a wake-up call with breakfast and discussion. Scheduled for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at 07:30, the sessions will address specific hot topics, including cell therapy, gene therapy and smartphone applications for cardiology practice.
This year the Hot Line programme has been limited in each session to four or five presentations, so allowing more time for questions. The format of the abstract sessions has also changed, with the ‘Advances in Science’ sessions having a keynote lecture followed by three abstracts presented by young investigators. ‘This places the studies in context,’ says Derumeaux. Inclusivity is being further promoted by the ESC TV programme, which throughout the meeting will broadcast live selected sessions and interview abstract authors, giving people from all over the world access to the meeting. In recognition that cardiology is an international community, Joint Sessions have been planned with 37 other organisations.
In addition to the ESC Congress Highlights session, the programme has been expanded to include two separate Highlight sessions on basic science and clinical practice guidelines. In all three Highlight sessions, which will be held on Wednesday, international experts provide an overview of the most important take-home messages. Finally, on Thursday 4 September everyone can log on to the ‘Best of ESC Congress 2015’ which will be broadcast at 20:00 CET.
This year’s Spotlight of the Congress, ‘Environment and the Heart’, highlights links between air pollution and CVD. In 2012 the WHO estimated that one in eight global deaths could be attributed to air pollution, and the OECD estimates that by 2050 urban air pollution will be the top environmental cause of mortality worldwide. ‘This is an area many cardiologists have to yet to fully appreciate,’ says Geneviève Derumeaux. The 26 spotlight sessions and 108 abstracts will feature a range of topics, including environmental triggers of MI, everyday effects on patients with pacemakers and ICDs, cardiotoxicity of cancer drugs and genetic interactions with the environment.
Historically, the CVD effects of air pollution were first observed in 1952 following the notorious London smog. ‘The image of London in the smoke has been replaced by the image of London as an Olympic city - which gives out a positive message of hope,’ says Derumeaux.
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