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EuroEcho–Imaging 2016 highlights: Tackling the latest controversies

by Prof. B. Cosyns, EuroEcho-Imaging 2016 Scientific chairperson and Clinical Professor of Cardiology, Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel, Belgium.

Bernard CosynsEuroEcho–Imaging is an important meeting in the field of non-invasive imaging, with more than 3,000 healthcare professionals attending from over more than 90 countries. To address the latest developments in the field, we will have two main themes, on the role of imaging in arrhythmias and aortic valve disease.

For the first theme, we will examine the role of imaging in predicting and stratifying the risk of new or potentially life-threatening arrhythmias while treating arrhythmias. We will also have a session dedicated to the role of imaging in risk assessment after, for example, life-threatening arrhythmia or sudden cardiac death. This is timely as there are a lot of new data on the topic. We will also look at common, non life-threatening arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation. As the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging (EACVI) recently published a consensus paper on atrial fibrillation, we felt it was important to include this subtopic in the main themes of the congress.

Aortic valve disease is a very exciting area and controversial in terms classification. We know more and more about the pathophysiology and classification of aortic valve disease, particularly in the past few years, and these changes have been adopted into the new recommendations. Moreover, we have new techniques to treat aortic valve disease, such as percutaneous implantation of the valves.

We also have a lot of joint sessions with our sister societies, illustrating the depth of our collaborations. As we are increasingly becoming a multimodality imaging congress, there will be dedicated tracks on cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) and nuclear computed tomography (CT), as well as echocardiography.

The safety of imaging

Elsewhere on the programme, we will continue to debate current controversies, including the safety of imaging; in particular, CMR. This is controversial as some data has shown that CMR may lead to DNA damage, and we will have the opportunity to discuss that in detail and determine whether or not there is any clear impact from CMR. The second session on safety will address the important issue of irradiation using CT.

The other main controversy discussed in Leipzig will be the use of pocketsized echocardiography devices instead of the stethoscope. It will be interesting to look at the European point of view versus the American one, as we know that pocket-sized echo devices have been implemented in the education of all cardiology students in the USA. We have also other forms of debate, and one that was successful last year was the Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde sessions. In essence, the pro and the contra arguments will be given
by the same speaker. It’s seems strange but it’s very interesting. This year, for example, Maurice Enriquez-Sarano, from Rochester, USA, will talk about watchful waiting versus early intervention in patients with mitral valve prolapse, which will be a very exciting topic.

The surgical perspective

We have also a new type of session this year, called Tea for Two. This looks at something that we often see when our images have to confront the real world; i.e., the surgical point of view. The first speaker will be an echocardiographer, who will show images of a problem. Next, the surgical view will be given, and we will then come back to the imaging results. This situation corresponds a lot to what we see in clinical practice, and we will have four brilliant speakers in this session. Alongside a huge number of original abstracts, a new feature this year will be sessions dedicated to advanced imaging. To bring more cutting-edge science to EuroEcho–Imaging, we decided to bring back the engineers and technicians
to the congress. We also have dedicated sessions on congenital heart disease and we will highlight the use of 3D printing in addressing these kinds of diseases.