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European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging President Gilbert Habib: Guiding imaging into the multimodal age

Prof. G. Habib, C.H.U. De La Timone, Service De Cardiologie, Marseille, France, has been EACVI President from 2014 to 2016.

One of the main topics of EuroEcho-Imaging and of the presidency in  general, and something that has been particularly important over these past two years, is the fact that we have moved towards becoming an imaging association, and consequently an imaging congress, enabling improved relationships between all of the different imaging techniques that we represent.

The European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging (EACVI) is a large association that has three sections, consisting of the Echocardiography section, the Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (CMR) section and the Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiac CT section. The past two years of the EACVI presidency, and the congresses that have been held during that period, are representative of the increasingly collaborative and productive relationships that exist between the three sections. It can be said that EuroEcho-Imaging really is a multimodality congress. This is crucial for the future of both the congress and of the EACVI, and what is also just as important is that the number of delegates attending the congress has been increasing yearon- year, and is now at a high level.

International relations

The second point to underline is the number of international relationships that have been established over the past two years, and this is something that is increasingly evident during the congress. More and more countries are getting involved in EuroEcho-Imaging, and the congress is, as a result, becoming increasingly international.

What is also very important to note is that EuroEcho-Imaging is now the premier imaging congress in the world. Thus, our meeting is now the most important and the largest echocardiography and imaging congress in the world. Furthermore, the majority of other congresses in the field focus specifically on echocardiography, cardiac computed tomography, nuclear techniques or cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. However, EuroEcho-Imaging is truly a multimodality congress.

Turning back to international relations, one of the most important and educational experiences that has been undertaken over the past two years of my presidency has been to travel to several countries, not only in Europe but also outside Europe, including China, Korea, Japan, Brazil, Argentina and, of course, the USA. This has offered the opportunity to develop very close relationships with all of these countries over the course of the presidency. Possibly the best representation of what we have achieved is that we will have a special meeting during EuroEcho-Imaging over lunch with representatives of all the European national societies and our friends from outside of Europe.

The power of collaboration

These international relationships are particularly beneficial when it comes to the development of joint projects and joint publications, and the EACVI has worked on several consensus papers and guidelines over the past two years with, for example, the American Society of Echocardiography. We also have joint projects with other countries, involving organizations such as the Chinese Society of Echocardiography and the Brazilian Department of Cardiovascular Imaging.

One very important project that was launched during the presidency is the European Infective Endocarditis Registry, or EURO-ENDO (see Box). This is an international registry that was developed by the EACVI under the auspices of the European Society of Cardiology’s (ESC’s) EURObservational Research Programme (EORP), and involves all the participating national societies. This offers the opportunity to include patients not only from countries within Europe but also from several countries outside of Europe.

Furthermore, a notable and important aspect of the past two years has been the possibility to create a network between several societies, not only for educational purposes but also to reinforce the role of the EACVI and of the ESC in general, both within and outside Europe. This has included the development of pan-European projects. EuroEcho-Imaging offers the opportunity for us to present our educational projects, and we have several that will be discussed this year during the meeting. These projects can also be found on both the EACVI and ESC websites.

An aspect of EuroEcho-Imaging that is a source of pride to everyone involved is the extremely high scientific level of the congress, not only in terms of the latest research and scientific findings presented at the Abstract, Rapid Fire Abstract and Poster Sessions and Symposia but also the educational Teaching Courses, How-To Sessions, Clinical sessions, Debate Sessions, Joint Sessions and Imaging Campus, among others. It is really an opportunity for everyone attending to meet and interact with all of the most respected specialists in echocardiography, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging and nuclear computed tomography, both from across Europe and the rest of the world.

This is underlined by EuroEcho-Imaging being truly a multimodality imaging congress, with each of the sections -echocardiography, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging and nuclear computed tomography -having the opportunity to develop themselves and to give delegates detailed information and updates about the most important aspects of all the techniques.

A part of the ESC

Finally, another aspect of the EuroEcho-Imaging congress, and the EACVI in general, is the possibilities that we have to work within the ESC and to have common projects with other branches of the organization. That means not only working with the ESC itself but also with other working groups and associations that form part of the group. This was something very important to be able to draw on, not only during my presidency but also for the benefit of the congress.

Another point that is important to make is that of the crucial role played by the whole EACVI team. We have had a really fantastic team during my presidency, and it was a pleasure for me to work with all of the board, all of the members of the wider association and all of the ESC/EACVI team over these past two years, not only in terms of building up the congress as it stands today but also in building the future of both the EACVI and EuroEcho-Imaging.