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Investigator Awards and Clinical Case Competition

Heart Failure 2016 Congress News

Congratulations to the 2016 Young Investigator and Nursing Investigator Award winners, runners-ups and finalists!




Young investigator awards: clinical


Jozine ter Maaten (Groningen, Netherlands)

During my medical training I became interested in cardiology and after graduation I therefore started a clinical PhD at the department of Cardiology of the University Medical Center Groningen. The primary focus of my research is cardiorenal interaction in heart failure and most of my research has been aimed at gaining a greater understanding of diuretic response in acute heart failure on which I have published several papers. Additionally, I have investigated multiple novel renal biomarkers in heart failure, such as Fibroblast Growth Factor 23.

"Plasma fibroblast growth factor 23 is associated with poor outcome and unsuccessful uptitration of guideline-recommended pharmacotherapy in patients with worsening heart failure"

In a large population of worsening heart failure patients, Fibroblast Growth Factor 23 was associated with more severe heart failure and poor outcome with a 6-fold increased risk of mortality for patients in the highest quintile compared to the lowest quintile of Fibroblast Growth Factor 23.

Runner Up

Mark Hazebroek (Maastricht, Netherlands)

After obtaining my Medical Degree from Maastricht University in 2011, I started my clinical PhD in the Cardiology Department in Maastricht. My primary role is unravelling the complexity of dilated cardiomyopathy by combining diagnostic tools, including endomyocardial biopsies and genetic evaluation besides the ‘classical’ clinical parameters. The goal is to improve current classification systems and find predictors of outcome using our Maastricht Cardiomyopathy Registry. To achieve this goal we have close collaborations with the department of genetics, immunology, pathology and medical microbiology. Last year I won the Young Investigator Award with other work involving DCM and I’m really excited to be selected again as a finalist.

"Genetic screening in dilated and non-dilated cardiomyopathy: should we broaden our perspective?"

Genetic screening is currently confined to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), although many patients present with non-dilated cardiomyopathy also known as left ventricular (LV) dysfunction. We genetically screened 262 DCM and 127 LV dysfunction patients and showed the diagnostic yield is equally high, showing a worse prognosis in patients with a genetic or familial predisposition, irrespective of the phenotype.

Stefan Koudstaal (Amersfoort, Netherlands)

Dr. Stefan Koudstaal serves as a cardiologist in training with an interest in heart failure at the University Medical Center Utrecht, NL. After qualifying in medicine at Utrecht University, he was trained as a clinical epidemiologist and conducted research that led to his PhD thesis on novel treatments for ischemic heart disease. Following his dissertation, he was awarded a fellowship grant of the Dutch PLN society and continued his research as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Farr Institute of Health Informatics of the University College London, focusing on heart failure in the general population. He is currently trained as a cardiologist in the Meander Medical Center in Amersfoort, NL.

"Prognostic burden of heart failure diagnosed in primary care or secondary care: a population-based linked electronic health record cohort study in 2.1 million people "

Using a new approach of linked prospectively collected electronic health record data from primary care, hospital admissions, and death certificates of over 2 million people, dr. Koudstaal studied the prognosis of approximately 90 000 heart failure patients.

He found important differences in terms of heart failure treatment and heart failure related mortality exist depending on the level of care in which patients were diagnosed and managed with heart failure, with patients with a diagnosis of heart failure recorded in acute hospital records, but not in primary care, having the worst management and worst survival.


Deborah Cosmi (Pietra Ligure, Italy)

I  was born in Perugia in 1982. I attended the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery at the University of Perugia and in 2006 I graduated   with   honours. I   achieved   the specialization in cardiology in2012 with the thesis: “Renal function in heart failure : Methods compared in estimating glomerular filtration rate”. Since 2014 I’m working as a staff physician at SantaCorona  Hospital,  Pietra  Ligure, at Cardiovascular Department. My  main  fields  of  interest  are  clinical  cardiology  and   research,  heart  failure  and diagnostic imaging.
I  have  participated  in  several  clinical  trials  (GISSI-HF,  GISSI-AF, CARESS  in  AMI,  ACTIVE,  SOCRATES,  MARINER)  in  collaboration  with  ANMCO and  Mario  Negri  Institute  for  Pharmacological  Research  (IFMN).  I’m  Co-author   in   26   scientific publications.

"Treatment with insulin increases mortality in diabetic patients with chronic heart failure: data from the GISSI-HF Trial."

This abstract analyses the  role  of  insulin  in  the  prognosis  of  patients  with  type  II  diabetes  mellitus  and chronic heart failure, based on data of the GISSI-HF trial.

Massimo Mapelli (Milan, Italy)

Massimo Mapelli is a resident in Cardiology in Centro Cardiologico Monzino Hospital in Milan(Italy) since 2010. He works in the Heart Failure, Clinical Cardiology and Cardiac Rehabilitation unit and in Echocardiography department. His major fields of interest are Heart Failure prognosis, Clinical Cardiology and Valvular Heart Disease. He also spent part of his training in developing countries (Uganda, Haiti) running cardiac teaching and operative programs focused on Rheumatic Heart Disease, Heart Failure and Echocardiography. He graduated in Medicine in Brescia University, Italy in 2009 with highest honours.

"The metabolic exercise cardiac and kidney indexes (mecki) score: a new prognostic tool in patients with heart failure. a multicenter comparison with seattle and hfss in a large cohort of patients"

Heart failure (HF) prognostication is still a challenging medical judgment. We evaluated the prognostic value of a new simple score (MECKI Score) in a large population of patients with systolic HF. Compared with two of the actually most-used and available scores it demonstrates to be the most accurate prognostic tool.

Francesco Monitillo (Bari, Italy)

Francesco Monitillo graduated in Medicine with honours from the University of Bari in 2009. He is currently a final year intern at the School of Cardiology in the Department of Emergency and Organ Transplantation of the University of Bari. His main professional fields of interest and practice are chronic and acute heart failure, cardiorenal syndrome, echocardiography, and Doppler ultrasound. He is the author of 15 publications in international journals.

"Renal venous pattern: a new parameter for predicting cardiorenal syndrome progression"

Intermittent renal Doppler venous patterns, probably reflecting renal congestion, might be useful in daily clinical practice in order to better characterize patients with cardio-renal syndrome and predict heart failure progression.

Young Investigator Award: Basic Science


Ward A. Heggermont (Aalst, Belgium)

Ward A. Heggermont obtained hisMD in 2009(KU Leuven, BE), after which he immediately started his cardiology internship. In 2010, he commenced a basic science doctoral thesis that focused on the role of microRNAs in cardiovascular diseases, i.e. in myocarditis and in heart failure. He worked as a PhD student in the lab of Prof. Dr. Stephane Heymans (CARIM Maastricht, NL; and CMVB, KU Leuven, BE). He obtained his PhD in March 2016. Currently he is finalizing his cardiology training in the OLV Aalst Hospital,BE. Meanwhile he will work there as a Research Fellow with a focus on translational microRNA biomarker research.

"The microRNA-146a - DLST axis: a new therapeutic target in heart failure."

The detrimental role of microRNA-146a in the pressure-overloaded heart is due to an interaction with DLST, a TCA cycle enzyme, hereby aggravating LV dysfunction.

Runner Up

Andreu M. Climent (Madrid, Spain)

Andreu M. Climent, PhD. Biomedical Engineer at the Laboratory of Bioartificial Organs and Scaffolds, Associate Professor at the Carlos III University in Madrid, Spain. Dr. Climent is coauthor of more than 20 JCR papers, 100 conference abstracts and book chapters. Before getting his actual position, Dr. Climent developed different research stages at the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain, at the Leipzig Herzzentrum in Germany, at the Cleveland Clinic and at the University of Michigan in USA. His research is focus in preclinical and clinical electrophysiology with applications to cardiac regenerative therapies.

"Maturation assessment of recellularised human cardiac tissue by means of simultaneous voltage and calcium mapping"

Maturation assessment of human bioartifical cardiac tissues by means of optical mapping technology highlight the importance of the extracellular matrix in cardiac regeneration therapies.

Edit Gara (Budapest, Hungary)

Edit Gara graduated as medical doctor at Semmelweis University Budapest in 2012. She completed her PhD studies in cardiovascular research with pluripotent stem cells field also at Semmelweis University. During her PhD she had visiting fellowships at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London and at the Ruprecht-Karls Universität in Heidelberg. Her research interests are mainly on regenerative cardiovascular medicine and cell therapy. Since 2015 she has been working as Cardiology fellow at the Heart and Vascular Centre, Semmelweis University. Her current clinical interests are on clinical management and mechanical circulatory support for end-staged heart failure patients.

"FOXO1A regulates arterial and venous identity in human pluripotent stem cells-derived endothelial cells"

In this project we study the regulatory role of PI3K/FOXO1A pathway on generation and function of arterial and venous endothelial cells from human pluripotent stem cells.


Rajinikanth Gogiraju (Göttingen, Germany)

I finished my PhD (2011-2014) in Cardiovascular biology focusing on the role of p53, specifically in endothelial cells in cardiac angiogenesis and heart failure under hypertrophic conditions. I am currently working as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Cardiology with Prof. Katrin Schäfer at the University Medical Center, Göttingen, Germany. I am presently investigating the role of Protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP1B) and Leptin signaling in cardiac angiogenesis and heart failure. 

"Endothelial deletion of protein tyrosine phosphatase-1B promotes angiogenesis and protects against pressure overload-induced heart failure in mice"

Endothelial PTP1B deletion improves cardiac VEGF signalling and angiogenesis and protects against chronic afterload-induced heart failure and mortality. PTP1B may thus represent an useful target to preserve cardiac function during hypertrophy.

Daniela Miranda Silva (Porto, Portugal)

I am Daniela Miranda Silva and I am 35 years old. I graduated in Neurophysiology and Biology. Currently, I am a PhD student in the Cardiovascular Sciences Doctoral program at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto, funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT). Presently, I am doing research in the metabolic disturbances that occur during diastolic heart failure and in myocardial reverse remodeling, using different in vivo (hemodynamic and echocardiography) and in vitro (molecular biology) techniques.

Implications of mitochondrial dysfunction in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction”

Mitochondrial dysfunction plays a crucial role in the development of diabetes and metabolic disorders which are recognized as major risk factors in cardiac diseases. We show that obese, diabetic and hypertensive rats with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction present mitochondrial disturbances and an increase of oxidative stress.

Nursing Investigator Award


Ercole Vellone (Rome, Italy)

Dr Ercole Vellone graduated as a nurse in 1988. After graduation he obtained the Master Degree in 1998 and the PhD in Nursing Sciences in 2014. Dr Vellone has a long clinical experience (20 years) in internal medicine, geriatrics and cardiology. From 2009 to 2016 he has been working as a research fellow at the Department of Biomedicine and Prevention of the University of Rome “Tor Vergata” and since March of 2016 he is an Assistant Professor in the same university. Dr Vellone’s main research area is heart failure self-care in patients and caregivers. Dr Vellone has published more than 100 articles in national and international peer-reviewed journals and is the Associate Editor of the Italian nursing Journal “Professioni Infermieristiche”

"Self-care confidence totally mediates the influence of simple attention and working memory on self-care in adults with heart failure"

Impaired cognition affects self-care behaviours in heart failure (HF) patients but only through self-care confidence. Because self-care confidence is modifiable with education, interventions focused on self-care confidence might improve self-care behaviours even in HF patients with impaired cognition (25-50% on the entire HF population).

Runner Up

Natalie A Emanuele (Melbourne, Australia)

Natalie Emanuele has expertise in cardiovascular nursing and telephone support. Her qualifications include Bachelor of Science in Nursing (1993), Graduate Diploma of Cardiac Nursing (1999), and Master of Nursing (Nurse Practitioner) (2010) where she investigated the role of the Nurse Practitioner in a chronic heart failure management programme. In June 2015, she became a Ph.D. Candidate leading the telephone team based at the National Heart Foundation of Australia for the WHICH II Trial. She is supervised by Professor Simon Stewart, Professor David Thompson and Dr Jocasta Ball through the Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research.

"Utility and potential impact of a structured telephone support tool to facilitate a seamless program of composite nurse-led, face-to-face and structured telephone support management for heart failure."

A hybrid chronic heart failure management programme containing an integrated holistic face-to-face patient assessment and structured telephone support assessment system, titrated to patient risk and need was initiated in 328 remote and metropolitan dwelling patients with chronic heart failure as part of a multicentre trial. This research specifically aims to explore the impact and utility of the structured telephone support system implemented as an adjunct to post-discharge care in typically older, high risk patients.

Yuya Matsue (Groningen, Netherlands)

After graduating from Kagoshima University in 2005, I spent 5 years as a resident of internal medicine and fellow of cardiology. I became a board certified cardiologist endorsed by Japanese Circulation Society in 2012. After my PhD degree at Tokyo Medical and Dental University in 2015, I am engaged in clinical research in heart failure as a postdoc researcher at Department of Cardiology, University Medical Center Groningen supervised by Professor Adriann Alexander Voors. I havetaken part in 22 original scientific manuscripts published in English (16 as a first author).

"Mid-upper arm circumference is a better predictor of mortality than calf circumference in patients with heart failure."

We compared predict ability of mid-upper arm circumference and calf circumference in patients with heart failure. Only MUAC, but not CC showed independent association with prognosis and incremental predict ability.


Kentaro Kamiya (Kanagawa, Japan)

I am a postdoctoral researcher and clinical physiotherapist. I received my PhD in 2014 from the Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kitasato University, Kanagawa, Japan. My current research focuses on sarcopenia, frailty, and skeletal muscle in the field cardiology. My interests also include cardiac rehabilitation for heart failure. In 2011, I was given the opportunity to study cardiac rehabilitation and cardiopulmonary exercise testing for heart failure at the Veruno Scientific Institute, Italy. During this stay, I participated in educational courses on heart failure organized by the ESC Heart Failure Association. These opportunities have broadened my horizons in this field.

"Gait speed provides prognostic capability comparable to 6-min walk test in elderly patients with cardiovascular disease."

Gait speed and a 6-min walk test showed similar prognostic predictive ability. Gait speed, which is an easily and non-invasively measurable metric, can be used as a risk stratification tool.

Marco Paturzo (Rome, Italy)

Marco Paturzo graduated in 2011 with a B.Sc degree and in 2013 with a M.Sc degree from the University of Tor Vergata (Rome) cum laude. He is currently a Ph.D. student at Tor Vergata University, Rome, where his research focus is on patient/caregiver self – care in heart failure (HF) using a qualitative, quantitative and mixed method designs. Actually, Marco is a nurse fellowship at Department of Biomedicine and Prevention – Faculty of Medicine – University of Tor Vergata and he is focusing to search clinical intervention to improve HF patient and caregiver self-care related to complexity of care such as comorbidities conditions.  

"The lived experience of adults with heart failure: a phenomenological study"

This qualitative study provide a deeply comprehensive description of what it is like to live with HF. We found that the meaning that our patients attribute to their lived experience is related to family support and religious beliefs considered as an important source to better manage their fears and cope with the future.

Alessia Zanni (Piacenza, Italy)

In 2012 I graduated in cardiovascular technician at the faculty of medicine, Modena and Reggio Emilia University. Since January 2013 I work in the cardiology department of "Guglielmo da Saliceto" Hospital, Piacenza, Italy. I am a member of Hearth Failure Unit, referent Prof. MF Piepoli. My skills and expertise: devices implantable controls, remote monitoring, echocardiography. Current membership: Italian echocardiography society.

"Cost-analysis in the management of cardiac implanted electronic devices with remote monitoring: our experience"

Cost-analysis in the management of cardiac implanted electronic devices with remote monitoring, optimization of healthcare resource consumption, allowing a reduction of follow-up's cost. 

Clinical Case Competition


Ana Isabel Pereira de Azevedo (Matosinhos, Portugal)

Master’s Degree in Medicine in Facultyof Medicine of the University of Porto, Portugal (2010). General Internship at Pedro Hispano Hospital, Portugal (2011). Residency in Cardiology at Vila Nova de Gaia/Espinho Hospital Centre, Portugal (since 2012). Teaching experience in preparatory courses for National Ranking Medical Exam (2011-2013). Author of several lectures in scientific congresses, publications in national and international journals and one book chapter. Participation in international trials in the field of heart failure and ischaemic heart disease since 2012. Award winner of four prizes of Faculty of Medicine of Porto and one prize of the Portuguese Society of Cardiology.

"Constrictive pericarditis with large multiloculated pericardial effusion as a tuberculosis and HIV co-infection presentation: the role of multimodality imaging"

A case of pericardial tuberculosis with large multiloculated pericardial effusion in a young male with HIV infection is presented, analysing the role of different imaging techniques in the diagnosis and patients’ management.

Runner Up

Hoong Sern Lim (Worcestershire, United Kingdom)

Dr Lim is a Consultant Cardiologist with special interests in advanced heart failure and device therapy. Dr Lim is directly involved in the advanced heart failure programme (transplantation and mechanical circulatory support), and delivers the interventional heart failure service (including percutaneous mechanical circulatory support) in Birmingham. Dr Lim is also an experienced cardiac rhythm device implanter, a Certified Cardiac Device Specialist, and a member of the International Board of Heart Rhythm Examiners Content Experts Committee. Dr Lim has published extensively on heart failure and device therapy in peer-reviewed journals.

"Supporting the right heart in pulmonary oedema post-LVAD implant"

Left ventricular assist device implantation in a patient with dilated cardiomyopathy was complicated by pulmonary oedema and right heart failure. The use of invasive hemodynamic monitoring and percutaneous right ventricular assist device is discussed.

Sunki Lee (Seoul, Korea Republic of)

I was born in South Korea on February 12, 1980. I received the M.D. degree and the M.S. degree in medical science from the Korea University, Seoul, Korea, in 2005 and 2013, respectively. I’m working currently as a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Cardiovascular center in Korea University Guro Hospital, since 2013. I’m a member of Korean society of cardiology and Korean society of echocardiography. My research interests are structural heart diseases, heart failure, and molecular imaging.

"Aorta right atrial tunnel : do always need surgical correction?"

Aorta-right atrial tunnel (ARAT) is a very rare cardiac anomaly which should be taken into consideration not only in diagnosis but also in treatment. Herein we demonstrated clear images of various imaging studies of ARAT, and using this multimodal imaging approach, we could finally diagnosis as the ARAT more easily and could enhance our decision making for treatment of ARAT.

Fabien Praz (Bern, Switzerland)

I am an attending physician in Interventional Cardiology at Bern University Hospital with particular interest in the treatment of structural heart disease as well as cardiovascular imaging, in particular TEE guiding of mitral and tricuspid valve interventions. I am directly involved in first-in-man trials investigating the feasibility of transcatheter mitral valve replacement and transcatheter tricuspid valve repair. In addition, I have developed an expertise in the domain of the off-label use of TAVI devices.

"Transseptal implantation of a balloon-expandable transcatheter heart valve in a native mitral annulus for treatment of radiation-induced valvulopathy"

Our case describes a novel minimal-invasive approach for the treatment of a patient with heart failure due to radiation-induced mitral valve stenosis and cardiomyopathy using the transvenous transseptal access for implantation of a transcatheter heart valve into the native mitral annulus.

View the session programme and access the resources on SP&P