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EHRA 2019: Encouraging innovation and involvement

EHRA congress news

“EHRA 2019 is all about innovation and involvement, and the two are closely linked,” says Professor Katja Zeppenfeld, EHRA Congress Scientific Programme Co-Chair. “Our call for innovation includes any intervention concerning arrhythmias and involves many different groups— not only electrophysiologists but also engineers and basic scientists.”

Arrhythmias and Device Therapy


zeppenfeld-katja-2019.jpgProf. Katja Zeppenfeld continues, “The call for innovation is also attractive for Young EPs because they are often brimming with bright ideas. Young EPs have new ways of connecting and communicating with each other, and we can learn from them, not only in the lab but also at the congress. One of the new concepts for EHRA 2019 was to invite Young EPs to be panellists, particularly in case-based sessions. Young EPs bring a different perspective, maybe more relatable and may ask different questions than more senior EPs.”


burri-harran-2019.jpgProfessor Haran Burri, EHRA Congress Scientific Programme Chairperson 2018–2020, echoed these sentiments and added, ‘Young EPs are the future. By increasing involvement, we can identify new faculty, good speakers and those able to generate really interesting new ideas. But it’s a two-way exchange and we have been working with the Young EP community to make sure they also have their own dedicated activities tailored to their needs. We don’t want cost to hinder involvement and we have tried to make the congress as affordable as possible and have provided many grants.”Prof. Zeppenfeld continues, “The call for innovation is also attractive for Young EPs because they are often brimming with bright ideas. Young EPs have new ways of connecting and communicating with each other, and we can learn from them, not only in the lab but also at the congress. One of the new concepts for EHRA 2019 was to invite Young EPs to be panellists, particularly in case-based sessions. Young EPs bring a different perspective, maybe more relatable and may ask different questions than more senior EPs.”

“Another important group when encouraging involvement is women in EP,” says Prof. Burri. “Today in the medical school, 60% of the benches in front of me are filled with women, and we want to make sure that the transition from studying medicine to practising and researching cardiology goes well. Women are generally underrepresented in all areas of cardiology, but particularly in those that involve invasive procedures.”

Prof. Zeppenfeld points out, “Here at EHRA 2019, we see a positive change. There was a 19% increase in female faculty compared with EHRA 2018. As well as a huge increase in overall abstract submissions at EHRA 2019 versus EHRA 2018, we had a larger increase in abstracts submitted by women: we saw a 51% increase by female EPs and a 40% increase by male EPs. But it is not just about numbers; we also find that the quality of abstract submissions by women EPs is very good. In the blinded-review process, abstracts submitted by women had a very high acceptance rate and 29% of all accepted abstracts were submitted by women. We already have very talented women in EP, but regarding the next generation, one-third of applications accepted for Young Investigator Awards came from females. It’s not 50:50 yet, but based on the blinded analysis of submissions, I think we are on the right track.”

Prof. Burri describes how an important aspect of EHRA 2019 is the involvement of basic scientists. “EHRA 2019 is held in conjunction with the 43rd Annual Meeting of the ESC Working Group on Cardiac Cellular Electrophysiology (CCE) and brings basic scientists and clinicians together so we can stimulate future research and collaboration.”

Prof. Zeppenfeld continues, “Although research on molecules and cells may seem far removed for many of us clinicians, we must not forget that our daily practice is actually a result of preclinical research and it plays a critical role. Preclinical research improves our understanding of what is healthy and what is diseased, impacts on the development and testing of new therapies, and also educates us to be better informed about what we encounter in the clinic. There are many important interactions between those wearing a white lab coat and those wearing a white doctor’s coat.”

Prof. Burri and Prof. Zeppenfeld conclude, “With the success of EHRA 2019, the challenge for us now is to start work on EHRA 2020. The Congress Scientific Programme Committee will innovate some interesting ideas to share with you in Vienna— let us know what you would like to see there!”

See you next year in Vienna! From 29  to 31 March 2020