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Associate Professor Tatjana Potpara, Chair of the EHRA Scientific Initiatives Committee, describes the aim of the committee and some of the current and planned research activities
Assoc. Prof. Tatjana Potpara
“In the research domain, EHRA endeavours to significantly contribute to, and facilitate, the collection of high-quality data to fill knowledge and evidence gaps, thus improving our understanding of the pathophysiology, prevention and treatment of various cardiac arrhythmias and informing formal recommendations/guidelines on their management. As one example, EHRA is involved in the ongoing ESCAPE-NET project on sudden cardiac arrest that integrates large registries and brings together multiple research groups. The project has the potential to significantly impact global clinical practice, and is funded by an EU grant, as a part of the EU framework Horizon 2020. Also, EHRA is currently working on several other joint grant applications with research partners within ESC or other international stakeholders— these applications are at various stages of evaluation and some will soon commence.
EHRA is actively participating in the ESC EURObservational Research Programme (EORP), which collects information on the prevention and treatment of various cardiac conditions in clinical practice via more than 20 EORP registries. EHRA has successfully coordinated several large registries, such as the Atrial Fibrillation General and Atrial Fibrillation Ablation registries and is currently coordinating the ongoing Atrial Fibrillation III registry that will assess the implementation of the ESC Guidelines on the management of atrial fibrillation (AF) in clinical practice.
In parallel with large projects, EHRA has been conducting regular surveys with its electrophysiology partners (centres belonging to the EHRA Scientific Research Network) in countries around the world. These centre-based online questionnaires provide valuable information about daily clinical practice, which is then shared through articles published in the EP Europace journal. Guideline-implementation assessment surveys have also been carried out—these contain self-reported but anonymised data providing useful insights into the patterns of arrhythmia management in routine clinical practice.
Recently, EHRA broadened the collaboration on such physician-based online surveys to other ESC and non-ESC associations, thus collecting information on how patients with common cardiac arrhythmias such as, for example, AF and specific comorbidities are managed in various clinical settings. One such survey on the management of high-risk patients with AF and concomitant chronic kidney disease has just been completed in collaboration with the European Renal Association–European Dialysis and Transplant Association (ERA-EDTA). Several other centre-, physicians- or arrhythmia patient-based surveys involving electrophysiologists (EHRA members), cardiologists (ESC members) or other health care professional associations are in preparation, with the aim to gauge the implementation of current guidelines and recommendations or provide an initial knowledge or skill gap assessment that can inform EHRA to focus future educational efforts.
Importantly, EHRA has also expanded its observational research programme to include patient-directed online questionnaires to assess patient needs and attitudes.”
“EHRA conducts or participates in numerous observational research projects that provide contemporary insights into the management of specific cardiac arrhythmias in routine clinical practice, continuously exploring practising physicians’ attitudes and educational needs, implementation of formal guidelines in daily practice and specific barriers to guideline- adherent management of cardiac arrhythmias as well as investigating patients’ knowledge, unmet needs and attitudes towards different aspects of care.”
Associate Prof. Potpara concludes, “EHRA wants to intensify the collaboration with research partners within ESC, EU and worldwide by providing active participation in the preparation of joint grant applications with partner ESC associations, working groups or committees, or other international stakeholders, as well as preparing, steering and/or supporting the research projects conducted within ESC, including randomised clinical trials, registries or other studies on cardiac arrhythmias. EHRA also plans to conduct various commissioned arrhythmia- related research activities, for example, systematic reviews and meta-analyses to inform various ESC guidelines and scientific documents. Recognising that team work is essential to achieving the ultimate goal to improve the management of patients with cardiac arrhythmias and their outcome, EHRA cordially invites its members, researchers and everyone who would like to participate in the research activities, in partnership with EHRA, to contact the EHRA Scientific Initiatives Committee. We look forward to hearing back from you!”
To find out more and download a research proposal form, visit: https://www.escardio.org/Sub-specialty-communities/European-Heart-Rhythm-Association-(EHRA)/Research-and-Publications/work-with-ehra
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