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EHRA EUROPACE - CARDIOSTIM 2017 goes back to basics with educational track

The electrophysiology (EP) Educational Track at this years’ Congress explores the fundamentals of interpreting ECGs in a series of sessions. The European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) Chair of Education Doctor Jose Luis Merino (Hospital Universitario La Paz, Madrid, Spain) believes that the information provided in these sessions is useful for everyone from EP fellows to experienced operators.


The sessions, Dr. Merino explained, have been designed with EP fellows and allied professionals (such as nurses) in mind. “Someone who is new to the field, such as an EP fellow, or who is an allied professional is faced with a huge task. They have to develop knowledge in so many different aspects at the same time while simultaneously undergoing practical training. Therefore, the goal of this track is to help them achieve that task,” he noted.

The track, according to Dr. Merino, also aims to cover the “three different aspects”—comprehensive knowledge of the different types of disease (symposia), practical and specific knowledge of how to do things, and the personal view of outstanding and experienced leaders in the field—that he thinks are the essential elements of medical education.

Furthermore, Dr. Merino believes that studying books and articles by your own is insufficient to understand all of the required information, commenting: “Interpreting an ECG is definitely always difficult and you really need to interact with other people and with experts. For this reason, a significant amount of the sessions in the track have been designed to be as interactive as possible. There will be opportunities for discussion but there will also be topic reviews.”

The sessions in the track may also help those preparing for the EHRA exam to gain level 1 in the European Certification of Professional Excellence in the field of Invasive Cardiac Electrophysiology (or the equivalent for allied professionals). “The main intention of the track is not to prepare people for the EHRA exam, but I feel that the sessions can help those who are taking it,” Dr. Merino commented.

Overall, there are 13 sessions in the track (most of being held in room Wenckebach) that take place throughout the meeting, starting with the two-part “Meet the Experts” session on 12-lead ECGs that took place on Sunday. Fulfilling the requirement for understanding the views of outstanding and experienced leaders in the field, this session was moderated by Professor. Hein Wellens (Cardiovascular Research Institute, Maastricht, The Netherlands) and  Doctor Jerónimo Farré (Department of Cardiology, Fundación Jiménez Díaz-Capio, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain). It reviewed “tips and trick dealing with diagnostic (ECG tracings) and therapeutic (lead extraction) procedures”, with the goal of illustrating the current impact of electrocardiography in patients with different arrhythmic heart disorders.

Also on Sunday, there was a “How to” educational track session entitled Interactive ECG interpretation of tachycardias and Focal atrial tachycardia: how to find the “hot spot”. And, there were three more “How to” sessions yesterday (Monday); these reviewed atrial flutter, atrioventricular (AV) node re-entrant tachycardia, and Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. Dr. Merino explained that these “how to” sessions were focused on “practical aspects of specific techniques and procedures”.

Another EP Educational Track session held on Monday was the case-based symposium on ECG and the risk of sudden death, which saw Doctor Carlo Pappone (Arrhythmology Department, Policlinico San Donato, University of Milan, Milan, Italy) present a case on pre-excitation syndromes, Doctor. Ignacio Fernandez Lozano (Servicio de Cardiología, Hospital Puerta de Hierro, Majadahonda, Madrid, Spain) outline a case on abnormal repolarisation syndromes, and Doctor Sergio Richter (University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany) discuss a case looking at the risk of sudden death in a patient with structural heart disease.

Today’s EP Educational Track sessions will look at supraventricular tachycardia, ablation of atrial macroreentrant tachycardia, the fundamentals of electrophysiology and—in the final session of the day—at the “burning issues” in catheter ablation in 2017. This last session, which will be chaired by Sam Riahi (Department of Cardiology, Aalborg University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark) and Andrea Sarkozy (Cardiology Department, University Hospital of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium), has the objective of reviewing in detail the indications for ablation, the risks of radiation exposure, and tools needed for ablation. Tomorrow, the last session of the educational track will look at expert approaches for managing atrial ablation using cryoablation.

Throughout these sessions, delegates will be able to use the EHRA EUROPACE CARDIOSTIM 2017 Mobile App. The app provides news, a map of the meeting, and profiles of the speakers, and enables delegates to create their own personal programme. Importantly, for the interactive sessions of the educational track, delegates can use the app to ask chairpersons questions or to vote on the topics being discussed.

While the sessions are designed for less experienced colleagues, Dr. Merino believes that more experienced operators will also benefit from attending them.

He commented: “Although experienced professionals who attend our congress are mostly interested in new discoveries, techniques and the results of big multicentre trials, the amount of knowledge they need to keep for the routine practice, the continuous evolution of electrophysiology and the priceless personal view of leaders on the field, would make the EP Educational Track very attractive for them.”

Educational Track - from Sunday 18 June to Wednesday 21 June