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EHRA to hold an annual “as lively as possible” event

Following several years of successful collaboration with CARDIOSTIM—holding alternate events and latterly, a joint meeting—the European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) will have an independent, yearly event from 2018. Like previous editions of EHRA EUROPACE, next year’s Congress will feature new research discoveries and opportunities to learn from renowned experts, and will be a platform for discussion with colleagues and peers.


Scientific Programme Committee Co-Chair Professor Helmut Pürerfellner (Department of Cardiology, Elisabethinen University Teaching Hospital, Linz, Austria) told Congress News that with the new yearly meeting, the EHRA seeks to offer European and worldwide electrophysiologists “an impressive educational programme and new insights into the field of electrophysiology” on an annual basis. He added that next year—in contrast to this year and previous EHRA EUROPACE meetings, all of which have taken place in June—the congress will be in March (18–20 March 2018). 

According to Prof. Pürerfellner, a key benefit of holding the congress earlier in the year is that it will be one of the first electrophysiology meetings in the calendar—meaning that next year’s late-breaking trial sessions will provide one of the first opportunities to hear new data in 2018. He said: “We will try to have the latest information on the hottest topics.” The earlier date also means that new guidelines will be presented for the first time; for example, the revised European Society of Cardiology (ESC) guidelines for the diagnosis and management of syncope are due to make their debut at EHRA 2018.

Other highlights of next year’s meetings include summits on cardiac mapping, ventricular tachycardia, and lead management. There will also be, similar to this year, “How to” sessions, LIVE case presentations, and a dedicated Educational Track for young electrophysiologists. Furthermore, building on this year’s success, there will be abstract sessions. Abstract sessions provide a great opportunity for researchers to highlight their findings as well as exchange knowledge with other presenters. 

One of the main reasons for attending a congress, of course, is to gain continuing medical education (CME) credits. EHRA EUROPACE - CARDIOSTIM 2017, for instance, is accredited by the European Accreditation for Continuing Medical Education (EACCME) and delegates may have gained up to 20 credits by attending this year’s Congress (although, delegates should only claim the hours they have actually spent in educational activities). Also, new this year, an agreement between the European Union of Medical Specialists and the American Medical Association (ASA) allows a US-based physician to convert the EACCME credits they have gained at this Congress into an equivalent number of AMA PRA Category 1 credits. While the number of EACCME credits delegates can obtain at EHRA 2018 is to be confirmed, they can be certain that they will be able to pick up credits at the meeting.

The excellent scientific programme of EHRA 2018 will undoubtedly be the greatest draw of the Congress. However, its location—Barcelona (Spain)—also has merits. It is an accessible location for many countries, has a good public transport network, and has several affordable hotels. Furthermore, the set-up at the congress centre in Barcelona (Fira Gran Via Hall 8) will allow all of the scientific sessions to be on the same level, making the meeting easy to navigate.

For those with spare time in the evenings or who are planning to stay an extra few days after the Congress, there are plenty of things to see and do around Barcelona. The works of Antoni Gaudi are particularly worth visiting. The most famous—or perhaps infamous—of these is the Sagrada Família. The building of this large Roman Catholic church, despite construction having started in 1882 (when the head architect was Francisco Paula de Villar), is not yet complete. At present, the goal is for the building to be finished by 2026—which will mark the centenary of Gaudi’s death.  Of course, another “must” in Barcelona is to visit one of the city’s many tapas bars.

The annual Congress is just one of the several activities that EHRA has to fulfil its mission, the EHRA 2016 Activity Report noted, of “improving the quality of life of the population by reducing the impact of cardiac rhythm disturbances and reduce sudden cardiac death”. As well as holding the Congress, EHRA also publishes the journal EP Europace, delivers live educational courses to more than 800 cardiologists, and oversees the EHRA Recognised Training Centres Programme.

Prof. Pürerfellner commented: “EHRA is an association of the ESC that was created more than 10 years ago. It is the leading network of European cardiac rhythm management and provides education, certification, research, publications, and networking with the most important sister heart rhythm scientific societies.”

Given that EHRA provides such a wealth of educational material outside of its Congress, prospective delegates may wonder what the value of attending a Congress like EHRA 2018 is—particularly in this digital age of social media and online communication. However, for Prof. Pürerfellner, nothing can replace attending a scientific meeting. He said: “Meeting with colleagues is important; face-to-face contact is a unique feature of congresses. EHRA 2018 is worth coming to because you can get together with your peers and talk to them,” adding that he and the rest of the scientific programme committee hope EHRA 2018 will be “as lively as possible”.

Save the date: the next EHRA congress will be held from 18 to 20 June 2018 in Barcelona!