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EHRA will work “very hard” to address potential challenges of new regulations

Professor John Camm (St. George's University of London and Imperial College, London, UK), President-Elect of the European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) told Congress News that EHRA will do its best to address any potential issues associated with new regulations.


Why did you choose to specialise in electrophysiology?

As a medical student, I became interested and developed an expertise in electrocardiograms. My first job in cardiology was working with a research team that was investigating a new specialty in cardiology: electrophysiology.

Additionally, I studied the electrocardiogram with Professor Eugene Lepeschkin, who was an assistant—and later successor—to Professor Frank Wilson in the USA.

What have been the biggest developments in electrophysiology?

The biggest developments include ablation of arrhythmogenic mechanisms and foci, the implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) for primary and secondary prevention of sudden cardiac death, dual chamber pacemakers, cardiac resynchronisation therapy for heart failure, and non-dihydropyridine calcium antagonists. Additionally, the introduction of verapamil and adenosine for termination of supraventricular tachycardia and of amiodarone as an antiarrhythmic agent as well as gaining a better understanding of the arrhythmogenic effects of antiarrhythmic drugs (proarrhythmia) have also been important.

What do you think has your biggest contribution been?

My contribution has been the elaboration of concealed conduction of accessory pathways. Also, I have helped develop risk stratification for sudden cardiac death in patients with ischaemic heart disease and cardiomyopathy. Furthermore, I have been involved in the clinical evaluation of antiarrhythmic drugs and demonstrating the proarrhythmic effects of antiarrhythmic drugs.

Another of my major contributions to the evidence base relates to direct oral anticoagulants, and I have contributed to efforts to further the field of education at both a national and an international level.

Which case taught you the most?

The case that taught me the most involved a death due to the intravenous injection of verapamil in a young woman, who had already been treated with intravenous beta-blocker. This adverse effect was not known at the time, and its discovery had a major effect on my views about safety concerns with powerful drugs—especially when given early in their clinical development.

What are the benefits of congresses?

At congresses, I have been able to meet most—if not all—of the major clinical and basic scientists in the field of cardiac electrophysiology over the years of my career. This would not have been possible without international congresses. 

Hearing new science at the earliest opportunity in hotline sessions has always been very exciting and makes the visit to such meetings well worthwhile. Finally, meeting friends and colleagues make conventions very valuable to me.

What are your goals for EHRA?

Next year (2018) will be a critical year for our association. The new Eucomed regulations on the funding of individuals to attend major conventions present a challenge for our society, but we will work very hard to minimise the consequences of this development.

Also, EHRA is moving into the field of coordinating electrophysiology/arrhythmia research activity throughout Europe—the association has an ideal opportunity to be very influential in this area. We will continue the development of this concept. I will also strive to continue to develop valuable and close relationships between national cardiac societies and EHRA.

What are the benefits of becoming a member of EHRA?

EHRA offers education, information, certification, updates, conventions, advocacy and collegiality. This is an unparalleled opportunity for electrophysiologists throughout Europe and we should all want to join in this effort.