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Working with EHRA staff and the EHRA board “has been outstanding and full of joy”

Professor Gerhard Hindricks (University Leipzig–Heart Center, Leipzig, Germany), President of the European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) 2015–2017, says his career in electrophysiology was one of those things that “just happened by chance”. He talks to Congress News about his achievements as President and what he hopes his legacy will be.

Arrhythmias


Why did you choose to specialise in electrophysiology?

Sometimes developments in life are not planned and just happen by chance. After I finished my premedical school at the University of Münster, I was looking for a topic for my medical thesis.

A conversation during a night shift prompted me to look up an experimental working group on arrhythmias and I became fascinated by their scientific and educational programme. Through this programme, I learned how to conduct experimental studies and how to develop new technologies.

What have been the highlights of your presidency?

First of all, I would like to say that working with the EHRA staff and with colleagues from the EHRA Board has been outstanding and full of joy.

Together, we have achieved remarkable progress in many fields. We have explored the field of strategic development and organised meetings with the electrophysiology national cardiac societies of all member countries to better understand the expectations needs and requirements. We have also reviewed innovation; the first meeting of the EHRA Innovation Forum was held last year.

Furthermore, EHRA is now also heavily involved in clinical trials; we have managed to apply for a huge grant for a clinical trial on the prevention of sudden cardiac death after myocardial infarction on the road: the RESET SCD Trial. We have progressed to the second round evaluation for support from the European Commission.

Another big achievement is for EHRA to hold an annual event as of 2018. We have had very successful and enjoyable years with CARDIOSTIM and we are grateful for the time we had together. However, we are now moving into a new era with an annual EHRA Congress—every year in late March or early April— I am happy to share with you that the next EHRA Congress will take place in Barcelona (Spain) from 18 March to 20 March next year. 

All EHRA committees and study groups have worked extremely hard and have been very successful over the last 24 months, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody involved for the great contribution to the success of EHRA.

What do you hope your legacy will be?

In the future, I think international cooperation will play a key role in EHRA and I hope that our ties to the sister organisations in Asia and America will be further strengthened. I also hope that heart rhythm cardiac societies in Africa will join this global arrhythmia partnership.

Additionally, I believe it is important that we stay strong in the field of science and clinical trials and intensify our investment in eHealth—electrophysiologists certainly have the strongest experience in telemedicine and mobile health. We should take this advantage and improve our networking and activities in this important field.

After EHRA EUROPACE - CARDIOSTIM, I will hand over the presidency to Professor John Camm (St George's University of London, London, UK). Prof Camm is one of the best scientists and most experienced leaders in the field, and I believe that he will guide EHRA into a bright and successful future.

During my presidency, I had excellent support from John while he was the EHRA President-Elect and I will do whatever I can to support him as the Immediate Past President. I am also sure that Prof. Camm will have the full support of the whole electrophysiology community.