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Progress and perspectives from HFA President, Professor Petar M Seferović

Heart Failure Congress News

The HFA continues to be a worldwide leader in raising awareness of heart failure and instigating approaches to improve prevention and treatment. The HFA is also a major player in the ESC family, with a commitment to the five strategic ESC pillars: congress activities, education, research initiatives, advocacy and membership.

Heart Failure Association
Heart Failure


Petar-Seferovic-2019.jpgEducation is not only a focus of the world’s largest heart failure congress, but it is also provided during other renowned international events, such as the HFA Winter Meeting, the Zurich Postgraduate Course in Heart Failure and the HFA Clinical Trialists Summer School, which are all now well established. Among young healthcare professionals, the Heart Failure Specialists of Tomorrow continues to develop expertise and competence in the field of heart failure via educational, clinical and scientific events, and opportunities. In addition, the HFA also provides cutting-edge education via two highly cited journals, the European Journal of Heart Failure and the open-access ESC Heart Failure, and via thecertification process and by specialist and nurse curriculums. Heartfailurematters.org, with 2.2 million visitors, is recognised as one of the best patient-oriented educational websites.

Committees and Study Groups are the heart of the HFA and there has been some recent restructuring to increase coverage of scientific areas most pertinent for current heart failure research and management. Fifteen HFA Committees and Study groups, made up of expert volunteers, meet at least twice a year to develop position papers and consensus statements, and hold workshops, educational and networking events. Two major publications will be published following Heart Failure 2019, one paper will provide updated guidance on heart failure therapy and general care, and the other will address the management of patients with heart failure and secondary mitral regurgitation.

New this year is the Trilateral Cooperation Meeting, an HFA-led initiative that involves a collaboration between the HFA and two major international heart failure societies, the Heart Failure Society of America and the Japanese Heart Failure Society. Each year, by rotation, one of the three societies will host a meeting on a specific topic of their choice. Each meeting will result in a joint position paper, published simultaneously in the European Journal of Heart Failure and the Journal of Cardiac Failure. The first trilateral meeting, hosted by the HFA, took place in Munich in March 2019 where new aspects of the use of endomyocardial biopsy were discussed.

First results from a leading HFA initiative, HFA Atlas, will be presented today at Heart Failure 2019, describing heart failure management across 42 ESC and ESC-affiliated countries. More countries are expected to join the project, broadening its coverage and scientific power. Since HFA Atlas will be updated regularly, it will continue to provide an essential source of information for years to come. In addition to HFA Atlas, research continues to be a focal point of HFA through other surveys, epidemiological studies and registries. At the end of 2018, a new phase of the EURObservational Research Programme (EORP), Heart Failure III Registry, was launched, which will provide important information on how recently available heart failure medications, procedures and devices are being implemented.

Through its advocacy activities (e.g., National Heart Failure Societies [NHFS] network, HFA Summit, Heart Failure Awareness Days), the HFA has succeeded in getting together various NHFS from Europe, Asia, the mid- and far-East and South America. Indeed, the number of countries involved in HFA Summits has grown significantly from 27 in 2011 to 48 participating countries in 2018.

The most complex and difficult goal of HFA is also its ultimate frontier, Quality of Care Heart Failure Centres. Having a strong connection with NHFS and building on the decisions taken at HFA Summits, it was decided to start the project with a pilot phase involving six countries. The project has strong benefits for both NHFS and the HFA, leading to a win–win situation: NHFS working on the Quality of Care centres will be officially under the scientific and organisational auspices of HFA, and HFA will embrace the knowledge gained of heart failure diagnosis and treatment in different NHFS countries.

Increased membership is anticipated based on information generated by the HFA Atlas and the re-organisation of the Quality of Care Heart Failure Centres. By encouraging an interest in heart failure, the HFA would like to attract a growing number of new heart failure specialists to join, since out of the 99,000 ESC members, many are still looking for a subspecialty. Renewed focus on membership is crucial to the ongoingsuccess of the world’s largest and most influential heart failure association.”