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Vive la France: Celebrating French contributions to cardiology

A special session at Heart Failure 2017 is dedicated to the impact that France has had on the field of cardiology. “Allez les Bleus! Groundbreaking French contributions to cardiology” will look at the subspecialties in which French cardiologists have played an important role. Dr. Pascal De Groote, head of the department of cardiology at the University Hospital of Lille in France, and an editor-in-chief of Heart Failure 2017 Congress News, explained that the title is based on the fact that France’s national sporting teams all wear blue - Allez les Bleus literally means “go, blue”.

Heart Failure

Dr. De Groote added: “I think this is an important session because we can show to French cardiologists, and to all the other cardiologists around the world, the importance of France in the management of heart failure. The four topics - catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation, transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT), and an artificial heart as demonstrated by the CARMAT experience - are areas in which it was French cardiologists who did much of the work to develop these different methods of treatment.”

The pioneering Frenchman Michel Haïssaguerre developed catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation. Prof. Haïssaguerre - currently Professor of Cardiology at the University of Bordeaux in France, and Head of the Department of Cardiology-Electrophysiology at the University Hospital of Bordeaux - was the first to detect the importance of pulmonary vein triggers and drivers in the genesis of atrial fibrillation and proposed the technique of pulmonary vein isolation, which underlies current methods used throughout the world to treat atrial fibrillation.

In 2002, French interventional cardiologist Alain Cribier performed the world’s first TAVI procedure in Rouen, France. TAVI has since been hailed as a breakthrough in the management of aortic stenosis.

Dr. De Groote said: “The story of TAVI is a little bit different. It started with aortic dilatation with a balloon performed by a French team, which failed to demonstrate any significant long-term efficacy. After that, the team developed a special valve that they then used to perform TAVI for the first time and demonstrated the usefulness of the procedure in patients with aortic stenosis.”

He continued: “Similarly, Professors Jean-Claude Daubert and Christophe Leclercq and their team demonstrated the usefulness of resynchronisation therapy.”

Prof. Daubert is a rhythmologist at the University Hospital of Rennes whose work has contributed greatly to the development of CRT over the past 30 years. The first important trial in patients, the MUSTIC trial, was published in 2001, and CRT is now recognised as a mandatory treatment of heart failure when it is indicated.

For patients with advanced biventricular heart failure who do not respond to standard therapies, the only possibility remaining is cardiac transplantation. But annually there are fewer than 4,000 donor hearts available globally for more than 100,000 patients waiting for a transplant.

Also, Professor Alain Carpentier - a French heart surgeon with worldwide-recognised expertise in bioprosthetic valves, treatment of biological tissues, physiology, and surgical procedures - asked aeronautics and space engineers to work with him to develop an artificial heart for patients who are unable to access a heart transplant or who are contraindicated for transplantation. Therefore, his contribution to cardiology will also be discussed at today’s session.

Dr. De Groote concluded: “I would say that this session is an important part of the story about the treatment of cardiac disease. It will be a historical summary of the techniques of atrial fibrillation ablation, TAVI, and cardiac resynchronisation, as well as informing us about the innovations of the CARMAT experience.”

Allez les Bleus! Groundbreaking French contributions to cardiology

Sunday 30 April 11:00–12:30; room MATISSE

View the programme