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Looking ahead: Building on the central pillars of the HFA

Heart Failure 2016 Congress News

Frank Ruschitzka, University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland

The strength of the Heart Failure Association (HFA) to deal with the challenges of the future and educate the specialists of tomorrow is based on its two central pillars, the congress and its flagship journal, says incoming HFA President, Frank Ruschitzka.

Speaking to Heart Failure Congress News, Prof Ruschitzka (University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland) said that the Heart Failure congress has grown year-on-year to become, in Florence, the largest heart failure meeting in the world, with a record breaking attendance in Florence with more than 5000 attendees.

That makes it uniquely placed to emphasise the importance of educating clinicians in the newly developed specialty of heart failure. To those ends, the first heart failure specialist examinations take place at the congress in Florence.

This goes alongside the 2-year HFA Postgraduate Course in Heart Failure, a collaboration between the University of Zurich, the ESC and the HFA. There are also plans for centres of excellence in heart failure all over Europe, and the next step will be defining and identifying institutions, in conjunction with the ESC and national heart failure societies.

Another priority is highlighting the heart failure epidemic. To help tackle this, the HFA is launching the Global Heart Failure Awareness Programme to engage communities and individuals in bringing attention to the condition.

Prof. Ruschitzka said that although heart failure is “the number one reason for hospitalisation in the Western world”, the majority of people have not heard of it, and it “does not get the attention it deserves”.

He said: “That’s why our patients are not appropriately diagnosed, let alone treated, and this is something that we have to tackle.”

The other central pillar of the HFA is its flagship European Journal of Heart Failure, which is the world leading and most influential heart failure journal in the world, and it will be a key element of Prof. Ruschitzka’s to strengthen and develop it further. It has recently been joined by the open-access journal ESC Heart Failure.

Prof. Ruschitzka concluded: “What we need to do now is to reach out to HF associations and societies all over the world to work alongside them and offer them our expertise and knowledge. This is an obligation that comes with being the biggest and most important heart failure group in the world.”