These are the words of ESC President, Professor Stephan Achenbach, in his powerful speech at yesterday’s Inaugural Session. “My fascination for the heart starts right there, with this mind-blowing interplay of form and highly efficient function,” he said. “If you, like me, continue to be amazed by this incredibly magnificent organ, then you, like me, understand the Magic of Cardiology.”
He described how cardiology is inspiring in many ways – from the wonders of cardiac imaging to the tremendous improvements being made in diagnosis and treatment – with dynamism that helps to fuel the passion for further progress. Practice-changing trials are being presented at an increasing rate, many at ESC Congress, and he explained how this constantly growing body of robust evidence is providing confidence for healthcare professionals and patients.
“But it is more than science, evidence and data,” said Prof. Achenbach. “Cardiovascular medicine is teamwork. We form a small team with our patient when we, together, decide on the best way to manage her or his disease.” In a wider sense, he described the Heart Team as “an expression of multiple specialties working together across borders to find solutions.” Further emphasising its benefits, particularly in critical situations, he said, “It is often the experience and cooperation of a multi-professional team, seamlessly working together, everyone doing their best, and completely focused on the best for the patient, that allows us to achieve optimal outcomes.”
More broadly, he highlighted the teamwork of the ESC that has now persisted for over 70 years. He also thanked Past-President Professor Barbara Casadei for her contribution and wished new President, Professor Franz Weidinger well as he begins his term in office on Monday. His call to action for all ESC Congress participants was this: “Let’s come together again – to learn, to educate ourselves, to hear about the newest developments. This is when true progress happens: when we jointly discuss the newest science in the light of our collective clinical experience.”
In addition to the Hot Lines and ESC Clinical Practice Guidelines that everyone eagerly awaits at every ESC Congress, Professor Stephan Windecker, ESC Congress Programme Committee Chair, picked out some personal highlights of this year’s programme. These included digital health sessions in the Gaudi Hub today and tomorrow, sessions celebrating the 20th anniversary of TAVI, and a symposium on the future of cardiology, entitled ‘From 2022 to 2033: where will cardiovascular medicine take us?’ which will take place in the Picasso Hub on Sunday.
We heard from three exceptional cardiologists Göran K. Hansson, Marie-Claude Morice and Issei Komuro, and in recognition of their inspirational contribution, they were presented with the ESC’s highest honour, the ESC Gold Medal. For their outstanding roles in the field and within the ESC, Tiny Jaarsma, Adam Timmis and Steen Dalby Kristensen were honoured with the ESC President’s Award.
Finally, Prof. Achenbach celebrated the successful election of 271 new Fellows of the ESC (FESC) from 61 countries across the world. He said, “By applying to be a FESC, the applicant has made a conscious decision towards professional excellence, to always try harder and to become part of an exceptional group who are willing to go the extra mile for our patients, our profession and our society, providing the inspiration to others to do the same.” And with a final flourish of magic, Prof. Achenbach declared ESC Congress 2022 officially open!