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The ESC is proud to be able to recognise these exceptional cardiologists for their contribution to medicine and hope that by recognising them, they will be an inspiration to future generations.
Dr. Marc Pfeffer is the Dzau Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Senior Physician in the Cardiovascular Division at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. A noted researcher, Dr. Pfeffer, along with his late wife, Dr. Janice Pfeffer, and Eugene Braunwald MD, is credited with introducing the concept that angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) could attenuate adverse ventricular remodelling following myocardial infarction and that this use would result in a prolongation of survival and other clinical benefits. Since this initial discovery, he has had a principal role in several practice-changing clinical trials such as SAVE, CARE, HEART, VALIANT, CHARM, PEACE, ARISE, TREAT, ALTITUDE, TOPCAT and ELIXA.
Dr. Pfeffer is considered as a team builder and takes pride in academic advancement of trainees and junior faculty collaborating on the trials. He is known for his fairness in data sharing and assisting others in developing meaningful scholarly works from study databases. He sets high standards for relationships with the sponsors whether industry or NHLBI.
Dr. Pfeffer serves on the Data Safety Monitoring Boards of major international trials. An internationally recognized expert in the field of cardiology, he was recognized by Science Watch as having the most ‘Hot Papers’ (highly cited) in all of clinical medicine. Dr. Pfeffer was listed as one of the highly influential biomedical researchers of 1996-2011 in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation. He is the recipient of the William Harvey Award of the American Society of Hypertension, the Okamoto Award from Japan’s Vascular Disease Research Foundation, the Clinical Research Prize, the James B. Herrick Award and was honored by the Distinguished Scientist Award from both the American Heart Association as well as the American College of Cardiology, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from both the Heart Failure Society of America and the Heart Failure Association of the European Congress of Cardiology. Dr. Pfeffer is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and is the recipient of an Honorary Doctoral Degree from Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Professor Evgeny Shlyakhto, Director General of the Almazov National Medical Research Centre, Academician of the Russian Academy of Science, President of the Russian Society of Cardiology, Fellow of the European Society of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, and the American College of Cardiology.
Professor Shlyakhto was born on June 29, 1954 in Pogar, the Bryansk region. He graduated from the Pavlov Medical University in Saint Petersburg in 1977 and became Doctor of Science in Medicine in 1992, Professor in 1994, Honored Russian Scientist in 2004, and Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 2014.
Evgeny Shlyakhto has been the Director General of the Almazov National Medical Research Centre since 2001 and the President of the Russian Society of Cardiology since 2011. In 2010, he became a member of the WHO Expert Working Group.
The Centre led by Prof. Shlyakhto carries out intensive research in the fields of translational medicine, molecular diagnostics, development of diagnostic tools for personalized treatment, cellular and tissue engineering for therapeutic purposes, creation of biocompatible materials and tissue-engineered constructs designed to create breakthrough medical technologies of fundamental importance for providing high-tech care to patients with cardiovascular, endocrine and blood diseases.
The results of research work by Prof. Shlyakhto have been summarized in more than 800 publications, 16 inventions, 2 scientific discoveries, and a number of monographs. Prof. Shlyakhto was a supervisor in 57 PhD and 20 DSc students..
Professor Shlyakhto is a member of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Science, the Presidential Council for Science and Education, the Regional Health Council under the Federation Council of the Russian Federal Assembly, the Expert Health Council of the Federation Council Committee on Social Policy of the Russian Federal Assembly, Vice President of the National Medical Chamber.
Evgeny Shlyakhto is the Editor-in-Chief of the following medical journals: Russian Journal of Cardiology, Translational Medicine, and Journal of Arrhythmology. He also is a member of the international editorial board of the European Heart Journal.
Professor Shlyakhto plays an active role in such international committees as the ESC Congress Programme Committee (since 2012) and of the ESC Committee for Practice Guidelines (since 2015).
Evgeny Shlyakhto received the Russian Federation Government Prize in science and technology in 2009 and won the Pavlov Award, the prize for scientific and technological achievement in Physiology and Medicine from the Saint Petersburg Government and St. Petersburg Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences, in 2011. He received an Order of Honour in 2012 and 4th class Order of Merit for the Motherland in 2017.
In the initial part of his career he was devoted to the treatment of congenital heart diseases, first in Bergamo, Italy and then in USA, as Clinical Fellow at the Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, NY and as a Research Fellow at the University of Alabama in Birmingham.His experience with adult cardiac surgery started in 1980 at the St. Antonius Hospital in Neuwegein, NL, where he spent six years as member of the staff.
He came back to Italy in 1986 to become Chief Surgeon at the Ospedali Civili in Brescia. Ten years later he moved to Milan as Professor and Chairman of Cardiac Surgery at San Raffaele University Hospital.
He is author or co-author of more than 600 peer-reviewed papers, related to many areas of cardiac surgery.He is member of the editorial board of several scientific journals.
His main interest is surgery for valvular heart disease (particularly mitral valve repair).
In the early ‘90s he originally developed the Edge-to-Edge technique, a method of mitral valve repair which is the basis of the currently most used type of percutaneous correction of mitral regurgitation.
During the last 15 years he has been very active in favouring in his department the multidisciplinary approach in the treatment of cardiac diseases. Particularly he was able to introduce transcatheter technologies in the daily cardiac surgical practice.
In 2011, he served as President of the European Association of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery (EACTS).He is currently member of the ESC, EACTS, AATS, STS.
He is now President of the “Alfieri Heart Foundation” created to support research and innovation at the San Raffaele University Hospital.
Hear about his professional journey & scientific experiences. What made him do it? What lessons has he learned? And what may inspire you?
Join on the ESC TV Stage on Monday 28 August, 10:15
In recent years Professor Wijns has held board memberships in the European Society of Cardiology and the World Heart Federation. He is currently Chairman of PCR, co-Director of Africa PCR and EuroPCR, the official congress of the European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions.
Professor Wijns previously worked at the Thorax Center in Rotterdam, where he was actively involved with the first applications of nuclear cardiology, thrombolysis and coronary dilatation, and the University of Louvain in Brussels, where he was Clinical Professor of Cardiology.
Professor Wijns’ research focuses on heart attacks and sudden death caused by unexpected blockage of arteries supplying the heart with blood and oxygen.
will give the "ESC Awards Inspirational Career Lecture" during the Awards Ceremony on Monday 28 August at 18:00 in Dali (The Hub)
Anthony N. DeMaria received his M.D. from the New Jersey College of Medicine in 1968. He did his medical residency at the United States Public Health Service Hospital in Staten Island, New York. In 1981, he accepted the position as Chief of Cardiology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. In 2004 he founded the UCSD Sulpizio Family Cardiovascular Center. His field of specialization is cardiac imaging techniques, particularly echocardiography (ultrasound of the heart).
Dr. DeMaria is a Diplomat in the American Board of Internal Medicine and is board certified by the Subspecialty Board in Cardiovascular Disease. He is Past President of the American College of Cardiology and Past President of the American Society of Echocardiography. He has served as a member of the Subspecialty Board on Cardiovascular Disease of the American Board of Internal Medicine and Chair of the Diagnostic Radiology Study Section of the National Institutes of Health. He holds memberships in numerous professional organizations, including the American Heart Association, the American Federation for Clinical Research and the Association of University Cardiologists.
Dr. DeMaria served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology from 2002-2014, and he has served as an editorial consultant and member of various other editorial boards. He has authored or co-authored over 700 articles for medical journals. Dr. DeMaria is listed in the Best Doctors in America and by Good Housekeeping as Best Heart Doctors in America.
This year, two ESC Gold Medallists receive ESC honours:
Dr. Bernard Gersh and Prof. Alain Cribier.
Dr. Gersh is Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine having received his undergraduate degree at the University of Cape Town and obtaining a D.Phil at Oxford University. He also has an Honorary PhD from the University of Coimbra, Portugal. He has published approximately 880 manuscripts, 140 book chapters, and has edited 15 books. He has served on multiple editorial boards and is currently Deputy Editor of the European Heart Journal. Prior awards include the Silver Medal of the European Society of Cardiology, the James B. Herrick Award, the Distinguished Achievement Award of the American Heart Association, Master of the American College of Cardiology, and the Hatter Award for the Advancement of Cardiovascular Science from the University College London and the University of Cape Town. Dr. Gersh is the 2015 recipient of the Mayo Clinic Distinguished Alumni Award.
Prof. Alain Cribier, MD, has been for 20 years Chief of Cardiology at the University Hospital Charles Nicolle of Rouen, France. He became widely recognized for having developed new interventional technologies for the treatment of valvular heart diseases: Balloon Aortic Valvuloplasty in 1985, Mitral Commissurotomy in 1994, and after 15 years of research the Transcatheter Implantation of Aortic Valves (TAVI), performing the first world case in Rouen in 2002. This last breakthrough technology which is now widely used in the world with more than 300 000 patients treated and an explosive growth will have a durable impact on the pattern of medical practice. Prof Cribier has received a number of prestigious scientific distinctions and awards for his pioneering work. He has published more than 600 indexed articles in the fields of interventional cardiology, valve disease and innovative technologies.
This year, three ESC Gold Medallists receive ESC honours:
Professor Keith Fox, Professor Michel Haissaguerre and Professor Richard Popp
ESC: Professor Fox, you have a long association with the ESC. How did it all start?
KF: I was one of the founding Fellows of the ESC back in the 1990s and since then have been responsible for several studies in acute coronary syndromes and thrombosis, with key results incorporated into European guidelines. Some of our results from the GRACE study, for example, have provided strong evidence on risk assessment and its timing in acute coronary syndromes. At a more formal level I was a board member of the ESC from 2008 to 2010 and from 2012 to 2014, and also Chair of the Scientific & Clinical Programme Committee for the ESC. Last year there were more than 30,000 taking part and a record number of abstracts submitted. That’s plenty of work for the Programme Committee!
And your principal scientific and clinical interests?
Acute coronary diseases and atherothrombosis - in fact, the whole pathway from plaque formation to clinical manifestations. So this has involved me in studies of disease mechanisms in ACS to the assessment of antiplatelet and anticoagulant therapies. Presently, we are looking at the influence of genes and inflammation on plaque rupture events.
Which of these studies are you most proud of?
Well it’s difficult to say. They seem to have happened in a series of chapters, starting with our first studies on tPA in St Louis. But I guess I must be most proud of those whose outcomes have been implemented into guidelines and everyday practice in ACS. So to that extent I’d note our studies from the GRACE registry programme, and the RITA, ROCKET-AF and OASIS programmes. The RITA-3 trial in 2005, for example, compared a strategy of routine angiography and revascularisation in non-STE ACS patients with a non-intervention strategy of watchful management. There was uncertainty about this at the time, but our results over five years clearly showed the benefit of routine intervention. So now, for higher risk patients we adopt a routine strategy of early angiography and intervention. More recently we’ve updated the algorithms derived from the GRACE registry data into a simple web-based and app risk calculator. The original risk prediction model was based on outcomes from more than 100,000 ACS patients, and now the risk scores we calculated have been validated externally and prospectively.
What does an ESC gold medal mean to you?
Of course, I feel very honoured, but also a little embarrassed to be in such company. My contributions to cardiology and the ESC seem somewhat modest alongside those of other gold medallists, but it s a great honour and one that I feel very proud of and very grateful for.
ESC: How did you first become interested in cardiology?
MH: Initially, I decided to study medicine because I was interested in psychology. But during my second year internship with Professor Jean Francois Warin in Bordeaux I became fascinated by the way 12-lead ECG traces could describe an invisible electrical mechanism operating within the heart.
What have been your main research interests?
Once simple arrhythmias became, in the words of Douglas Zipes, ‘an endangered species’, the last big hurdle to overcome was cardiac fibrillation. My research team’s contribution has been to demonstrate that these chaotic wavelets have discrete origins, with the igniting sparks located mostly in the pulmonary veins in the atria or Purkinje cells in the ventricles.
How did radio ablation for atrial fibrillation come about?
With Pierre Jais, Mélèze Hocini, Dipen Shah and others I began mapping the first premature beat that initiates fibrillation. We found the sources of AF were not in the atria, but fired from cells in the pulmonary veins located in the vascular wall. It took about four years to be sure of our results – 99% perspiration for 1% inspiration. Now over 300,000 patients have been treated by targeting the pulmonary veins.
Have you done the same for VF?
The same mapping concept was performed for patients with repetitive VF, but proved challenging because of the rapid syncopal nature of VF and isolated runs of ventricular ectopies. We found Purkinje sources initiating VF in both normal hearts and nearly all types of cardiac disease, with confirmation by discrete successful ablation. Such findings could have large therapeutic implications.
What does your new institute hope to achieve?
In 2012 we established the LIRYC Electrophysiology and Heart Modelling Institute in Bordeaux to develop a multidisciplinary programme dedicated to cardiac electrical dysfunctions such as AF, ventricular tachyarrhythmias and electrical ventricular dyssynchrony leading to heart failure using high-resolution mapping, cardiac imaging, signal processing and computer modelling. The institute brings together over 150 practitioners with multiple specialties in electrophysiology - from ion channels to whole heart and patient care.
What are your future research goals?
While we’ve made progress in understanding arrhythmia mechanisms, the identification of risk factors, genetic abnormalities and tissue biomarkers needs to be improved. We need to be able to recognise those individuals who are susceptible to VF and sudden death. Advances will hopefully help optimise screening and therapeutic protocols and reduce the burden of arrhythmic morbidity and mortality.
ESC: What first attracted you to cardiology?
RLP: The cardiac physical exam was the most fascinating thing I could imagine - I had always wanted to understand how the heart worked both normally and under the influence of disease.
Who have been your most influential mentors and how did they help your career development?
J. Michael Criley from Johns Hopkins got me involved in angiography and Harvey Feigenbaum from Indiana University was one of the first in the US to use ultrasound for cardiac imaging. I’d also like to acknowledge over 150 dedicated cardiology fellows who taught me an enormous amount and pushed me to answer their challenging questions.
What do you regard as your greatest clinical and or scientific achievement?
I was privileged to be part of the development of virtually all aspects of ultrasound cardiac diagnosis. My work was developing non-invasive ways to measure left ventricular volume, stroke volume and ejection fraction - and establishing standards for examination and measurement methods in echocardiography. With Liv Hatle I helped develop Doppler methods to measure gradients across heart valves and methods to recognise diastolic ventricular dysfunction. But one of my greatest achievements has been my involvement in the careers of a large number of leading academic cardiologists including Fausto Pinto and Jos Roelandt.
What do you regard as the most significant development in your field of cardiology over the last 20 years?
The fact that non-invasive methods have replaced invasive cardiac catheterisation for assessing structural heart disease is a major advance for patients allowing serial monitoring of the natural course of valve disease and heart failure.
Looking into a crystal ball how do you see your field developing?
Use of personal hand-held inexpensive ultrasound imaging devices will have a big role to play in augmenting physical exams. I believe that hand-held ultrasound units, the size of a cell phone, will ultimately replace the stethoscope.
What advice would you give to young cardiologists?
Providing ‘patient centered care’ with a team of healthcare providers should be your focus. Training to do everything the team can provide will not serve either you or the patient well.
How have you achieved a work life balance?
I have been incredibly lucky to have a wonderful wife Janis, two sons and five grandchildren. While you can always get someone to cover your patients, no one else can cover your role as a spouse or parent.
Pavel LUKLESC President 1968 – 1972
Herman SNELLENESC President 1972 – 1976
Henri DENOLINESC President 1976 – 1980
Franz LOOGENESC President 1980 – 1984
Paul HUGENHOLTZESC President 1984 – 1988
Hans-Peter KRAYENBÜHLESC President 1988 – 1990
Michel BERTRANDESC President 1991 – 1994
Sigurd NITTER-HAUGEChairman Executive Scientific Committee 1991 – 1994
Philip POOLE-WILSONESC President 1994 – 1996
Günter BREITHARDTESC President 1996 – 1998
AMERICAN COLLEGE OF CARDIOLOGY 1999
Sir Richard DOLL2000
Kalevi PYÖRÄLÄ 2000
Lars RYDÉNESC President 1998-2000
Henrick Joan Joost WELLENS2002
Michiel J. JANSE2002 Editor in Chief Cardiovascular Research 1994 – 2002
Maarten L. SIMOONSESC President 2000-2002
Jean-Pierre BASSANDESC President 2002-2004
A John CAMM2005
Michal TENDERAESC President 2004-2006
Sir Magdi YACOUB2006
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