Professor Albert Alain Hagege, FESC, president of the French Society of Cardiology (SFC), speaks about the SFC’s achievements in cardiology registries and his vision for future collaboration with the ESC on continuing medical education.
The French Society of Cardiology (SFC) held its national congress in January and had record attendance from outside France. The 23rd European Days of the French Society of Cardiology (JESFC) took place in Paris, France (16-19 January 2013) and had 7,500 participants.
Around 1,500 people (20%) came from foreign countries including on European guidelines published during the past year. This year’s session was chaired by Professor Michel Komajda, FESC (France), ESC past-president, and Professor Fausto Pinto, FESC (Portugal), ESC president-elect. Presentations were given by leading national cardiologists on valvular heart disease, atrial fibrillation, acute myocardial infarction and cardiovascular disease prevention. The 800 capacity room was completely full.
In addition there were joint sessions between the SFC and national societies – for example on diabetology and radiology – and with foreign countries including Belgium, Switzerland, Tunisia, Germany, Poland, Romania, Australia and New Zealand. A joint session was also held with the ESC’s European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging on the development of multimodality imaging.
The SFC has had many achievements in recent years. About four years ago it changed its official journal, Archives des Maladies du Cœur et des Vaisseaux, which was published only in French, to Archives of Cardiovascular Diseases which is published in English. Professor Hagege says: “With this new journal our aim was to increase the audience and impact factor and it has worked. We went to an impact factor of nearly 2.”
Another priority will be responding to the new regulations on CME in France which will lead to a new CME programme with validation points. Professor Hagege says: “We will probably build new structures to deal with that new regulation.” He envisages CME becoming the main area of joint working between the SFC and the ESC. The two societies have collaborated for many years, and some ESC presidents were previously president of the SFC, the most recent example being Professor Komajda. The SFC contributes to ESC guidelines and takes part in ESC registries.Professor Hagege says: “The ESC has the will to organise CME for students and cardiologists in Europe. I think that collaboration is mandatory but it has to be adapted to each country. So that will probably be the main collaboration between the two societies in the future.”
Registries are an important activity of the SFC and many of them are well known internationally. The SFC currently runs more than 15 registries and Professor Hagege says the numbers are likely to increase in the next few years. Last year FAST-MI, a registry on acute coronary syndromes (ACS) in France which is hosted by the SFC, had communications at the American Heart Association and ESC congresses. It has been the subject of numerous publications in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), including one in 2012 which showed that mortality from ACS dropped by 70% over about 15 years in France.
FRANCE 2, a registry on transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) that is also hosted by the SFC, showed in the NEJM last year that TAVI appeared to be a reasonable option in high-risk elderly patients with aortic stenosis.
Another recent achievement has been integrating a large new working group into the SFC. The Working Group on Cardiovascular Research joined the SFC during the JESFC in January.The SFC continues to produce its own guidelines which encompass European guidelines and adapt recommendations to the French audience.
Promotion of research is another activity. “The SFC is the only scientific society in France which can promote clinical research,” says Professor Hagege. “We currently host about 30 research programmes.” The SFC distributes money for research and together with the Fédération Française de Cardiologie allocates about €1m for research each year. Professor Hagege says: “It’s a large part of our activity. Funding is given to young people for research in France or for sabbatical research in foreign countries.”
Also important is the SFC’s contact with officials, ministries and regulatory agencies with regards to cardiovascular diseases and drugs. An immediate goal of the SFC is to adapt to new regulations on the strengthening of health protection for medicinal and health products that are set to be introduced through the French Sunshine Act. “That will change how we organise our congress and the manner in which we deal with companies,” says Professor Hagege.
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