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Best of ESC Congress 2014

Major breakthrough in the treatment of heart failure announced: Patients should become partners Innovative presentation formats allow delegates to engage and challenge trialists

Barcelona, 3 September 2014: “The ESC Congress has been a resounding success and I am proud of finishing my presidency on such a high note.” With these words, Prof Vardas said good bye to over 30 300 delegates who attended ESC Congress 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. With 27 clinical Hot Line presentations, 15 Clinical Trial Updates, 19 Registry studies, four new Guidelines and 4597 abstracts being presented, the ESC Congress 2014 will be remembered as one of the biggest and most exciting in the history of the society.
Prof Keith Fox, Chair of the Congress Programme said:

“This has been the strongest scientific programme yet and the congress has broken records in attendance and scientific submissions. The quality of the work we received is outstanding and attracted doctors from all over the world. In the digital age, cardiologists want to attend our congress because we have used modern technology to enhance interaction and discussion and to allow participants to get behind the headlines. Delegates will go home not just knowing the headlines, but what is important and will change practice and what to look out for on the horizon.”

Some of the most important studies presented at ESC Congress 2014 were:

  • PARADIGM-HF:  Investigational new heart failure drug could be poised to change the face of cardiology based on Hot Line results
  • ODYSSEY studies Combo II & FHI & FHII: Investigational lipid-lowering agent alirocumab produced superior results compared to placebo
  • SIGNIFY: Adding ivabradine (used for the treatment of heart failure and stable angina) to standard therapy,  has no effect on cardiovascular events in patients with stable CAD   and should be used with caution in patients with severe forms of angina
  • CONFIRM: Intravenous doses of an iron supplement improves functional capacity and quality of life in heart failure patients with iron deficiency
  • EUROECO: First financial assessment of the impact of home monitored follow-up estimates the cost to physicians, hospitals and insurance providers is the same as traditional in-office monitoring, according to a new study, but reimbursement is lagging behind
  • FOCUS:  Patients were more likely to take their medication to prevent a heart attack when it was given as a polypill, rather than as three separate pills.
“We have learnt a lot during this past week. The results from all these studies need to be carefully considered. New research has shown us many ways to improve our practice and procedures. These trials will be discussed in the months to come. Cardiologists will ‘digest’ all this information and the ESC will certainly review the new evidence in order to update its guidance,” said Prof Vardas, President of the ESC. “The ESC must also acknowledge developments in strategic areas, such as digital health,” he concluded.

“The wealth of new information in the scientific programme was reflected in the very dense press programme this year,” said Kurt Huber, Chair of the ESC Press Committee. “Over 800 journalists registered for ESC Congress 2014. This is an all time record!”

“Hot Line press conferences were eagerly anticipated and well attended. We are amazed at the reach of the news coming out of ESC Congress. Barcelona, this week, became a hub for hot topics with repercussions all over the world from India to Chile.”

Some of the most popular news stories coming out of ESC Congress (apart from Hot Lines) this year were:

  • Batteryless pacemaker A new batteryless cardiac pacemaker based on an automatic wristwatch and powered by heart motion was presented. The prototype device does not require battery replacement.
  • Obesity and hypertension in adolescents Obesity is on the rise among youth. Obese teenagers have a nearly six fold risk of hypertension, according to research in more than 22 000 young people from Germany.
  • Wine and exercise Wine only protects against cardiovascular disease (CVD) in people who exercise
  • Fruit consumption Daily fruit consumption cuts the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by up to 40%,
  • Energy drinks can cause serious heart problems such as sudden or unexplained death, arrhythmia and heart attack
 “Cardiology has made huge advances with a steady decline of CVD mortality in most of Europe (1), but there is still a lot to do and we rely on journalists to help us encourage the public to adopt healthy lifestyles,” said Prof Vardas.

At yesterday’s ESC General Assembly the ESC Presidency was transferred from Professor Panos Vardas to Professor Fausto Pinto from Portugal (2). Paying tribute to the outgoing President, Prof Pinto said that he

“had done an outstanding job of keeping the society united and focused on the main objective: reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease.”

With Professor Pinto beginning his term of office, it was formally announced that the next President Elect would be Professor Jeroen Bax from the Netherlands. Professor Bax (3) has been involved with the European Society of Cardiology since 2005, most recently holding the position of Vice-President for National Cardiac Societies and Fellows (2012-2014).  He is the former Chair of the Cardiology Practice Guidelines Committee (2010 - 2012), of the Press Committee (2008 - 2010) and the Scientific Programme (2007 – 2008).


(1) “Cardiovascular disease in Europe 2014 – epidemiological update”, by Melanie Nichols, Nick Townsend, Peter Scarborough and Mike Rayner. European Heart Journal, doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehu299
(2) ESC TV interview of Prof Fausto Pinto (new ESC President)
(3) ESC TV interview of Prof Jeroen Bax (new ESC President-Elect)

Notes to editor

All ESC press releases  available here
About the European Society of Cardiology
The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) represents more than 80 000 cardiology professionals across Europe and the Mediterranean.  Its mission is to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in Europe.
About ESC Congress 2014
The ESC Congress is currently the world's largest international congress in cardiovascular medicine.  The spotlight of this year's event is “innovation and the heart”.  ESC Congress 2014 takes place from 30 August to 3 September at the Fira Gran Via in Barcelona, Spain. For more information on ESC Congress 2014 contact the ESC Press Office.
To access all the scientific resources from the sessions during the congress, visit ESC Congress 365.