Professor Donna Fitzsimons, Chairperson of ACNAP, said: “Psychological factors have a major impact on how people respond to their cardiac disease and how it develops. We know for example that people who are depressed do much worse after a cardiac event irrespective of optimal medical treatment, and there have been recent suggestions in the literature that depression should be treated as a separate risk factor.”
The congress theme “Heart and Mind” will be explored in several sessions. Questions such as “Is the mind the primary culprit?” will be addressed and experts will present the latest evidence on how to reduce stress.
EuroHeartCare 2014 will be attended by around 500 delegates in the nursing and allied professions from more than 40 countries. Journalists will hear exciting and newsworthy research in the scientific sessions and in more than 170 abstracts on hot topics including depression and risk of heart failure and the impact of poor sleep on hospitalisations. An entire session is devoted to the benefits of a good night’s sleep.
Professor Fitzsimons said: “An emerging body of evidence suggests that sleep is much more important than we have conventionally thought. Sleep apnoea can be a significant risk factor for CVD progression and is associated with obesity. Insomnia also impacts on CVD and is related to depression.”
Journalists will witness state of the art telemedicine during a live demonstration from a North Sea oil rig. A patient presenting with cardiac symptoms is set to be evaluated by healthcare professionals on the oil rig and decision making will be triaged by telemedicine. Professor Fitzsimons said: “Time is of the essence when a patient presents with a possible diagnosis of a heart attack. We will see how to use novel technology to advance our diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease.”
Psychological issues related to cardiac devices is a fertile area of research and will be examined in the abstracts and scientific sessions. Professor Fitzsimons said: “About ten years ago we learned from the major trials that cardiac devices were a real breakthrough in the management of cardiovascular risk, particularly from arrhythmic death in heart failure. Now we’re discovering the psychological implications of having a device and how healthcare professionals can help patients adjust.”
She added: “The main function of a cardiac implantable electronic device (CIED) is to recognise a life threatening arrhythmia and discharge an electrical shock. Every time a patient gets a shock they have effectively been resuscitated from a near death experience and that can be a big psychological hurdle for an individual and their family to get around. It is also very painful - the experience has been likened to being kicked in the chest by a horse and some patients are traumatised by the shocks they have had. Nurses will present new discoveries on the psychological impact of living with a CIED and interventions to help patients cope.”
Journalists are invited to a tour of one of Europe’s most modern medical simulation centres. Demonstrators at the Stavanger Acute medicine Foundation for Education and Research (SAFER) will show current developments in resuscitation science and enable journalists to participate in simulation sessions.
Professor Susanne S. Pedersen, Programme Chair for EuroHeartCare 2014, said: “At many cardiovascular conferences we hear that patients do not adhere to recommended treatments. The missing link is their psychological profile - if patients are depressed they are less likely to take their medication, to participate in cardiac rehabilitation and to follow-up on lifestyle advice such as exercising and eating healthily. Journalists can expect EuroHeartCare 2014 to unveil the most contemporary research on how CVD interacts with the mind and what interventions are most effective in tackling disorders in both areas.”