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This year’s annual meeting of the European Association of Echocardiography (EAE), a registered branch of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), is changing its name to “EUROECHO & other Imaging Modalities”.
EAE President Doctor Luigi Badano, FESC, from the University of Padua, Italy, explains, “To manage cardiac patients today we need to acquire information from all the different imaging modalities, not just Echo. As an association of the ESC, the EAE’s philosophy is that we want to become more patient oriented, rather than pure technology oriented, so that we’re using the most appropriate technology to address individual clinical questions.” In addition to Echo therefore, he adds, the meeting will now include magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography and nuclear imaging. EUROECHO & other Imaging Modalities, which expects to attract over 3,000 delegates from 87 countries including cardiologists, internists, cardiac surgeons and sonographers, will see seven parallel sessions running across four days. “The conference represents a unique opportunity for cardiovascular imagers to come together. There will be teaching sessions for those new to the field, advanced techniques for the more experienced and the latest advances will be presented in over 690 posters and abstracts. You’ll get the opportunity to interact with leading imaging experts from all over the world and try out new technology in the exhibition,” says Professor Patrizio Lancellotti, FESC, EAE President-Elect, from the University of Liège, Belgium. The organisers hope that the Eastern European location of the meeting, which is being held for the first time in Budapest, will enable cardiologists from eastern Europe to attend more easily. The main themes of this year’s meeting are valvular heart disease and left ventricular function. In the sessions on valvular heart disease delegates will learn how risk stratification using the different imaging modalities is allowing identification of asymptomatic patients who will benefit from earlier surgery. The role of 3D echocardiography in assessing the likelihood of mitral valve repair is growing. Although one of the earliest applications of clinical echocardiography was the evaluation of left ventricular (LV) size and function, the evaluation of LV systolic function with new techniques, such as 2D speckle tracking is now allowing identification of patients with subclinical LV dysfunction related to a more advanced stage of valve disease, and of patients with chemotherapy-induced cardiac toxicity. The clinical imaging sessions are a new clinical track where cases will be presented and discussed. The clinical pathways sessions, back by popular demand, will provide lectures about state of the art topics, including contrast echocardiography, when to use transoesphageal echocardiography, congenital heart disease, and clinical application of 3 D echo. Each session will be followed by challenging cases. On the final day highlights of the meeting will be presented by six international leaders in their fields. “This will give us expert opinion on what were the best and hottest sessions,” says Dr. L.P. Badano. This year a special focus is being placed on young investigators, with the intention of encouraging their attendance. “Young investigators will be the cardiologists of tomorrow so, what we really need is a way to get them hooked on research to further our field,” says Prof. P. Lancellotti. To give a boost to original research by young researchers the conference has developed a special mentoring programme where delegates under 35 with high scoring abstracts will be given an opportunity to discuss their work with experts in their specific fields of research. The scheme is already reaping its rewards, with 45% of successful abstract submissions this year coming from investigators under 35 years. Part of the success of the EAE’s youth drive has been the creation of Club 35, an organisation set up within the EAE in January 2011 to support young researchers in training. Club 35 will be holding a special session where members will give presentations on valve disease, and there will also be dedicated How to sessions with advice on writing scientific papers, case reports, and abstracts and how to submit oral presentations. On Friday afternoon a new light hearted aspect of the programme will be ECHO at JEOPARDY. Based on the popular American Quiz show format, delegates will see short clinical cases and then be able to pit their wits against the president and past presidents. “While the event should be a lot of fun it’ll also serve an important educational purpose,” says Dr. L.P. Badano. At this year’s meeting there will be a new emphasis on communication with an official Congress News paper that will be handed out free to all delegates, and Congress Reports, where the chairs of selected sessions will be submitting reports that will be accessible on line.
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