Amsterdam, the Netherlands, is preparing for the arrival of more than 30,000 participants for this year’s ESC Congress. As the world’s premier meeting on the science, management and prevention of cardiovascular disease, it draws professionals with an interest in cardiology from more than 150 countries. Around 650 journalists will join cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons, nurses, primary care physicians, scientists, technicians, medical students, healthcare industry leaders and regulators at the congress venue, Amsterdam RAI, during 31 August to 4 September. In order to put prevention messages into practice, a dedicated cycling track is being created to enable cardiologists, journalists and other attendees to cycle from the heart of Amsterdam to the congress centre each day. 5,000 bicycles will be made available by the city.
This year’s congress builds on the best of 2012 and introduces some exciting new features. As in 2012, expect top quality, late breaking science in the Hot Line Sessions, Clinical Trial and Registry Updates sessions. Proposals for arranged sessions were up by about 14% this year, showing continued and increasing interest in the ESC Congress as an international forum for the latest science. Topics will be arranged in themed villages (acute cardiac care, prevention, etc). The full scientific programme will be available online in June.
This year’s Spotlight, “The heart interacting with systemic organs”, will point journalists to new stories on how different disorders link up and how patient care can be improved by taking a whole systems approach.
“In the past we have viewed diseases in isolation, but many cardiac disorders also have a systemic component,” says Professor Keith Fox, Chairperson of the ESC Congress Programme Committee. “The heart interacts with the lungs, brain, kidneys, gastrointestinal system and reproductive system.”
It marks a novel departure for the ESC, with experts from different fields set to provide the latest science and clinical information at these interfaces. For example, brain and heart interactions can lead to stroke, brain haemorrhage or have psychological impacts. Kidney injury provokes ischaemic heart disease and heart attack while heart failure causes a spiral of kidney deterioration. Professor Fox anticipates that a number of scientific abstracts will be linked to the Spotlight theme. The deadline for abstracts is 14 February, and the numbers are on track to reach last year’s figure of just over 10,000 submissions.
New linkages between clinical practice and basic science are set to be revealed to journalists and delegates under a new Science in Practice track. Key elements of basic science will be presented in the clinical villages, enabling clinicians to envisage what’s on the horizon in treatment and diagnostics and allowing basic scientists to see the potential for their findings to influence patient care.
Professor Fox says:
“It may open up new avenues for clinical studies and also new avenues for the application of basic science.”
Also new are the “Rapid Fire” abstracts which will see more science presented in a fast-paced session. Short presentations of key results and conclusions from ten abstracts in an auditorium will be followed by simultaneous break out groups to discuss interpretation and findings around plasma screens with session chairs and delegates.
“We get more science in the same amount of time but also it’s a way of drawing people interested in that particular topic together and discussing more in depth,” says Professor Fox.
Expert poster discussants are being introduced who will pose highly relevant questions and provide commentary which will give journalists new angles and background for their stories.
The Cardiologists of Tomorrow will include cardiac researchers and scientists of tomorrow for the first time under the same umbrella. To promote an early interest in cardiology, undergraduate medical students will attend the congress and post blogs and Twitter lines.
Meet the Legends is a new type of session in which world renowned figures in cardiology will discuss the current and future state of affairs in their area of expertise, and respond to questions posed beforehand and during the session. The sessions will be a great source of background and future ideas for journalists and is expected to inspire young trainees towards how they can have an impact in cardiology clinically and academically.
“The ESC Congress is really an international event. Joint sessions have been expanded to include more cardiology societies across the globe such as Japan, China, Argentina and India, to discuss the latest science and clinical practice in their region,” highlighted ESC President, Professor Panos Vardas.
Professor Vardas concludes: “The ESC Congress is the largest scientific event in the cardiovascular community. Don’t miss your chance to be at the cardiovascular event of the year and to hear firsthand the most up to date discoveries in the field.”