In response to delegate feedback, this year’s Heart Failure Congress – the annual meeting of the Heart Failure Association (HFA) of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) - is introducing many more opportunities for interactive educational sessions and audience participation.
“Delegates attending the meeting will get real insights into what’s new in heart failure,” said Professor Stefan Anker, chairperson of the Heart Failure Congress Scientific Committee. “In what’s the biggest international stand-alone meeting dedicated to heart failure, there’ll be lots of hot off the press news. The very fact that twelve late breaking clinical trial updates are being presented at the meeting demonstrates how bright the future is in heart failure.”
The meeting - which targets cardiologists (both general and those specialising in heart failure), general practitioners, nurses, technicians, basic scientists and industry representatives - expects to attract over 3,500 delegates. Professor Piotr Ponikowski, President-Elect of the HFA, said: “The congress represents an opportunity for everyone involved in the heart failure community to come together. We aim to provide the full picture on heart failure, covering everything from basic science and translational medicine to teaching health professionals about every day clinical practice.”
In what’s anticipated to be extremely lively sessions, five clinical interactive educational sessions will offer delegates the opportunity to hear international experts discuss the diagnosis and treatment of real life cases. These will cover difficult cases in chronic and acute heart failure, with further sessions on atrial fibrillation, devices and hypertension. Voting key pads will allow the audience to actively contribute to the session.
Further opportunities for interaction will be offered in the debate sessions, where delegates will hear the pros and cons of debates on whether ICDs work for heart failure patients in everyday life, whether low dose diuretics are the most appropriate strategy for treating patients with acute decompensated heart failure, whether diastolic heart failure really exists and the different points of view in the life style debate.
The listing of learning objectives for the different sessions in the scientific programme, helping delegates to decide which sessions to attend, is another innovation introduced for the first time this year. The new initiatives come as a direct response to delegates’ answers in a survey following last year’s meeting. “It shows how responsive we are to delegate suggestions and willing to make changes for an even better meeting,” said Ponikowski.
The varied programme includes separate parallel tracks on devices and technology, sessions discussing the impact of co-morbidities on outcome and clinical management, oncology and heart failure (looking at the interplay between heart failure and cancer, particularly in the context of new anti-cancer drugs) diabetes and heart failure (estimates suggest that one third of people with heart failure also have diabetes), core heart failure topics, caring for patients with heart failure and basic science translated for clinicians.
A great many opportunities have been created for delegates to present original research. In addition to the 12 late breaking clinical trials (which will be presented in oral sessions) and three late breaking research studies (presented in the Basic Science Highlight session), over 1000 abstracts that will be presented by over 700 presenters from 56 countries. One further innovation is a poster area dedicated to the late breaking research and trials to accommodate the numerous submissions in the various field of heart failure.
On Sunday four sessions will be held in German language, especially for local delegates, covering diabetes and heart failure, co-morbidities, technology and basic science. “These are really important to attract students who may feel more comfortable about attending an international meeting for the first time in their own language,” said Anker.
The congress will also offer a window on the future with the Clinical Trials Forum, where delegates will have an opportunity to learn more about ongoing trials. Additionally, a special invitation has been offered to industry giving them the opportunity to present latest developments in the pipeline session. “Such sessions are really important because they give delegates the opportunity to do some crystal ball gazing and a sense of how the future management of heart failure may pan out,” said Professor Ponikowski.
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