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Historic levels of attendance at this year’s PCR London Valves meeting

London, 2 October 2014: PCR London Valves 2014, which ended last Tuesday, had record levels of participation with over 2,000 specialists attending from throughout Europe and internationally. PCR London Valves 2015 will take place in Berlin, Germany, 13-15 September 2015.
Valvular Heart Disease

With 2,018 participants – an increase of more than 20% over last year –– the 5th annual meeting of PCR London Valves ended on Tuesday clearly demonstrating the high levels of interest and enthusiasm for this specialized course focusing on evolving clinical solutions to Heart Valve disease. Seduced by the quality of scientific content, the excellence of the educational experience and the ability to exchange experience with valve and imaging experts from throughout the world, attendees spent three days participating in seminars, interactive learning sessions and live cases from St Thomas’ Hospital in London, UK; Bern Hospital in Bern, Switzerland and the Heart Centre, in Bonn, Germany.

PCR London Valves, co-directed by Martyn Thomas (UK) and Stephan Windecker (Switzerland), is an official course of the European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions (EAPCI), a specialty association under the umbrella of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). Focussing on evolving techniques, indications and issues in the treatment of valvular disease, PCR London Valves offers practical as well as theoretical information to the specialist for their daily clinical practice.

Imaging techniques are now seen as increasingly critical for the planning and execution of interventional procedures, and this year a new feature was created to accent this: a dedicated day, before the main sessions began, entitled “The Imaging Sunday”. International imaging experts addressed various aspects of imaging including the importance of the Heart Team concept, as well as the uses of imaging in patient selection, procedure planning, device sizing and selection.

Another new feature of this year’s meeting was the “Great Valve Debate” on “Does the improvement of TAVI outcomes justify treatment of low-risk patients?” Before a standing room only audience, on a topic chosen by the interventional community in an online poll earlier this year, this debate saw a spontaneous, open and honest discussion on the evolution in the clinical use of transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI). The expert panel composed of surgeons and interventional cardiologists, debated future indications and protocols in the use of the now widely accepted TAVI procedures. With an increasing number of CE marked TAVI valves currently used in Europe, and TAVI itself an acknowledged clinical option, this discussion, along with the wide participation of the audience, will have implications for the practice of TAVI for years to come.

More than in earlier years, PCR London Valves 2014 concentrated on all valves, not simply the aortic valve. Renewed attention was seen in what was characterized by Martyn Thomas as the “forgotten valve”, the tricuspid valve. Specific attention was also given to emerging and pioneering work on mitral valves, an evolution in technique and knowledge qualified by Francesco Maisano (Switzerland) in his keynote lecture as both “rapid” and within the continuity of valve treatment over the last decades. With several successful experimental cases of mitral replacement performed during the last few months, this lecture drew a very large audience, a striking change from earlier years, when interest in interventional mitral repair and replacement attracted a much smaller group of committed specialists.

Faced with the ever enlarging focus on various structures of the heart, with the evolution in imaging which now allows for increasingly precise sizing and planning of interventions, of the widening acceptance of the Heart Team concept, with the increasing availability of CE mark approved devices, Martyn Thomas remarked that “while a lot has been accomplished, there is still so much for us to do and understand”.  To help the physician meet the challenges posed by these various and rapid changes in knowledge and practice as they impact their daily practice, the PCR Family of courses and educational tools, has developed a series of specially designed apps –– online and for the iPad –– to accompany the specialist in their day-to-day work. PCR London Valves 2014 was no exception to this offering and saw the release of the “PCR Valve Atlas”, an interactive iPad application designed by specialists for specialists.

The constant evolution continues, this year marks the departure from the PCR London Valves of course Co-Director, Martyn Thomas. It was his pioneering vision which saw the creation of a dedicated valve course many years ago, and the overwhelming turnout at this year’s edition of PCR London Valves is fitting proof of the success of his idea.

The 6th edition of PCR London Valves 2015 will take place in Berlin, Germany, 13-15 September 2015. William Wijns, Chairman of PCR said that “taking PCR London Valves on the road will allow us, among other things, to celebrate the ongoing contribution of Germany in interventional cardiology”.

Notes to editor