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International prevention experts converge on Dublin to focus on heart disease

EuroPRevent 2012, the premier international forum for preventive cardiology

Risk Factors and Prevention

3 to 5 May 2012 at the Convention Centre, Dublin, Ireland

Sophia Antipolis, 5 March 2012:
Each  year over 4.3 million people in Europe will die of  cardiovascular disease (CVD), yet many of these deaths might have been prevented through the widespread adoption of simple interventions such as  smoking cessation, weight loss, improved diets and increased exercise.  At EuroPRevent2012 the latest studies on lifestyle interventions will be presented, together with cutting-edge research on sports medicine, cardiac rehabilitation, population science, health policy and basic and translational science. The new European Guidelines on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Clinical Practice (version 2012) will also be announced at this meeting.

“Delegates will find themselves right at the sharp end of prevention. With CVD representing the biggest overall cause of death in Europe, it’s essential that everyone is brought up to speed with the latest research,” says Professor Volker Adams, co-chairperson of the EuroPRevent Congress Programme Committee.

“It’s increasingly recognised that drugs and interventions alone, while impressive, only offer a salvage approach to CVD.  The most effective way forward to bring mortality down is through widespread adoption of prevention initiatives,” adds Professor Ian Graham, co-chairperson of the Programme Committee and local organiser of the meeting.  He stressed that the meeting isn’t just for doctors -“it will be highly relevant to all health care professionals and health planners as well as having messages of public interest”.

EuroPRevent2012, which expects to attract over 1,200 delegates, has been organised by the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation (EACPR), a registered branch of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).  EuroPRevent2012, which represents the largest cardiovascular prevention conference in Europe, has been designed to cater for cardiologists, family doctors, nurses, allied professionals (such as dieticians), sports scientists, psychologists, health planners and politicians.

Overall 46 symposia will be held over three days in four parallel sessions, with highlights such as telemedicine in cardiac rehabilitation and prevention, new facts on the obesity challenge (including what works in real life weight loss), the latest data on fish intake in primary prevention, the impact of arterial stiffness for cardiovascular prevention, and the role of heart rate in prognosis.

The importance of hypertension, a condition affecting one in four adults in Europe, is underlined by the interactive master class on hypertension, lasting all day Thursday 3 May.  The programme covers the state of art in hypertension management, with hot topics including new treatment strategies,  how to select the right drug for the right patient, advances in stroke prevention management, optimal blood pressure goals for the brain, heart and kidney,  and the link between hypertension and atrial fibrillation. “Controlling hypertension represents one of the most fundamental aspects of prevention because it’s the cause of so many cardiovascular diseases, including coronary artery disease (CAD), stroke, and heart failure,” says Adams, from the University of Leipzig, Germany.

Altogether over 500 abstracts have been selected for presentation, with news worthy studies for the media to watch out for including:

  • A study of nearly 24,000 men and women showing definitively that regular jogging translates into increased life expectancy.
  • A study revealing that the menopause transition period in female smokers represents the most critical period for damage to the arteries.
  • A study showing that respiratory muscle training in patients who have suffered myocardial infarction improves both physical capacity and health related quality of life.
  • A study showing how introducing SMS automated motion sensor monitoring of CAD patients increases daily activity.
  • A study exploring whether resting heart rate measurements can predict coronary heart disease.

Of particular note for the Irish media is “Ireland Day", organised in conjunction with the Irish Heart Foundation that will focus specifically on health prevention policy in Ireland. The sessions, which will be held on Thursday 3 May, will provide the latest update on mortality and morbidity patterns, an overview of Irish risk factors, and the status of health promotion and prevention in Ireland.  The day is scheduled to end with an address from Roisin Shorthall, the Irish Minister for Primary Care, and a call for action from the Irish Heart Foundation to raise the profile of CVD prevention initiatives in Ireland.

The symposium “New guidelines for preventing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease: East meets West”, taking place on Friday 4 May, will explore common ground between Japanese and European guidelines. This session, says Professor Pantaleo Giannuzzi, the EACPR President, is of major significance for EACPR since it marks the start of the association’s new global approach to prevention.  “We believe that the educational programmes developed by EACPR have the potential to be of value to countries all over the world. With our new “Reach Out Task Force” we want to spread the word beyond Europe,” says Giannuzzi, from the Istituto Scientifico di Veruno, Italy. 

The Task Force, adds Giannuzzi, is just one of a number of exciting new initiatives from EACPR, including the upcoming launch of a textbook on preventive cardiology, educational courses and position statements. “The real dynamism of EACPR is illustrated by the fact that in the past year our membership has swelled by 600 to a record 2,800 members. Such numbers reflect our growing importance in the field of prevention,” says Giannuzzi.

EuroPRevent2012 is taking place at Europe’s newest convention centre situated besides the river in central Dublin, and within walking distance of Trinity College, Dublin Castle, museums, art galleries and other local attractions. This is in keeping with the meeting’s major emphasis on getting all delegates active, with 100 bikes stationed outside the congress centre, heart healthy walking maps and T’ai Chi sessions held in the main lobby.

ESC Prevention Clinical Practice Guidelines take centre stage

For the first time ESC Guidelines are being launched at a sub-specialty cardiology meeting, as opposed to the more usual annual ESC Congress meeting. “Launching guidelines at EuroPRevent2012 provides a real opportunity for delegates to explore them in detail, with plenty of scope for wide ranging discussions,” says Adams.

In the latest guidelines, which will be presented at the meeting on Friday 4 May, the ESC has for the first time introduced a double grading system, where in addition to the normal approach to grading they provide easy to follow advice.
“The guidelines will explicitly state whether you should do something, should probably do something, should probably not do something or should definitely not do something,” explains Graham, from Trinity College, Dublin.

This is in contrast to the traditional approach for grading the quality of evidence that gives predominance to randomised controlled trials (RCTs). “The problem here is that drug trials will always outscore lifestyle measures  because it’s easy to randomise trials of cholesterol and blood pressure drugs but hard to do RCTs of smoking cessation or other lifestyle changes,” says Graham.

Greater emphasis has also been placed on making guidelines more concise and simple to understand, with special sessions for GPs and practice nurses. “Prevention represents something that the public can take control of for themselves, making it really important to get the new guidelines out to as many people as possible, not just health care professionals,” says Graham, from Trinity College, Dublin.

To help spread the word the EACPR has appointed over 50 national coordinators from different European countries.  “The ethos underpinning our approach is the recognition that guidelines offer little lasting value without putting strategies in place for wide spread implementation,” says Graham.
Training sessions will be held at EuroPRevent2012 to teach national coordinators how to engage with politicians, the profession and public, with a special focus on how to undertake a stakeholder analysis to identify both their allies and who might impede progress. 

To help health professionals get up to speed on the guidelines a new online interactive learning tool will be launched at the meeting. The programme, intended for cardiologists, GPs, nurses, dieticians and medical students, will cover the broad content of the guidelines, case histories, and questions.   

Notes to editor

About EuroPRevent
EuroPRevent2012 is the annual meeting of the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation (EACPR), a registered branch of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
EuroPRevent2012 takes place 3 to 5 May 2012 at the Convention Centre, Dublin - Ireland
The full scientific programme is accessible here.

About EuroPRevent 2012 press registration
Free press registration is conducted online via "My ESC" supported by presentation of a press card or letter of assignment with proof of three published articles together with the filled in and signed embargo form. 
Online registration is now open. 
On-site registration opens at 15:00 on 2 May.

Interviews can be arranged through the ESC press office before the event:
+33 (0)4 92 94 8627

The mission of the EACPR is to promote excellence in research, practice, education and policy in cardiovascular prevention and rehabilitation in Europe.

About the ESC
The ESC represents more than 71,200 cardiology professionals across Europe and the Mediterranean. Its mission is to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in Europe.