25 and 26 January in Berlin, Germany
Disability after stroke is not only due to brain injury. Discover some of the other causes, plus results from additional practice-changing research, at ESC Heart & Stroke 2019, This international conference of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Council on Stroke is endorsed by the European Stroke Organisation (ESO).
“Stroke is the main cause of adult disability and second cause of death,” said Professor Wolfram Doehner, course director of the meeting and chairperson of the ESC Council on Stroke. “Of all stroke patients, approximately one-third die, one-third have no or minor disabilities, and one-third have major disabilities, meaning inability to walk, speak or work, and being dependent on others for the rest of their life.”
Stroke and heart disease share many risk factors, including clogged arteries, high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation, so reducing the burden of stroke requires collaboration between cardiologists and stroke neurologists. The ESC created the Council on Stroke in 2016 to promote interdisciplinary dialogue and education, with the ultimate goal of improving prevention and treatment, and the long-term care of patients.
The Council’s second international conference will showcase cutting edge research, including:
- What impact does diabetes have on complications and death after stroke, and on the likelihood of a second stroke?
- Does ischaemic heart disease worsen death and disability in ischaemic stroke patients?
- What proportion of ischaemic stroke patients have undiagnosed atrial fibrillation?
The results of these and many other new studies will be presented during the meeting.
Debates on hot topics will be held, including the current and future role of interventional cardiologists in stroke treatment. Sucking out clots with catheter-based thrombectomy drastically reduces disability in stroke survivors but it is unavailable in many European countries due to a shortage of stroke specialists. Heart doctors have called for permission to provide this therapy. “This lack of access is a tragedy and all specialties involved will discuss how best to tackle the problem,” said Professor Doehner.
Stroke occurs when the brain’s blood supply is restricted, usually due to a blood clot (ischaemic stroke). The cause of one in four ischaemic strokes remains unknown (“cryptogenic”) after diagnostic tests. These strokes are now called “embolic stroke of undetermined source" (ESUS) due to an assumption that the main cause is embolic vessel occlusion. Recent studies have fuelled controversy over using anticoagulants (drugs used to prevent stroke in atrial fibrillation) to prevent recurrent stroke in patients with ESUS.
Professor Doehner said: “Key opinion leaders in cardiology and neurology will discuss the evidence from these trials and debate the appropriate clinical approach for patients with ESUS.”
Professor Matthias Endres will give a keynote lecture on the stroke–heart syndrome. “The heart and brain interaction goes both ways,” said Professor Doehner. “It is established clinical knowledge that heart problems may lead to stroke. More recently we have discovered that, in turn, stroke can lead to heart damage but there is little information on how to prevent this or what its long-term consequences are. At the meeting we will hear the most up-to-date research in this area and how clinicians can spot the signs.”
ESC Heart & Stroke 2019 will bring together scientists, clinicians and state-of-the-art research and clinical practice. Professor Doehner said: “The field of stroke-related cardiology is hot at the moment and deserves more attention. This is the event to attend for news on prevention, diagnosis, acute and chronic treatment, and rehabilitation of patients with stroke.”