Sophia Antipolis, 13 September 2016: A record 33,000 dedicated healthcare professionals gathered in Rome for ESC Congress 2016, sharing the latest medical advances in the fight against cardiovascular disease (CVD).
CVD is the leading cause of death around the world. It claims the lives of more than 17 million people a year. ESC President, Prof. Fausto Pinto, brought the cardiovascular summit to a close with a call to action. "Governments, public health systems, clinics, hospitals, universities, we must all recognise the urgency of this public health crisis", he said. "And a crisis is exactly what it is, and how it should be seen.”
ESC Congress 2016 featured 26 clinical Hot Line presentations, 21 Clinical Trial Updates, 4 new ESC Clinical Practice Guidelines and 4594 abstracts, “This has been one of the most comprehensive scientific programmes yet,” said Prof. Geneviève Derumeaux, Chair of the Congress Programme Committee. "This reflects the excellent scientific content submitted to our congress. Cardiologists and other health professionals continue to see ESC Congress as the place to be to keep up to date with the latest developments in cardiology and to meet experts from different fields of research from all over the world.”
“If I had to highlight one study, I would quote the DANISH trial” said Prof. Steen Dalby Kristensen, Chair of the ESC Media Committee. “This is a very important randomized study showing that not all patients with severe heart failure and normal coronary arteries benefit from implantation of a cardiac defibrillator.”
Some other notable studies presented at ESC Congress 2016 include:
- REVERSE II: a multi-national validation of a clinical decision rule to identify low risk, unprovoked venous thromboembolism patients who can discontinue anticoagulants
- CONSERVE : direct or selective catheterisation guided by coronary computed tomography (CT) the preferred choice in patients with stable suspected coronary artery disease
- PACIFIC: the first head-to-head comparison of coronary CT angiography, myocardial perfusion SPECT, PET, and hybrid imaging for diagnosis of ischaemic heart disease
- SAVE: the latest presented prevention strategies in sleep apnoea and resistant hypertension
Professor Joep Perk from Sweden, highlighted studies presented in Hot Lines press conferences. “The report from the US, comparing the effect of long-term exposure to lower LDL-C, lower SBP, or both on the risk of cardiovascular disease impacting on CVD risk below was remarkable. It showed clearly which gains there are still to be obtained in providing effective secondary prevention: the risk for yet another myocardial infarction can be lowered with up to 90%. Furthermore, apheresis as a novel treatment for refractory angina in persons with raised lipoprotein(a) may open a new treatment option for this group of angina patients.”
“The wealth of new information in the scientific programme was reflected in the very dense press programme this year,” added Prof. Steen Dalby Kristensen. “Over 600 journalists registered for ESC Congress 2016 and many more followed the congress from afar. We have had coverage from all over the world. Hot Lines are always the main focus of media attention and are reported all over the world. The ESC Congress is a great source of news for medical, financial and lay media.”
Some of the most popular news stories coming out of ESC Congress (apart from Hot Lines) this year were:
- Mediterranean Diet - The Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduced risk of death in patients with a history of cardiovascular disease Slides - Press release
- Alcohol related hospitalisation is associated with a doubled risk of ischaemic stroke risk in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation Slides - Press release
- Heart failure in the elderly is set to triple by 2060 - The study assessed the prevalence of heart failure in the elderly population and sought to predict the number of elderly people likely to have heart failure in the future Slides - Press release
At the ESC General Assembly held during the Congress, the ESC Presidency was transferred from Professor Fausto Pinto to Professor Jeroen Bax of the Netherlands.
With Professor Bax beginning his term of office, it was formally announced that the next ESC President-Elect would be Professor Barbara Casadei from the United Kingdom. Professor Casadei has been involved with the European Society of Cardiology for several years, most recently holding the position of Vice President for Scientific Affairs.
The closing of ESC Congress 2016 was marked by an historic visit by His Holiness Pope Francis to recognise the significant efforts of the ESC and medical professionals worldwide to advance prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.
“You look after the heart,” His Holiness told the cardiologists. “How much symbolism is enshrined in this word! How many hopes are contained in this human organ! In your hands you hold the beating core of the human body, and as such your responsibility is very great!”
Pope Francis added: “The Magisterium of the Church has always affirmed the importance of scientific research for human life and health. The Church not only accompanies you along this demanding path, but also promotes your cause and wishes to support you.”