European Society of Cardiology Congress 2015

The annual ESC congress arrived in London, UK, for the 2015 edition of this renowned event that remains the largest cardiology meeting in the world. London is a vibrant, metropolitan city immersed in history and was able to offer delegates a background of historic splendours alongside its more modern attractions; it proved to be a fitting host for such  a prestigious gathering.

Over 11,300 abstracts were submitted, with more than 4,500 selected for presentation to an audience of over 32,700 healthcare professionals in attendance during the 5 days. Such a wide pool of interest underlines  the ever-growing significance of revolutionary discoveries and emerging treatments across the field of cardiology, a trend that will only grow in the years ahead. The ESC President, Prof Fausto Pinto, used his address during the inaugural session to highlight the significant challenges currently facing cardiologists: “Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of death in Europe and worldwide and, despite recent decreases in mortality rates in many countries, it is still responsible  for over 4 million deaths in Europe, close to half of all the deaths, at an annual cost to the region’s economy estimated at about €200 billion.”

Despite the scale of the task ahead, there is no doubt that cardiologists  are rising to the challenges facing  them, with evidence of the brilliant  work currently being undertaken clearly evidenced during the awards  ceremony that honoured exceptional individuals in the field. The ESC Gold Medal was awarded to three cardiologists recognised for their exceptional contributions to medicine: Prof Keith Fox (UK), Prof Michel Haissaguerre (France), and  Prof Richard L. Popp (USA). The Nursing/Allied Professional Investigator Award, which aims to recognise outstanding contributions to the understanding, prevention, and treatment of cardiovascular diseases, was given to Dr Chi-Wen Chen (Taiwan) for the study ‘Health care needs in adolescents into young adults with congenital heart disease: A Delphi survey of patients, parents and healthcare providers’. The winner of the Challenging Case Report Award was Dr Enrico Ammirati (Italy) for his description of ‘Cardiac tamponade and circulatory shock due to eosinophilic myocarditis unmasking a  pulmonary adenocarcinoma’.

The theme of ESC Congress 2015 was ‘Environment and the Heart’, which aimed to highlight the many various types of relationships connecting the environment and cardiovascular diseases. Many of the presentations on display were in keeping with this concept and made for some truly fascinating insights.  One standout case was a study that investigated  the association between prolonged television viewing and fatal pulmonary embolism. Other notable  highlights included an analysis of the effect of midday naps on blood pressure, and a report describing how the presence of depressive symptoms and extremes of blood pressure can predict the occurrence of harmful vascular events in patients with existing heart disease, diabetes, or stroke.

There were also plenty of discoveries presented at  the congress that should allow for the development  of new treatment options in those with serious cardiovascular conditions, such as a study suggesting that immune cell-mediated thrombotic processes could comprise a realistic target for the treatment of stent thrombosis, following the discovery that the recruitment of leukocytes is a hallmark of the condition.

There was much on offer for cardiology professionals  at ESC Congress 2015, and hopefully the results on  show will serve to bolster the future care of patients  with cardiovascular ailments. Next year’s congress  will be held in Rome, Italy, and hopes are high that  the developments displayed in London will be further built upon in one of Europe’s most historic cities.

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