Highlights EHRA EUROPACE-CARDIOSTIM 2015: Interview with Michael Glikson


Michael Glikson (director of Davidai Arrhythmia Center, Heart Center, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel), vice-chairperson scientific programme for EHRA EUROPACE-CARDIOSTIM 2015, talks to Cardiac Rhythm News about the highlights of this years’ congress.

Could you please summarise the highlights for this year’s EHRA EUROPACE-CARDIOSTIM meeting?

We have seen a lot of progress in the cardiac rhythm field over the last few years and new data and technologies were reviewed at EHRA-EUROPACE CARDIOSTIM 2015. In addition to traditional knowledge, some talks were devoted to new basic science. New mapping techniques for atrial fibrillation (AF) and ventricular tachycardia (VT) ablation were explored as well as new pacing technology such as leadless pacing and pacing algorithms for syncope. We also heard talks about implantable and wearable monitoring for atrial fibrillation, new implantable devices for heart failure and the subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). Multiple talks and discussions dealt with the use of novel oral anticoagulants.

Additionally, new EHRA Scientific documents were presented including: left atrial appendage occlusion, arrhythmias in acute coronary syndrome, VT, patient preferences, atrial cardiomyopathy syncope units, CKD and optimal ICD programming.

Two pioneers in the field Professor Guenther Breithardt and Professor Melvin Scheinman gave the two honorary lectures this year. They focused on atrial fibrillation and arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia, which are entities that have witnessed a lot of changes over the last few decades.

We also had a live session transmitted from two hospitals in Milan. Prof Paolo Della Bella’s team performed VT ablation and implantation of left atrial occluder and Prof Maurizio Gasparini’s group demonstrated cardiac resynchronisation therapy implantation and a case of AF ablation. All went extremely well with excellent results.

It is also important to highlight that we have adopted a new way of presenting abstracts this year. They were presented briefly in an open agora and were available for extensive discussions with the speakers on nearby computer screens right after the sessions. This enabled hundreds of excellent abstracts to be presented in an efficient and friendly way. Fifty best abstracts were presented during the opening reception and throughout the meeting. They covered all aspects of clinical pacing and electrophysiology as well as basic science.

Two innovation awards were given, one for the industry and one for individual inventors.

We also started this year a new track of associated professional sessions that drew a lot of attention and participants from various countries. Special sessions were also dedicated to young electrophysiologists, to women in electrophysiology and to arrhythmias in children and adults with congenital heart disease.

Are there any studies or abstracts presented that you would like to highlight?

Selected late-breaking clinical trials included a study on the management of syncope in the elderly with reflex syncope, also the ENHANCED ICD trial, which looked at a new way of programming ICDs to prevent shocks that used extremely long detection intervals. Additionally, there was a study with data on sex specific survival following cardiovascular implantable electronic device implantation. The CARDIO-FIT trial, which shows the association between fitness and recurrence of AF, was also presented and the Micra study on leadless pacing.

Multiple posters and oral abstracts were presented with several winning best abstract awards and best abstracts award for young investigators. All can be viewed on the EHRA’s website.

What are the key questions that still need to be answered in the field?

In cardiac rhythm management, there are several issues that we are still dealing with these days. Regarding atrial fibrillation, for example, the exploration of new technologies for atrial fibrillation ablation is an important subject of research. Another important topic is to concentrate on monitoring and the early detection of atrial fibrillation whether it is by sophisticated monitoring or by simple pulse measurements by the physicians. Novel oral anticoagulants are also a major topic at this meeting and it has been over the last few years. They were developed to solve a lot of problems that existed with the old anticoagulants; however, they are also creating new issues and we are trying to deal with many of these. There is a new consensus document from EHRA giving an update about novel oral anticoagulants.

What should we expect from the next EHRA’s congress?

We are going to put more emphasis on innovations. We will probably include more in the next meeting. One of EHRA’s aims is to encourage new ideas and to facilitate the communication between industry and researchers.