What’s hot at EHRA Europace 2013

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On 16 May, the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) announced that this years’ European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) Europace meeting (Athens, Greece, 23–26 June) will include late-breaking clinical trial sessions. In addition, over 1,000 original abstracts will be presented and the 2013 ESC Clinical Practice Guidelines on Cardiac Pacing and Cardiac Resyncronisation Therapy will be launched.

The biennial meeting represents- for the first time-a collaboration between the European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the ESC Working Groups on Cardiac Cellular Electrophysiology and e-Cardiology.

EHRA Scientific Programme Committee chairperson, Andreas Goette, said: “This is the first time we have ever featured late-breaking trials. Journalists will have the opportunity to hear the results of really cutting edge studies, and to learn about the new guidelines which are likely to have a tremendous impact on the European health care system.”

The new partnership between EHRA and the Working groups on Cardiac Cellular Electrophysiology and e Cardiology, he added, emphasised the multidisciplinary and translational approach currently taking place in the diagnosis and therapy of arrhythmias and conduction disturbance. “Our programme now encompasses the entire breadth of arrhythmogenesis, from cell to bedside,” he said. The meeting, which spans four days, features over 110 individual sessions, and 18 satellite symposia, is expected to receive around 6,000 clinical electrophysiologists, general cardiologists, family doctors, basic scientists, computer specialists, cath lab technicians and nurses.

Highlights of the late breaking clinical trials, to be presented on Tuesday 25 June and Wednesday 26 June, include:

  • Gap-AF – AFNET 1 trial, looking to identify whether complete electrical isolation of pulmonary veins is superior to incomplete electrical isolation in patients with drug-refractory paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF).
  • SARA trial, comparing the effectiveness and safety of catheter ablation versus anti arrhythmic drug therapy in the treatment of persistent AF.
  • PREFER in AF study that will provide a contemporary snap shot of AF management across Europe.
  • The Leipzig Heart Center AF Ablation Registry, which monitors the incidence and risk factors for thromboembolic events after catheter ablation for AF.
  • The CLEPSYDRA study, using algorithms to monitor for early signals of decompensation events in patients with heart failure.
  • RFAVT trial, which will assess mortality for patients treated with radiofrequency ablations as first line therapy without implantation of an ICD.

Altogether, a record breaking 1084 abstracts have been accepted (out of a total of 1624 submissions) to be presented at the meeting. In addition to oral abstract sessions and moderated poster sessions, new for this year will be ‘flash’ abstract presentations where related abstract topics are grouped together. “The idea here is to provide the audience with a lot of information on specific topics, like cardiac resynchronisation therapy or implantable cardioverter defibrillators, in a really short space of time. It should enable delegates to get up to speed on the latest developments quickly,” explained Goette.


The ESC Clinical Practice Guidelines on Cardiac Pacing & CRT will be presented on Tuesday 25 June. Michele Brignole, chairman of the Guideline Task Force, said, “These Guidelines, which have been mediated by a team of 70 experts, represent the synthesis of the latest knowledge and state of the art in cardiac pacing and cardiac resynchronisation therapy. They should help place all the studies that have been published over the last six years in context.”

Sessions that might form the basis for topical features include: remote monitoring of patients with ICDs; what electrophysiologists need to know about renal denervation; new technologies in the treatment of complex arrhythmias; new types of antiarrhythmic drugs for atrial fibrillation and the home monitoring of cardiac devices. Two summits, where related sessions on lead management and the cardiogenetics of arrhythmias are being brought together, will also be featured. “The idea here is that delegates can spend the day immersing themselves in these areas and getting completely updated,” explained Goette.

Other key events will include an update on the ICD for Life initiative, looking to boost prophylactic implantation of ICD’s in Eastern Europe, and an update of 10 years of the German Atrial Fibrillation Network (AFNET).