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EUROPACE, the official congress of the European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA), is today the foremost European meeting on cardiac arrhythmias and pacing. More than 4,000 participants are expected to attend this year's event, whose two main themes are atrial fibrillation and sudden cardiac death.

EHRA is a registered branch of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). Its mission is to reduce the impact of cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death (SCD).

This year, and for the first time, the ESC and EHRA will support EUROPACE 2009 with a press programme culminating in a press conference during the congress.

The congress will be held in Berlin from 21-24 June, and we encourage you to mark the event in your 2009 agenda.

The press schedule and press conference in Berlin will pursue several themes from the EUROPACE 2009 scientific programme:

1. A campaign started with the support of the European Heart Rhythm Association to reduce the impact of sudden cardiac death. "Beat It!" aims to cut the incidence of SCD by public education and the greater availability of portable electronic defibrillators able to diagnose and treat the potentially life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias of ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia. The "Beat It!" campaign has already seen visible results in the congress's host city of Berlin, where portable defibrillators have been placed in shopping malls, theatres, and underground stations - as part of a joint initiative of the German Atrial Fibrillation Network (AFNET) and EHRA. In support of the "Beat It!" campaign, the mayor of Berlin will address the congress on the opening day (Sunday 21 June).

2. The current status of electrophysiology in Europe and what steps are needed to improve the quality of care with a more uniform treatment of arrhythmias and better prevention of sudden cardiac death.

3. This year's congress will pay attention to the incidence and risk of cardiac arrhythmias in athletes. A scientific session will consider the implications of an abnormal ECG in an athlete, and the requirement for screening to avoid sudden cardiac death. The prevalence of cardiac arrhythmias in the athlete's heat will be reviewed. A debate later in the programme will ask if ECG screening in the athlete makes sense.

4. As at the ESC Congress, EUROPACE 2009 will feature a Hot Line session (Tuesday 23 June) devoted to late-breaking news from clinical trials. The ESC's Hot Line sessions are renowned for making strong stories in medical news, and Hot Line information at EUROPACE 2009 will feature in the press conference.

This announcement will be followed by an advance press release in early June, and further press information will be made available to coincide with the press conference. In the meantime, we encourage you to mark the dates in your diary, and to contact the ESC press office for information.


Contact: ESC Press Office
European Society of Cardiology

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