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The world's largest heart failure congress -- Heart Failure Congress 2012

Sophia Antipolis, 20 March 2012: Four days of scientific sessions will be devoted to the latest advances and controversies in heart failure at this year's Heart Failure Congress 2012. The latest results from drugs and devices trials will be announced at the meeting.

Devices are one of the hottest topics in heart failure today and are the subject of this year's main theme, "Treatment of heart failure: integrating pharmacology and technology". Traditionally, heart failure has been treated with drugs and weight control, but the advent of novel devices including implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT), left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) and telemedicine has revolutionised the field. "Pharmacology remains a fundamental part of management but extending it to include diagnostic technology, monitoring technology, and devices for treatment and management is of key importance," says Professor Piotr Ponikowski, President of the Heart Failure Association (HFA) of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Heart failure specialists and the media will also discuss emerging developments in the field including the new class of angiotensin receptor neprilysin inhibitors (ARNIs). Twenty-five years after the landmark CONSENSUS trial showed for the first time that ACE inhibitors prolong life in patients with heart failure, this session will tackle the question, "Are ACE inhibitors still the gold standard?".

Late-breaking abstracts are always popular and a great way to get news stories. This year they will be presented in three areas: clinical trials, basic and translational research, and clinical research. Journalists can expect new data on emerging mechanisms and therapies, and the latest results from drug trials and device trials. Abstracts are being submitted until 4 April to ensure that the congress gets a pick of the best and most up-to-date research.

New this year are two rapid fire sessions in which 16 abstracts will be briefly presented with Q&As to follow, a perfect format for journalists to pick up story ideas.

Sessions will be devoted to new devices for therapy and patient monitoring and controversies over when to use CRT (for example patients with atrial fibrillation or a narrow QRS). "There are subgroups of patients where it's controversial whether the benefit is there or not," says Professor Stefan D Anker, President-Elect of the HFA. "There is a big cost argument also. These devices don't come for free and of course many want to maximise the benefits to cost ratio when the number of devices they can implant is limited."

Held during 19-22 May 2012 at the Sava Center in Belgrade, Serbia, the congress is organised by the HFA in conjunction with the European Section of the International Society for Heart Research and the ESC Working Group on Myocardial Function. The collaboration has increased the focus on translational and basic science. "When you want to develop new therapies it's always important to have interactions with basic science because you need to look for new mechanisms and new targets," says Professor Anker.

The congress promises to be a rich source of news stories for journalists. The eagerly anticipated 2012 European guidelines for heart failure will be launched by Professor John JV McMurray (Glasgow, UK) on the first day. "This is going to be the premiere of the most important and relevant recommendations for all cardiologists on how to manage heart failure," says Professor Ponikowski.

Professor Gregory YH Lip (Birmingham, UK) will launch "Thromboembolism and antithrombotic therapy for heart failure in sinus rhythm", a consensus document from the HFA which has been endorsed by the ESC Working Group on Thrombosis. The document will be simultaneously published online in the European Journal of Heart Failure. It's a great chance for journalists to cover the latest advice on the timely issue of managing thromboembolic risk.

The Heart Failure Congress attracts cardiologists, internists, general physicians, basic scientists, epidemiologists, nurses and industry affiliates. For the first time at any of the ESC congresses there is an entire track of sessions in the local language (Serbo-Croatian). The sessions are expected to boost attendance from the Western Balkans and neighbouring countries. Professor Petar M Seferovic, Scientific Chairperson of the Congress, says: "This congress will be not only a historical cardiology event in the Western Balkans countries but also a prime medical gathering in this part of Europe."


Contact: ESC Press Office
European Society of Cardiology

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