Preview of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2018 - European Medical Journal

Preview of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2018

7 Mins

Written by James Coker  |  Reporter, European Medical Journal  @EMJJamesCoker

The 2018 edition of the annual ESC Congress will take place in the Messe München exhibition centre in Munich, Germany from 25th–29th August. This year, the world’s largest cardiovascular congress is expected to be attended by 31,000 healthcare professionals spanning 150 countries worldwide. Here, the latest insights and findings in cardiology research and clinical practice will be presented during >500 sessions and >4,500 abstract presentations. The Congress Spotlight for this year’s congress will be ‘Valvular Heart Disease’, ensuring an emphasis on the innovative treatments, techniques, and ongoing research in this vital area. To provide a recap for those who are attending and to ensure that professionals from this field who can’t make it don’t miss out, the highlights from this prestigious occasion will be presented in the EMJ’s subsequent congress review, which will be published in the upcoming edition of the EMJ Cardiology eJournal, available on our website in October. You can subscribe here for free to receive this eJournal straight to your inbox on the day of publication!

History of the Congress

Following the official founding of the ESC in 1950, the society’s first European congress took place in London, UK, 2 years later, in September 1952. From then on, the congresses were held every 4 years until 1988, when the organisation’s General Assembly overwhelmingly voted in favour of making their showpiece event an annual affair, starting with the meeting in Vienna, Austria of that year.1 Munich has been a regular host of the congress, and last opened its doors to the event in 2012, an occasion in which there were 27,279 participants. Germany has a particularly powerful presence in the field of cardiology, as displayed in the attendance figures from last year’s congress in Barcelona, Spain; here, Germany was the most commonly represented country, with 2,148 individuals registering throughout the 5 days. The overall record attendance figure for the congress is 33,130, which occurred at the 2016 edition in London.2

Last Time Out

Last year’s ESC Congress took place within the beautiful surroundings of Barcelona from 26th–30th August 2017 and was experienced by 31,705 cardiology health professionals. During this event, time was taken to celebrate the 40-year anniversary of the first-in-human coronary angioplasty procedure performed by Andreas Grüntzig back in 1977, as well as the decades of innovation in percutaneous coronary intervention that have followed. Numerous new studies presented, relating to all aspects of cardiovascular health, formed the basis of our review of the event in last year’s EMJ Cardiology journal, which can be accessed here. These key findings included: results from the CANTOS trial revealing the effects of lowering inflammation on the risk of cardiovascular disease and lung cancer; the impact of four-risk-factor-driven upstream therapies on sinus rhythm in patients with atrial fibrillation and early mild-to-moderate heart failure; and a study outlining an exciting potential new therapy option for patients with peripheral artery disease.

Important Timings

The highly anticipated Inaugural Session will kick the event off in fine style on Saturday 25th August from 17.00–18.00, which will be immediately followed by a networking event in the ESC Plaza, providing the perfect opportunity for participants to settle into proceedings. The ESC will present four brand-new ESC Clinical Practice Guidelines over the 5 days, providing vital new assistance to cardiologists in their day-to-day work. The first of these will be the 2018 ESC/ESH Guidelines on Arterial Hypertension from 11.00–12.30 on Sunday 26th August. Next will be the 2018 ESC/EACTS Guidelines on Myocardial Revascularization, presented from 10.05–10.50 on Monday 27th August. Later that same day will be dissemination of the 2018 ESC Guidelines for CVD during Pregnancy, from 14.30–15.45. Finally, attendees will have the opportunity to hear about the 2018 ESC Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of Syncope from 08.30–10.00 on Tuesday 28th August. Additionally, the official unveiling of the expert consensus document 2018 joint ESC/ACCF/AHA/WHF Fourth Universal Definition of Myocardial Infarction is scheduled from 16.45–17.45 on Monday 27th August. These highly-anticipated sessions will each take place within the confines of the Main Auditorium.

The exhibition area will this year have some new features, including the Digital Health area, encompassing innovative solutions, technology drivers, and dedicated sessions. The exhibition will be open from 10.00–17.00 on the first 4 days of the congress (25th–28th August), providing ample time for health professionals to discover the latest products and advancements from the pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing industries.3 The EMJ will also have a stand in this area this year, so please come and say hello to our team if you get the chance!

Hot Topics

There will be a variety of scientific session types on show at the congress, including symposiums, case-based sessions, expert sessions, debates, and lectures. These formats will incorporate a plethora of topics covering all aspects of the field of cardiology, emphasising why the ESC Congress is such an important occasion. The Spotlight Topics at this year’s event will be: Valvular, Myocardial, Pericardial, Pulmonary, Congenital Heart Disease, Pediatric Cardiology; Coronary Artery Disease, Acute Coronary Syndromes, Acute Cardiac Care; Interventional Cardiology and Cardiovascular Surgery; and Aortic Disease, Peripheral Vascular Disease, and Stroke. The remaining topics will be: Preventive Cardiology, CVD in Special Populations; Nursing; Hypertension; Pharmacology; Imaging; e-Cardiology, Digital Health; Basic Science; Heart Failure; and Arrhythmias and Device Therapy.4

Social Media

For live updates and insights during the event, the best places to look will be the official ESC Twitter and Facebook accounts. Their Twitter account is @escardio while their Facebook page can be found here:

With the EMJ team in attendance preparing our subsequent review in the next edition of the EMJ Cardiology eJournal, please follow our twitter accounts @EMJReviews and @EMJCardiology and tweet us your thoughts using the hashtag #ESCCongress. Members of our team will also be present at the EMJ stand during the exhibition opening times and we will be tweeting about our experiences from there as well!

History of the City

Munich was founded in 1158 by Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria. The history of the city has been strongly influenced by war; for example, it was previously occupied by the King of Sweden, Gustavus II. Munich was made capital of the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1806, prior to the creation of a unified Germany in 1871. The city was then at the heart of many important events that shaped the modern world during the 20th Century, most notably in the build up to and aftermath of the two World Wars, becoming badly damaged during World War II. Munich was, however, extensively rebuilt, developing into a vibrant and economically successful region that attracts millions of visitors every year.5

Places to Visit

Munich is steeped in tradition and history, offering numerous places of interest to visit. If you find you have some spare time during your stay in the city for the ESC Congress, here is a selection of places you may wish to see:

Frauenkirche (The Cathedral of Our Lady): Constructed during the years of 1468–88, this stunningly beautiful building has been the main church and cathedral of southern Bavaria’s ecclesiastical provinces since the establishment of the Archbishop of Munich and Freising in 1821.6

Englischer Garten (English Garden): Covering 900 acres, this scenic park is a wonderful place to walk in, particularly during the summer months.7

BMW Museum: For those who love cars, the history of this iconic brand can be relived in the city where it all began back in 1916.8

The ESC Congress is one of the most important events in the calendars of cardiologists the world over, and the new research, insights, and collaborations that promise to emerge in this year’s edition will undoubtedly advance the field. Here at the EMJ we are determined to disseminate the highlights to the cardiology community in our subsequent review. If you are attending and have time to pop over to our stand in the exhibition area to find out more about our publication or subscribe for free, our friendly team will be happy to help!




  1. European Society of Cardiology (ESC). A brief history of the ESC. Available at: Last accessed: 26 July 2018.
  2. European Society of Cardiology (ESC). Figures from ESC Congress. Available at: Last accessed: 26 July 2018.
  3. European Society of Cardiology (ESC). ESC Congress Munich 2018. Available at: Last accessed: 26 July 2018.
  4. European Society of Cardiology (ESC). Scientific Programme by Topics & Villages. Available at: Last accessed: 26 July 2018.
  5. Discover Munich. History. Available at: Last accessed: 3 May 2018.
  6. Dearsley B. Exploring Munich’s Frauenkirche (The Cathedral of Our Lady). Available at: Last accessed: 3 May 2018.
  7. Rogers BR. 16 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Munich. Available at: Last accessed: 3 May 2018.
  8. BMW Welt. General Information. Available at: Last accessed: 3 May 2018.

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