For the first time since 2020, EuroPCR welcomed over 700 colleagues to an in-person congress in Paris, France. Paris, often referred to as La Ville Lumière (the City of Light), has been home to several scientists and innovators since the 17th century.
In an emotional opening, the congress committee shared how special it was to be reunited after 3 difficult years, and how this new hybrid format would enable healthcare professionals around the world to be illuminated by innovative ideas in interventional cardiology. The committee referred to the congress as a “spark” of driving new ideas, knowledge, and change, which tied in nicely with this year’s theme of innovation.
This year’s congress received an impressive 578 abstract submissions from participants across 53 countries, ranging from Mexico to Hong Kong. There were several pioneering posters, symposiums, and abstract sessions to attend, detailing the management of patients, results from clinical trials, and advances in surgical procedures.
Fortunately, for those who missed this year’s EuroPCR conference, sessions are on-demand for members until 20th August 2022. Additionally, key highlights, abstract summaries, and congress interviews are featured in this year’s EMJ interventional cardiology eJournal, alongside peer-reviewed articles from renowned scientists around the globe.
Topics from the congress covered the economic and societal burdens of the pandemic, as well as local and national strategies implemented to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Highlights discuss cardiovascular care in a post-pandemic world, management of hypertension, emerging data on renal denervation, and much more.
EuroPCR wanted to celebrate those who ignite change, which drives the field of interventional cardiology forward. The president of EuroPCR announced with pride: “This year is a year of anniversaries and celebrations.”
During the pandemic, the importance of nurses and allied healthcare professionals (NAP) came to light. At the start of the pandemic, Lynne Hinterbuchner, a cardiology nurse, revealed that she experienced anger from patients due to cancelled appointments; however, this soon shifted, and “one positive [from the pandemic] is that everyone has begun to see how important nurses are.”
Therefore, in recognition of NAPs’ outstanding contributions to interventional cardiology, the Andreas Grüntzig Ethica Award was awarded to NAPs, and Hinterbuchner received this award on behalf of other NAPs around the world.
The welcoming ceremony also celebrated leading innovators in interventional cardiology, namely Alain Cribier, Professor of Medicine and Director of Cardiology, University of Rouen’s Charles Nicolle Hospital, France, and Ferdinand Kiemeneij, an interventional cardiologist in Bussum, the Netherlands.
Cribier celebrates 20 years since performing the first transcatheter aortic valve implantation. He now focuses on travelling the world to teach people the procedure and improve patient lives. Cribier enlightened the audience by sharing three valuable pieces of advice for young cardiologists: put your patients first, think analytically about a challenging case, and finally, learn from complications.
Kiemeneij is often referred to as the father of transradial intervention, a procedure which is now celebrating its 30th anniversary.
Celebrating the past leads to considerations about the future, the congress committee invited three futurists in interventional cardiology to the stage to discuss their visions for the field going forward. The speakers noted that although we have digital platforms that are open access to many people, there is still a lot to be done since access to these training platforms is limited, and developing countries continue to fall behind.
Technology is an important driver of innovation because it allows effective, quick, and concise communication. The speakers discussed how patients require healthcare professionals to innovate, and interventional cardiology is the therapy area leading the way with regard to innovation. The future of teaching could include simulation-based learning and labs, spreading technological resources, and increasing the breadth of knowledge to help drive change.
To end this long-awaited reunion of colleagues, the committee asked the audience to turn on their phone torches to shine a light on the future of interventional cardiology.
We look forward to attending next year’s EuroPCR congress in Paris; however, for now, please enjoy our highlights and review of this year’s congress.
Grasping the Economic and Society Weight of COVID-19 Pandemic in Cardiology
We CARE, a joint initiative of PCR and Stent- Save a Life, that was launched at the European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions (EuroPCR) in 2021 presented their first study at the EuroPCR Congress, which took place on 17th–20th May 2022, covering a UK investigation on the health economy in the long-term consequences and cost for ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Several national studies were carried out by We CARE, including various countries such as Spain, Sweden, the UK, and USA. The UK study was the first to be presented in the EuroPCR 2022 and discussed the effects of the March–April 2020 lockdown on the STEMI population and compared with the pre-lockdown population.
According to the UK study, the findings showed that reduced care in affected patients leads to a significant societal burden. Mattia Lunardi, Department of Cardiology, Galway University Hospital, Ireland, one of the study authors stated that a lot of the patients were scared of going to the hospitals during the lockdown period, despite the severity of their conditions. The government urged people to stay at home and this increased hesitation of going to hospitals, which meant fewer interventions took place during this period and resulted in increased mortality rates and a substantial increase in heart failure cases. In terms of financial burden in the UK, the study found that the healthcare cost has risen due to the medical complications that further worsened due to the lockdown. The quality of life was considerably lower and furthermore, Lunardi said: “An average loss of 1.86 years of survival for a patient having a STEMI during the first month of lockdown, compared with pre-lockdown”.
We CARE confirmed that they are working to prevent and reduce the impact of the pandemic and any other future risks. The next Phase II of the project is to create a progressive network, with evidence-based approaches, that will allow the healthcare system to rebuild trust with patients suffering from cardiac conditions. Phase III of the We CARE initiative is to build relationships between local and international foundations with other stakeholders to improve cardiovascular specialty on a comprehensive level.
EuroPCR 2022: An Innovative Blended Event
A PIONEERING hybrid format was adopted for this year’s EuroPCR, allowing delegates to meet onsite in Paris, France, and online. The conference was notable for its global outreach, with over 750 presenters from 78 different countries. Furthermore, as of 27th April, 107 countries were represented by course participants.
A key element of the 2022 congress was the opportunity for simulation-based learning, covering antegrade chronic total occlusion strategies, image-guided bifurcation stenting, and transseptal puncture for mitral interventions. Leading experts also provided demonstrations of techniques such as robotic percutaneous coronary intervention and transcatheter mitral edge interventions directly from the cardiac catheterisation laboratory. The focus on advances in clinical practice and cardiovascular interventions ensured that patient care was at the centre of EuroPCR 2022.
The 2022 meeting offered a fully blended experience. Participants were encouraged to share comments and ask questions during live-streamed sessions. This was complemented by a new digital channel (EuroPCR+), which broadcast live news, discussions, and interviews, with repeat broadcasts 24 hours a day. This not only meant participants received scientific insights into important topics, but was also key to promoting discussion and the exchange of knowledge.
The theme of EuroPCR 2022 was ‘Let’s celebrate’. Of course, EuroPCR was celebrating being back in Paris, in-person, for the first time in 3 years. However, there were also a number of noteworthy anniversaries to commemorate. These included 20 years since the first transcatheter aortic valve implantation was performed by Alain Cribier at the Charles Nicolle University Hospital in Rouen, France, and 30 years since Ferdinand Kiemeneij performed the first successful transradial coronary angioplasty procedure at Onze Lieve Vrouw Gasthuis in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
New Study Data on Renal Denervation to Treat Hypotension
PRESENTATIONS at EuroPCR 2022 shared data and results from three ongoing clinical trials that contribute to ongoing efforts to develop effective device-based treatments using renal denervation (RDN). Despite a plethora of safe and effective drugs available, treatment adherence remains a significant concern for hypotension management in 2022. Reporting on data from three ongoing trials, SPYRAL-HTM On MED, RADIANCE-HTN SOLO, and TIOA aimed to help refine approaches to RDN and widen its adoption.
The global registry study, Global SYMPLICITY Registry, reported 3-year results on the safety and efficacy of RDN in real world patients with uncontrolled hypotension. By using a time in target range (TTR) analysis, researchers were able to estimate the proportion of time that patients achieve an ideal blood pressure and the relationship this has with death, myocardial infarction, and stroke, which as major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE). A 10% increase in TTR for 12 months was associated with decreased risk of a MACE in the next 24 months. The global registry found that patients with radiofrequency RDN spent a greater amount of time in TTR reducing MACE risk.
Secondly, an update from the SPYRAL-HTN ON MED trial was shared. Though patients who underwent RDN were shown to have lower blood pressure compared with a control group, the effect on blood pressure burden overtime was not well understood. Comparing TTR analysis over years of control and patients who had been treated with RDN demonstrated that RDN groups had significantly increased TTR, affirming the sustained efficacy of RDN long-term.
Data shared from the RADIANCE-HTN SOLO and RADIANCE-HTN TRIO trials. Explored responses to ultrasound RDN in drug resistant populations and in populations with mild to moderate hypertension. The pooled analysis suggested that response to ultrasound RDN in the presence or absence of medications is similar and consistent across the spectrum of severity of hypertension.
The emerging long-term data shared was positive and the promise of an effective treatment using RDN offers one way to tackle the challenge of adherence to hypotension management.
The Andreas Grüntzig Ethica Award 2022: The Nursing and Allied Professionals Community
The Andreas Grüntzig Ethica Award represents the highest honour in the field of interventional cardiology. This year’s award was presented to the nursing and allied professionals (NAP) community at the EuroPCR 2022 congress, which took place from 16th–19th May in Paris, France.
Taking place in the renowned Studio Havane of the Palais des Congrès Porte Maillot, Paris, France, the award ceremony was centred around the core values of EuroPCR. The continued proficiency and presence that NAPs provide to patients has been an essential cog in the advancement of modern interventional cardiology. Only emphasised by the COVID-19 pandemic, NAPs epitomise the fundamental EuroPCR principles of ‘together we do more’, displaying the importance of patient interaction and support to the multidisciplinary team.
Traditionally awarded to one or two individuals, the presentation of Andreas Grüntzig Ethica Award to the entire NAP community aims to not only commend and recognise their dedication, but also to draw attention to the need for further investment in their training and quality of life. Lynne Hinterbuchner, chair of the EAPCI NAPs Committee and Association of Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied Professions (ACNAP) Education Committee noted: “I think there is an unspoken acknowledgement of how much NAPs do and how they step up to meet each and every challenge, but this award is the first time that someone has said: ‘We’re really proud of you and want to recognise that you’ve done something very well.’” The breadth of NAP work that has supported the global and holistic vision of healthcare, emphasising the key role of patient advocacy and patient care management from diagnosis to discharge.