EuroEcho-Imaging 2016 brings advanced techniques to the bedside with international experts set to discuss the use of holograms and 3D printing to guide interventions. The world's largest cardiovascular imaging conference will be held 7 to 10 December in Leipzig, Germany at the Congress Centre Leipzig.
EuroEcho-Imaging is the annual meeting of the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging (EACVI), a registered branch of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). More than 3200 healthcare professionals are expected to attend from over 90 countries. The full scientific programme is available here
"Cardiovascular imaging is now an integral part of diagnosing and treating heart disease," said Professor Bernard Cosyns, Chairperson of the Scientific Programme Committee. "Nowadays, what's new is that advanced techniques like 3D echocardiography and deformation imaging are being used in clinical practice."
New frontiers in congenital heart imaging will be explored including the use of 3D imaging, where data are used to create a hologram of the heart which hovers over the patient and guides the interventional cardiologist in correcting structural abnormalities. Further developments will be highlighted in 3D printing techniques, which use 3D imaging data to create exact and patient-specific cardiac structures that are then used to plan procedures.
The two main themes of the congress are the role of imaging in arrhythmias and aortic valve diseases. Predicting the risk of life threatening arrhythmias is a hot topic and the role of new imaging techniques will be presented, including an entire session dedicated to imaging after cardiac arrest.
"In the early phase after a patient survives cardiac arrest, imaging is essential to find the cause and guide immediate treatment," said Professor Cosyns. "Imaging is also important later on to select patients who should receive a defibrillator to treat future episodes."
The role of multi-modality imaging in the evaluation of atrial fibrillation, the most common cardiac arrhythmia, will also be explored following the publication of an EACVI expert consensus earlier this year.
Degenerative valvular heart disease is increasingly common in Europe and the US due to an aging population. Aortic valve disease - which includes aortic stenosis - is the main reason for valve repair or replacement and is the focus of several sessions.
"Patients requiring a valve intervention are often older, frail, and unsuitable for surgery," said Professor Cosyns. "Fortunately we have an alternative, less invasive approach, called transcatheter aortic valve intervention (TAVI). Experts will discuss the use of imaging to guide this therapy."
The safety of cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) will be debated and the media will hear first-hand the arguments for and against the use of this imaging modality. Professor Cosyns said: "It has been suggested that CMR may lead to DNA damage. This session will also provide insights into how much irradiation using computed tomography (CCT) is safe and how often CMR can be performed without causing harm."
The controversial use of a pocket-sized echocardiography device instead of a stethoscope will be debated, giving members of the press the most up-to-date pro and contra arguments. "The pocket-sized echo device has some advantages but the danger is that cardiologists lose experience with the stethoscope," said Professor Cosyns.
During the four day meeting original science will be presented in more than 1,000 abstracts. Innovations in industry will be revealed and members of the press will learn what cardiovascular imaging products are in the pipeline that may enter clinical practice in the future.
This year's EuroEcho-Imaging Lecture will be given by Dr Partho P. Sengupta from The Mount Sinai Medical Centre in New York, who will speak about cardiac imaging in the era of precision medicine.
Professor Cosyns said: "The EuroEcho-Imaging programme is packed with new science, controversy and debate, and is the place to be to get up to speed on the fast moving field of cardiovascular imaging."
European Society of Cardiology (ESC)