Amsterdam Hosts ESC 2023 After Yielding to COVID in 2020

August 04, 2023

Updated August 21 Lively and historic Amsterdam's forthcoming turn as host to the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2023 should go a long way toward righting at least one of the pandemic's countless wrongs.

The city was most recently on annual meeting's rotation in 2020, but ultimately missed out in the year SARS-CoV-2 upended the world and forced the largest medical conferences out of convention halls and into cyberspace.

But ESC-2023 will offer both options as it fills Amsterdam's RAI Exhibition and Congress Centre on August 25 to 28 with a panoply of sessions, 106 of them livestreamed, on the latest cardiology research, controversies, and discussion of social and economic issues affecting clinical practice.

In addition to the meeting's 77 oral abstract sessions and hundreds of moderated ePoster stations, five sessions will be dedicated to four new ESC clinical practice guidelines and a focused update to a prominent guideline from 2 years ago.

Eleven other sessions during the meeting will illustrate and scrutinize the guidelines' relevance to practice.

The new documents cover management of acute coronary syndromes, cardiomyopathies, endocarditis, and patients with diabetes, and, in the focused update, acute and chronic heart failure (HF). A 90-minute guidelines-overview session featuring highlights of all five documents is slated for Day 1 of the Congress.

Few areas of cardiology therapeutics have moved faster than HF in the past few years. Indeed, the HF focused update and its supplementary session scheduled for August 26 and 27, respectively, exemplify one of the conference's main themes.

"The spotlight of the congress is heart failure, still the consequence of many of the problems we try to prevent or treat in cardiology, and indeed the cause of many," this year's program committee chair, John J.V. McMurray, MB ChB, MD, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom, told | Medscape Cardiology.

The HF focused update, he said, "reflects the exciting developments in heart failure treatment over the past couple of years."

One of those developments is likely to be the emergence of SGLT2 inhibitors as a new option for HF with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), as established by the EMPEROR-Preserved trial. That study, the first solid drug-therapy win in a major randomized HFpEF outcomes trial, was unveiled in its entirety at the 2021 ESC congress — too late to be considered for the society's new HF guidelines showcased at the same meeting.

The 18 sessions in the conference's Great Debates series, conducted and livestreamed across the 4 days, present explorations of contemporary, sometimes divisive questions, including:

The meeting's Hot Line and Late-Breaking Science and Trial Update sessions will feature presentations on randomized trials, observational studies, and other research specially selected by committee for the highest-profile positions on the schedule.

Prominent among the Hot Lines' HF trials, McMurray said, is HEART-FID, a test of intravenous iron in HF with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) and iron deficiency. Intravenous iron in such cases, he noted, "seems to improve symptoms and exercise tolerance." However, earlier trials "have left some uncertainty about the effects of this therapy on hospitalization and mortality. HEART-FID is by far the largest trial to date using this treatment and should help answer this question."

Also, the NOAH-AFNET-6 study "attempts to answer the very important clinical question of whether we should use anticoagulant therapy in patients with brief episodes of atrial fibrillation," McMurray said, "a question that comes up almost every day."

He also highlighted ILLUMEN-4, a comparison of optical coherence tomography (OCT) and standard angiography that is one of four OCT presentations in an August 27 Hot Line session.

And, he said, "I'm proud that we have what I believe is the largest-ever randomized mortality/morbidity trial with traditional Chinese medicine in heart failure. That HFrEF study, the QUEST trial, is scheduled for an August 26 Hot Line.

All nine Hot Line presentations are to be streamed live and, per tradition, will conclude with a few minutes of panel discussion and critique from an invited discussant:

Hot Line 1, August 25

Hot Line 2, August 26

Hot Line 3, August 26

Hot Line 4, August 27

Hot Line 5, August 27

Hot Line 6, August 27

Hot Line 7, August 28

Hot Line 8, August 28

Hot Line 9, August 28

European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2023.

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