Diagnosis of cardiovascular disease would be impossible without imaging. It is now becoming essential for treatment as well, as sessions dedicated to interventions highlighted during EuroEcho-Imaging 2013. "A good overall knowledge of the different imaging techniques allows clinicians to select the most appropriate strategy for individual patients," explained Prof Gilbert Habib, EACVI President Elect, from La Timone Hospital in Marseille, France.
Professor Gilbert Habib says: "The key message from this congress is that several imaging techniques are now available. We moved from an echo congress to an imaging congress including echo, but also MRI, CT and nuclear imaging."
Four days of scientific sessions, 150 individual sessions, abstract submissions up 20% from last year (1,390 individual submissions) and 3,300 delegates from 90 countries(1), EuroEcho-Imaging 2013 has become by far the largest international medical meeting addressing imaging and is once again proving a record breaking event.
The impact of imaging on the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure was one of the main themes this year. "Imaging plays an essential role in addressing heart failure, which is a real issue in Turkey. There are other areas where imaging is vital: interventional cardiology, congenital heart disease and valvular heart disease. Patients may not realise it, but they all benefit from these new imaging technologies," says Associate Professor Omac Tufekcioglu, EuroEcho-Imaging 2013 local host, from Turkey Yuksek Ihtisas Hospital in Ankara, and Chair of the Turkish Cardiac Imaging Working Group of the Turkish Society of Cardiology.
Professor Gilbert Habib says: "The main objective for the future will be to show that imaging may be of prognostic value with patients with heart failure. We are sure that the results of imaging studies will have an influence on the prognosis and treatment of patients with heart failure."
Imaging in interventional cardiology is the second theme. Recent advances in minimally invasive percutaneous interventions would not have been possible without the parallel developments in cardiac imaging, allowing precise guidance of catherers, optimisation of results and detection of complications. Says Dr Eric Brocher from Hopital Bichat, Paris, France: "Throughout the procedures it's critical that interventionalists and echocardiographers maintain a constant dialogue regarding anatomic structure and function, as well as progress. To ensure that communication is good, they need to work together on a regular basis and learn to speak the same anatomical language."
At this meeting, imaging experts will be able to go home having heard all the latest research in cardiovascular imaging for a practical day to day approach of the patient. Imaging is central to clinical decision making. EACVI President, Professor Patrizio Lancellotti, from Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Liege, Belgium says: "The patient-centered strategy often requires a multi-imaging approach to define the appropriate management and clinical decision making. Stratifying the type of exams in a dedicated patient, clearly depends on the clinical context. The added value of new technologies from each modality is indisputable."
The NORRE study that was presented at Euro-Echo Imaging 2013 was mentioned as a key study during the inaugural session. Professor Lancellotti adds: "NORRE(2) is the first European multi-centre study aiming to provide a set of normal values for echocardiography using modern technologies. It gives applicable data for clinical routine that will be swiftly implemented in all echocardiographic laboratories. This could change the life of all imaging stakeholders practicing echo routinely."
Young investigators presented their work at this meeting and were awarded for their top level quality presentations. One to standout was Dr Maja Cikes(3) from Zagreb, Hungary, presenting her study on the effect of afterload on left ventricular function, as evaluated by myocardial deformation.
The EACVI leadership was delighted to bring the congress to Istanbul which reinforces years of close collaboration with the Turkish Cardiac Imaging Working Group of the Turkish Society of Cardiology. "Istanbul is a fascinating and cosmopolitan city that totally reflects the spirit of our association" says Professor Lancellotti.
Associate Professor Tufekcioglu adds: "This year no meeting was organised by the Turkish society in order to specifically support the EUROECHO congress, so we are very closely linked." He was pleased to see that the Turkish imaging community was present in several sessions and teaching courses at the meeting: "Many of our members accept to share their knowledge and contribute to these courses. Networking aspects are very important for them too."
The inaugural session focused on the tenth anniversary of EACVI with talks from EACVI's first President Professor Fausto Pinto who is now ESC's President-Elect and Luc Piιrard, also a European imaging pioneer who took the audience through ten years of imaging history, starting with the early 2D echo days through to the most recent techniques. What will the future hold for the next ten years? Professor Lancellotti predicts that "the imaging community will most certainly grow and become influential at all different European and international levels."
Professor Habib concludes: "I will definitely ensure continuity by carrying on the fantastic work of my predecessors, particularly in the fields of education and research. The future belongs to young investigators, who represent the life blood of our EACVI organization. In the course of their careers they are likely to use a variety of imaging techniques rather than just focusing on one of them. Having a good overall knowledge of the different techniques will allow clinicians to select the most appropriate strategy for the individual patient."
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