9th Heart Rhythm Congress: Most successful to date
Delegate numbers up 9% on 2013
Heart rhythm experts from across the globe met at the 9th Heart Rhythm Congress (HRC) in the UK’s biggest arrhythmia specialist event. The conference attracted healthcare professionals from across the world with an interest in heart rhythm disturbances. HRC provides education and training to promote diversity and improved technology for professionals involved in the treatment of cardiac arrhythmia patients. Held in Birmingham’s prestigious conference venue, the International Convention Centre (ICC), from 5-8 October 2014, the largest heart rhythm event held in the UK, HRC offers unrivalled opportunity for healthcare professionals, commissioners and service providers with an interest in the management of arrhythmias. Showcasing effective practice, innovation, models of implementation, latest developments, HRC offers four days of interaction, learning, networking and sharing.
Heart Rhythm Congress is also the first and only event to provide meetings and educational days dedicated to, patients, carers, nurses, physiologists, primary care, and heart rhythm specialists.
A trade exhibition runs throughout the four days with the latest technological developments from device and pharmaceutical manufacturers.
Chair of the HRC Organising Committee and Arrhythmia Alliance Founder, Trudie Lobban MBE, says that the annually held ‘Patients Day’ is a perfect way to open HRC. “We offer patient members from the charities Arrhythmia Alliance, AF Association and STARS (Syncope Trust And Reflex anoxic Seizures) the opportunity to meet experts in their respective heart rhythm field, listen and to ask questions they may not get answered elsewhere.
“Patients are better informed than ever before because of awareness campaigns by charities like Arrhythmia Alliance and the scope of the internet. Thus, healthcare professionals find they are being asked technical questions by individuals who are eager to know about advances in arrhythmia care and management. It gives physicians the chance to understand what patients are interested in, and how their care pathway could be improved.
“Our aim is to renew focus on arrhythmias in healthcare,” continues Trudie. ‘We endeavour to promote the need for discussion and shared treatment decisions. Despite their huge prevalence in the UK, awareness about arrhythmias lags significantly behind other conditions among both the public and some of the medical profession. As a consequence, often patients do not get early diagnosis, treatment and the support they should. This has a huge burden on the NHS, as well as a profound impact on countless families.
“There are many stakeholders across the patient pathway that could make a difference; from GPs and nurses in primary care, to arrhythmia specialist nurses, cardiologists and electrophysiologists. This is the fundamental premise of HRC. Together, all those involved in arrhythmia care can make a difference through education, discussion and shared best practice.”
Sessions at HRC cover general areas of interest, such as primary care and arrhythmia management, as well as more specialist areas such as the findings from specialist arrhythmia nurse-led rapid-access blackout clinics.
This year, for the first time, the sessions were live-blogged on the HRC website in order to benefit an even wider audience.
Following Sunday’s Patient meetings, EP Traces Course and BHRS Certification Course, Monday opened offering over 14 sessions, two of which were dedicated to nursing. Topics covered included discussion on risk stratification of palpitations, the medical management of arrhythmias and an overview of how to interpret basic electrocardiograms. Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (PoTS) was also a point of focus for the panel, and its diagnosis and treatment was examined by Cardiac Specialist Nurse Melloney Ferrar, who in 2012, won the Allied professional Award presented by HRC for her work.
Jayne Mudd, Consultant Specialist Arrhythmia Nurse from James Cook University Hospital (JCUH), commented: “This year’s HRC not only offered everyone continued diversity, networking possibilities and opportunity to extend their knowledge, but for the second year ran pre-exam training for all nurses and allied professionals interested in or registered to sit the British Heart Rhythm Society exam. This was an excellent opportunity to gain insight into the subjects covered in the core and clinical papers.”
The Scientific Programme for this congress continued to evolve, and the lunchtime sessions, always popular, were expanded on with the Cases & Traces sessions and Young Investigators Competition presentations. There was also a significant increase in the number of abstracts submitted from both doctors and allied professionals and a dedicated allied professionals’ abstract session was also hosted. As usual there was an impressive faculty, with a number of international speakers.
Arrhythmia Alliance Founder and Trustee, Trudie Lobban MBE, had much to praise with regards the agenda and focus in providing education to tackle issues associated with sudden cardiac death. She said: “Now in the ninth year of the congress, the event continues to grow. Abstract submissions continue to expand year on year.”
Trudie comments: “In the year of an important update to the NICE guideline on the clinical management of AF the platform to support education around treatment options remains as strong as ever before.”
The congress also featured the President’s Dinner, an event that provides an additional networking opportunity and the chance to reward those who have demonstrated key contributions in heart rhythm
research and management. This year, Dr Dhiraj Gupta took first place for the award for ‘Outstanding Individual who has Contributed to Arrhythmia Services’, Dr Umesh Roy from Leicester City CCG won the award for ‘Team of the Year’ whilst Bob Dove, a patient member of the AF Association, was awarded the ‘Charles Lobban Volunteer of the Year Award’.
The 2015 Heart Rhythm Congress will take place at the same venue, The ICC in Birmingham, on 4-7 October 2015. For more information and to register for HRC 2014, please visit www.heartrhythmcongress.org.