Highlights and snapshots from ESC Congress 2013

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French participants in the Tour de France live longer than their French counterparts of the same age, while listening to music can improve endothelial function by releasing endorphins, statins show protective effect preventing cataracts, and cold weather is by far the most important environmental trigger for heart attacks, whereas air pollution has a lesser effect.

These were among the hot topics focused on by the 500 or so members of the media at the annual congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). It drew to a close today in Amsterdam, after five days during which the emphasis was on clinical trials with immediate implications on clinical practice and future guidelines.

According to Dr. Keith Fox, chair of the ESC Scientific Programme Committee, here are some of the most important studies presented at ESC Congress 2013:

  • DECAAF: Results showed that in patients with atrial fibrillation, delayed enhancement MRI performed before ablative treatment can stage the degree of damaged heart tissue (atrial fibrosis) and help predict whether treatment will be successful or not.

  • HOKUSAI-VTE: The oral anticoagulant edoxaban for the treatment of venous thromboembolism (VTE) resulted in equal efficacy and better safety compared with standard warfarin, when either drug was used with initial low molecular weight heparin (LMWH).

  • TASTE: The aspiration of the blood clot or "thrombus" that causes a heart attack before reopening a patient's artery with a balloon catheter does not improve survival compared with performing balloon dilation and stenting alone.

  • REALIGN: Results reaffirm current guidelines excluding patients with a narrow QRS for cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), and expand the body of evidence that simple electrocardiographic determination of QRS duration remains the most important predictor of the clinical benefits of CRT, rather than measures of mechanical dyssynchrony by echocardiography. Based on the results of EchoCRT, the identification of patients who will obtain the benefit of CRT can be done most easily by a 12-lead ECG.

  • PRAMI: Heart attack patients with ST elevation who undergo a preventive procedure to unblock additional coronary arteries have significantly better outcomes than those whose treatment is confined to the culprit blockage only.

"These studies will influence clinical practice and will allow us to better understand how to manage these important conditions and how to devise even newer therapies," Fox noted.

Below we present a selection of snapshots from the congress. They are courtesy of the ESC. We hope you enjoy them.

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All images courtesy of ESC.
Close to 30,000 delegates from all over the world converged on Amsterdam for the ESC Congress 2013.
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All images courtesy of ESC.
Gymnasts and other performers entertained attendees during the main ceremony.
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All images courtesy of ESC.
A team of 25 Swiss cardiologists traveled the whole distance from their country to the ESC Congress. The aim of the Tour de Coeur was to underline the value of primary prevention in cardiovascular disease and collect money for research projects. Over six days, the team traveled more than 876 km and 5600 m of elevation. They are shown here in front of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
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All images courtesy of ESC.
More than 500 journalists attended the ESC Congress 2013. Seated on the right is Dr. Xavier Jouven, a cardiologist at l'Hôpital Européen Georges-Pompidou, Paris, who is being interviewed by cardiology journalist Chris Kaiser.
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All images courtesy of ESC.
A record number of Hot Lines and scientific sessions with new formats allowed for more exchanges between peers presenting results of clinical trials, new clinical practice guidelines and new devices and treatments, according to Dr. Keith Fox, chair of the ESC Scientific Programme Committee and professor of cardiology in Edinburgh, U.K.
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All images courtesy of ESC.
To put cardiovascular prevention messages into practice, a dedicated 5-km ESC Congress cycling lane enabled participants to cycle from the heart of Amsterdam to the RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre each day.
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All images courtesy of ESC.
Delegates were given an opportunity to brush up on their resuscitation technique.
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All images courtesy of ESC.
Traditional paper posters still have a role to play during the congress.
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All images courtesy of ESC.
Blue skies and warm temperatures were the order of the day during the event.
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All images courtesy of ESC.
Helpful ESC staff members were on hand throughout the conference.
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All images courtesy of ESC.
The impressive main stage provided a dramatic backdrop during keynote presentations.
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All images courtesy of ESC.
ESC delegates take some time out to reflect on the task in hand.
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All images courtesy of ESC.
Huge drawings of Amsterdam's famous landscape were used to engage attendees.
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All images courtesy of ESC.
The main congress dinner was a particularly grand affair.
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All images courtesy of ESC.
Social and cultural visits also were laid on throughout the week.
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All images courtesy of ESC.
Practical, interactive hands-on teaching sessions took place during the meeting.
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All images courtesy of ESC.
The giant ESC logo was never far away.
Snapshots from ESC Congress 2013
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All images courtesy of ESC.
Close to 30,000 delegates from all over the world converged on Amsterdam for the ESC Congress 2013.
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