EuroPCR 2017: weaving the fabric of our speciality from 40 years of balloon angioplasty to the future
Dear colleague, dear companion, we wish each of you a warm Welcome home.
The beginning of a meeting is both a joyous and solemn occasion. A vital link has been created that draws us all together, making each one of us active players in an endeavour which grows, matures and advances by the participation of all.
Can we imagine what our professional world would be like today if this did not happen? If our teachers, our pioneers, our inventors had not been there with us? If we did not have the collaboration of visionary engineers, investors, and industry, all sharing the vision of our best clinicians?
Where would we be today if the physicians who came before us had not had the insight to seek new, patient-centred approaches—in our case an endovascular one—to constantly improve the care we offer our patients?
What about the patients themselves who have given us their trust, and who have been open to the new procedures we propose? Where would we be if we were working alone?
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the first angioplasty by Andreas Grüntzig. This visionary knew perhaps more than anyone how dependant we are on others… but he also knew that there is a moment when we have to trust ourselves and our own instincts and abilities to act as an individual. This confidence is based on a foundation we construct together and is one of the roles of continuing medical education. For a Course like EuroPCR, one of our key missions is to create an environment where we can all succeed as individuals and as a group, conscious of our responsibilities to both and regardless of where we come from or whether we are interventional cardiologists, cardiologists in general or across all specialities and health professions.
EuroPCR brings together community initiatives
From the beginning, PCR and EuroPCR in particular have been designed to offer a supportive platform that facilitates the exchange of knowledge, learning opportunities and networking between communities. The Course acts as an umbrella for several meetings within the meeting itself; allowing each community of interest to keep its own individual identity, thus reaffirming the nature and complexity of each activity without being diluted into the more general nature of the Course as a whole. While, at first glance, EuroPCR might appear as a large event hosting a critical mass of information, by careful coordination and planning we create an almost familial atmosphere, encouraging intense interaction and quality communication between peers taking place within dedicated interventional tracks covering topics such as coronary, valvular and structural, stroke, heart failure, peripheral, and hypertension.
Besides specific clinical interests, dedicated platforms are offered for the “young” or for the research and innovation communities. These platforms allow for both interest-specific sessions and help guide participants, pointing to how their interests are woven into other sessions and aspects throughout the Course.
PCR Innovators’ Day looks at the nature and mechanism of very early innovation—up to but not beyond First-In-Man. It brings together all the various stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem, allowing them to explore and better understand the issues they face today in our fast-changing environment. The goal is not only to allow networking, but to help prevent “innovation fatigue” and encourage valid and vibrant development of novel device-based therapies. Members of this community will also meet throughout the week at Hot Line or Late Breaking Trial sessions as well as during the PCR Clinical Research Course. This last programme, taking place on Thursday, offers training modules investigating the structure of clinical research, observing how we move from idea to innovation, and from innovation to patient care.
In addition to these sessions and platforms, our industry partners complement the educational programme with a rare synergy. An example of this is the Training Village, an exciting place of exchange between users and designers, physicians and engineers, and a valuable moment to share clinical and practical experience that has become an increasingly popular destination during the Course.
We have been each other’s companions for 40 years!
We spoke earlier about Andreas Grüntzig—this is the 40th anniversary of the first angioplasty and his name will be mentioned many times again—however, it would be a disservice to his memory and to ourselves if we allow this to become a simple exercise in nostalgia. The work of Andreas Grüntzig and the other pioneers in our field offer us a still evolving story, a continuation of the past that can guide us and be an inspiration for the future. To spotlight this adventure in living history we have designed a two-fold approach with symposia and a remarkable, interactive Exposition illustrating the evolution and history of the endovascular approach to care and underlining its inherently patient-driven nature.
Pioneers in interventional cardiology from throughout the world will be with us this year and include Bernie Meier (Germany), Spencer B. King III and David Holmes (USA), Ibrahim Al Rashdan (Kuwait), Jorge Belardi (Argentina), Antonio Colombo (Italy), Alain Cribier, Jean Marco and Marie-Claude Morice (France), Shigeru Saito (Japan), Pim de Feyter and Patrick Serruys (the Netherlands), Runlin Gao (China) and Ulrich Sigwart (Switzerland). Certain pioneers will participate at two special “Meet the pioneers”’ sessions, helping younger doctors understand the historic roots of our current practice and illustrate how the past can inform our future.
Taking the history of your patient is an essential act in the practice of medicine, and our Exposition marking the 40 years of angioplasty offers us all the opportunity to take the history of our own specialty and judge the state of our communty’s health today… and tomorrow. The gallery of early devices will enable the younger generation to compare the tools used in the past with current devices. Key trials in the history of interventional cardiology will be reviewed, tributes to individual pioneers will put them in the context of their clinical and international work—all providing additional insight into the early importance of PTCA. Don’t miss our “Collage of Memories” or the winners of EuroPCR’s own coveted Ethica awards. In addition, we have the great pleasure of offering you an incredible book which we have published on this special occasion. Written by Philippe Gaspard, a still active witness and participant to these past decades, we are sure you will find this amazingly informative and an impressive reference of the evolution in our specialty. Also, and of special interest, you will find an in-depth video of Professor Jean Marco, who has consecrated his life to medicine and sharing clinical experience and knowledge, as he reflects on the role of post-graduate medical education today and how it could evolve. As for the future itself, the Exposition offers a glimpse into what is to come by providing a blank wall where we can all write the future together.
“We are working for our successors”
It goes without saying that the future depends on how we form the next generation—not just in clinical knowledge and medical experience but also in the way we encourage leadership, communication and thirst for innovation. The younger generation of physicians and fellows have much to teach us—and we have learned to listen to them. This interaction is nowhere more evident than in the way we construct a PCR Course. We begin with a thorough interaction and needs assessment process with representatives from the younger generation, including those before, during and soon after their interventional training programmes. Using different approaches, including social media and questionnaires, we gather relevant themes that this generation wants the Course to cover. This has led to the development of new sessions designed specifically By and For the younger generation. Examples include the “PCR’s Got Talent” competitive abstract presentation, “My toolbox”, where essential tools needed to perform any given procedure are defined; “Evidence-Practice mismatch”, which explores situations where Guidelines are not always followed in daily practice; or other sessions of interest to the “young” (and not so young) such as “Treatment dilemma” and “Burning questions”.
A highlight of our commitment to the young is the dedicated EAPCI Fellows Course, the exceptional platform now taking place during EuroPCR itself. This one and a half day programme designed entirely By and For the fellows in training, allows 100 fellows from 27 countries a guided introduction and entry to the overall EuroPCR programme, building their own track based on what matters to them.
Wishing you all a happy 40th Anniversary!
We are all committed to our speciality.
With our history, our international reach and our many collaborators, PCR and EuroPCR encourage each member of our family to retain and fully evolve their individual voice.
Today, in order to remain alive and vibrant we must continue to ask questions, to constantly engage in an open dialogue with our colleagues and our society.
We must continue to develop our critical spirit, advancing our practice and creatively confronting the problems we face today, seeking out evidence and data, finding answers to unmet needs, or answering to financial restrictions or complex regulations. When we ask where we stand today in interventional medicine, we also look to you and our new generation of interventionalists and ask who will be the next Andreas Grüntzig? Which one of you will begin to teach? Who will imagine the next step? Who will develop a procedure that links us further with our colleagues in other specialities? Who among you will lead cathlabs or clinics or trials?
And as we reflect on all these questions we should keep in mind one that is truly at the centre of what we do and who we are: Am I offering the best possible care to this particular patient?
Your presence here is one part of the answer because working together in a spirit of exchange and openness for the 40 years to come, we can achieve great things, and offer a better future for all our patients.
EuroPCR Course Directors