Against a background of high mortality rates from cardiovascular disease (CVD) in Brazil, the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) is to deliver an educational programme at the 66th Annual Congress of the Brazilian Society of Cardiology. This meeting is the largest cardiology conference in Latin America and will be held in Porto Alegre, Brazil from 16 to 19 September 2011. The Brazilian Society of Cardiology is an affiliated society of the ESC and has around 13,000 members.
With international collaboration a key objective of the ESC's Global Scientific Activities (GSA) Committee, it has organised a senior ESC faculty to present a series of papers in a dedicated one-day session jointly chaired with the host society. The ESC's educational programme¹ is structured to provide an overview of recent congresses and an insight into new and updated Clinical Guidelines. ESC experts will also summarise the Ivabradine SHIFT trial and discuss the implications for treating ischemic heart disease; review relevant case studies to illustrate clinical experience, and host an Atrial Fibrillation symposium.
The ESC will be represented by its President, Professor Michel Komajda, along with members of the ESC Board, and a number of eminent cardiologists that include authors of its most recent Guidelines. Professor Komajda firmly believes that CVD should be tackled as a global challenge rather than a series of regional issues. "I am proud of this joint initiative in which cardiologists from Brazil and the ESC countries will share their experiences and discuss clinical cases and ESC Guidelines," he says. "This kind of exchange between peers from different geographic regions is the best way to create a truly international cardiology community, and will build on a long history of successful cooperation between the ESC and the Brazilian Society of Cardiology."
Mortality rates from CVD in Brazil are the highest in Latin America, and are around double the European average². At least 50% of the population over the age of 60 have hypertension and 25% of all hospitalisations in this age group are CVD-related. In addition, Brazil is facing worrying trends that point to an increase in diabetes and widespread obesity. This raises the possibility that the nation's CVD profile is following the European pattern and underlines the rationale for a closer relationship with the ESC.
In recent years, the Brazilian Society of Cardiology has actively sought greater international collaboration. Over 700 Brazilian cardiologists attended the ESC Congress 2010 in Stockholm, while its members have recently submitted in excess of 400 abstracts for the 2011 event in Paris. Jorge Ilha Guimarães is President of the Brazilian Society of Cardiology. "We have established professional exchanges with the ESC in several specialty topics," he says. "Now we are preparing for even closer cooperation in other areas such as integrating surveys and registries. It is our wish to create closer scientific and friendly ties with the ESC."
The ESC's GSA Committee was established to meet demand for ESC science and knowledge outside of Europe, to build closer ties with international cardiology organisations, and to extend the ESC mission beyond its traditional borders. In what has been a busy year, the GSA Committee has delivered education programmes at both the Saudi Heart Association conference in Riyadh and the Asia Pacific Congress of Cardiology in Kuala Lumpur, and has been invited to participate in similar meetings in Argentina, China and Mexico over the next three months.
"We are very happy to make a contribution to the Brazilian Congress," notes Professor Fausto Pinto, the ESC Vice-President responsible for National Societies and Affiliated Societies, and a member of the GSA Committee. "While there is huge demand for the ESC to share its Guidelines, training and knowledge, there is undoubtedly much for us to learn as well."