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Barcelona set to host world’s largest cardiology congress

More than 31,000 professionals from 140 countries to join five-day summit starting August 26


24 August 2017 05:55 PM


Jofre Figueras, Alan Ruiz Terol | Barcelona

The next edition of the world’s largest cardiology congress returns to Barcelona for the sixth time. Starting on August 26, the five-day congress is set to break previous attendance records in the Catalan capital by attracting more than 31,000 professionals — including doctors, nurses and engineers — from 140 countries around the world.

“This is no longer just a European congress, but is becoming the world’s number one congress,” said Jeroen Bax, president of the European Society of Cardiology, the organization behind the event. “From Japan, to India, to Russia, to Canada, to the US,they are coming from everywhere to attend this,” he added.

Not only will the congress include a wide range of professionals from all over the world, but the topics included will cover the entire spectrum of areas linked to cardiovascular disease, from pacemakers, public health and heart failure to hypertension and sports medicine.

  • "What could be more beautiful than presenting today — a week after the attacks — a cardiology congress, where thousands of professionals will come to our city to discuss how to save more lives”

    Ada Colau · Barcelona Mayor

Attending the official presentation of the congress on Thursday morning, Catalan Minister of Health Antoni Comín highlighted Barcelona’s international profile in the field of medicine. “We want medical, health and scientific knowledge to have a privileged place in Barcelona, where it can be developed,” he said, and he went on to refer to the city’s bid to host the European Medicines Agency as a key point of this strategy. Meanwhile, Spanish health minister, Dolors Montserrat, called Barcelona the epicenter of the biomedicine field in southern Europe.

In fact, Spain is the fourth country in the number of abstracts submitted to the congress, with Barcelona “extensively” making up this number, according to Bax.

Main cause of death

Heart disease is the main cause of death worldwide, accounting for 17.5 million deaths every year. In Catalonia, 21,034 people died from cardiovascular illnesses in 2015.

With almost 49 million people in the European Union (EU) living with the disease, the cost for member states is high, at €210 billion a year. According to the European Cardiovascular Disease Statistics 2017, some 53% of the total is due to health care costs, 26% is due to productivity losses and 21% goes on informal care of people with cardiovascular diseases.

There are more than six million new cases of cardiovascular diseases in the EU every year. Yet, statistics indicate that mortality is now going down in nearly all European countries.

In the spotlight

Every year, the congress puts a spotlight on a particular story or event in the field of cardiology. This edition is commemorating the 40th anniversary of the first balloon angioplasty, performed by Andreas Grüntzig in Zurich, Switzerland.

“This procedure has become tremendously useful to cardiologists and more than three million balloon angioplasties are performed every year in the world,” said Stephan Achenbach, director of the congress’ scientific program. Some 67,000 operations of this kind are performed in Spain every year.

After the terror attacks, a timely event

It has been almost a week since the terror attacks that hit Barcelona and Cambrils on Thursday and Friday, killing 15 and injuring over a hundred. Barcelona mayor Ada Colau pointed to the start of the congress as a timely coincidence.

“It’s a congress of professionals who work to make life possible,” she said. “Therefore, what could be more beautiful than presenting today — a week after the attacks — a cardiology congress, where thousands of professionals will come to our city to discuss how to save more lives.”


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  • Catalan and Spanish authorities at the presentation of the congress on Thursday (by ACN)