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Cardio NewsWire


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A new ablation catheter
Cardiac benefits of alcohol questioned
2013 EHJ Impact Factor higher
The new ESC journal EHJs
ACCA certification exam
Cycling to ESC Congress Barcelona
Aortic stenosis patients 1 year after intervention


The FlexAbility™ Ablation Catheter from St Jude Medical received CE Mark approval at the end of July 2014.

The catheter combines an irrigated flexible catheter tip with a state-of-the-art handle and catheter design. The next-generation flexible tip technology was designed to help reduce complications associated with ablation procedures through its ability to bend and conform to the cardiac anatomy, decreasing the amount of pressure distributed to a patient’s endocardium while simultaneously increasing the stability of therapy delivery.

The FlexAbility catheter features an innovative handle and shaft that allows for improved manoeuvrability. The technology was designed to provide optimal irrigation flow over the entire tip for improved cooling. The first cases that used the FlexAbility catheter after approval took place at IdealMed Unidade Hospitalar de Coimbra in Coimbra, Portugal by Dr. Andrea Natale and at the Hôpital Haut-Lévèque in Bordeaux, France by Dr. Nicolas Derval.

Data produced by the FlexAbility ablation catheter are displayed on the EnSite™ Velocity System™, a cardiac mapping and navigation system. Once FlexAbility catheters are inserted in the cardiac chamber the EnSite system records electrical information from the heart and displays it in a three-dimensional anatomical model.

Another catheter, The TactiCath™ contact-force sensing irrigating ablation catheter is designed to give physicians a real-time, objective measure of the force applied to the heart wall during a cardiac ablation procedure and has been available in Europe since 2012.

The TactiCath catheter and FlexAbility ablation catheters are investigational devices in the United States.


A reduction in alcohol consumption, even for light-to-moderate drinkers, could be linked to improved cardiovascular health, including a reduced risk of coronary heart disease, lower body mass index and blood pressure, according to new research published in The BMJ (1).

These latest findings challenge the results of previous observational studies which found that the consumption of light-to-moderate amounts of alcohol (12-25 units per week) may have a protective effect on cardiovascular health.

The research, led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine with University College London and University of Pennsylvania, looked at evidence from over 50 studies into the drinking habits and cardiovascular health of over 260,000 people. They found that individuals who carry a genetic variant which tends to lower their alcohol consumption have, on average, a more favourable cardiovascular profile. The authors say this suggests that a reduction in alcohol consumption, even for light-to-moderate drinkers, is beneficial for cardiovascular health.

Specifically, the researchers found that these individuals had on average a 10% lower risk of having coronary heart disease, lower blood pressure and a lower Body Mass Index.

Previous observational studies are also limited by the issue of distinguishing between self-reported non-drinkers, who may include those who have never consumed alcohol, and those who consumed alcohol in the past but have since stopped as a result of ill-health. Issues like these make it difficult for observational studies to assess the health effects of long-term alcohol consumption levels.

The current study’s results strongly suggest that reduction of alcohol consumption is beneficial for cardiovascular health, and is closer to establishing causality than observational studies, however further replication of similar genetic studies using large-scale prospective studies, such as the UK Biobank, will be needed.

The study was funded by the British Heart Foundation and the Medical Research Council and was an international collaboration that included 155 investigators from the UK, continental Europe, North America, and Australasia.

1. Paper reference: Michael V Holmes, Caroline E Dale et al. Association between alcohol and cardiovascular disease: mendelian randomisation analysis based on individual participant data. The BMJ. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.g4164 Link to paper:


The European Heart Journal (EHJ) new Impact Factor for 2013 was just released a few days ago and reflects a further growth to 14.7.

As such, the top three journals in cardiovascular medicine, i.e. the EHJ, Circulation and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology are within a few decimal points of the ranking. The EHJ however, showed the highest increase from 8.9 in 2005 to 14.7 for the current year (2013) and has the lowest self-citation rate of all the top journals.

Together with the EHJ, most member journals of the ESC Journal family also increased their Impact Factor particularly, the European Journal of Heart Failure to 6.577 (from 5.247), the EHJ CV Imaging to 3.669 (from 2.394) and EuroIntervention to 3.750 (from 3.173).

ESC Family Journals Impact Factor 2012 and 2013

ESC 2013 Impact Factors


EHJs The Heart of the Matter

Cardiology is in constant evolution and the European Heart Journal Supplement (EHJs) has also changed.

Together with a group of excellent Associate Editors (Francisco Fernández-Aviles, Jeroen Bax, Michael Böhm, Frank Ruschitzka and Thomas Lüscher) an entirely new product has been developed the EHJs – the Heart of the Matter. The Editor-in-Chief is Prof Roberto Ferrari, Ferrara, Italy.

The EHJs – the Heart of the Matter intends to offer a service, not only to the usual sponsors but also to the ESC family, providing a dedicated, scientific space for the Affiliate Societies and, if needed, the National Societies, Associations, Working Groups and Councils the opportunity to disseminate their important successes to all of the 28,000 worldwide subscribers at a substantially reduced cost.

No matter how innovative a scientific journal is, its Impact Factor provides a numeric measure of its scientific value and success. The editorial staff are proud to report that the EHJs – the Heart of the Matter currently has an Impact Factor of 5.6 which is one of the highest for a similar journal.

The previous Editor, Francisco Fernandez-Aviles, is commended for his contribution during his term and now a new ESC adventure is starting. Cardiologists worldwide are urged to be part of it.

Further information is available through the ESC Journals webpage:


ACCA logo

The Acute Cardiovascular Care Association certification exam will take place at the Acute Cardiovascular Care Congress, Geneva, 20 October 2014 at 11:30–14:30 in the auditorium.

The Certification process on Acute Cardiac Care has been designed to train professionals to deliver state of the art treatment for patients with severe cardiac illnesses. This process is composed of two parts: the written exam and the logbook part.

To prepare for the certification programme, a ‘How to’ session will take place during the Acute Cardiovascular Care congress immediately before the exam at 08:30 - 09:30 on 20 October.

Online registration for the examination is now open until 13 October 2014.

More information is available at:


Pedalling from Switzerland to the ESC Congress in Barcelona

ESC 2014 congress

A group of 30 cardiovascular health professionals will be cycling from Geneva to Barcelona during the week preceding this year’s ESC Congress. Starting on 24 August they will cover the 800 km to arrive on 29 August.

It is their fourth Tour de Coeur (tdc). Each year they bicycle to the city holding the ESC Congress starting in:

2011, from Bern to Paris 600 km

2012, from Lausanne to Munich 550 km

2013, from Basel to Amsterdam 800 km

2011 Tour de Coeur: Riding through 16th century Bridge over River Aar in Aarberg

2011 Tour de Coeur Aarberg

The aim of the TDC is to call for public attention on cardiovascular disease problems, how to prevent and manage them especially through promoting regular physical activity. At the same time funds are raised to supplement the research funds of the Swiss Heart Foundation and Swiss Society of Cardiology.

In Barcelona there will be a brief welcome ceremony by ESC officials on the arrival of the Tour de Coeur team on Saturday August 29 at 3.30 pm, at the congress venue Fira Gran Via main entrance.


A survey, published online in the European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, of 13,860 patients who had undergone interventions for aortic valve disease in Germany has revealed that over 80% were in the same or a better state of health one year after the intervention, and were satisfied with the procedural outcome.

Prof. Friedrich-Wilhelm Mohr and colleagues used the German Aortic Valve Registry (GARY) to look at the 13,860 registered patients undergoing either AVR or TAVR procedures from 2011. Enrolment in the Registry was voluntary, and took place in 78 German centres. Baseline, procedural, and outcome data, including quality of life, were acquired up to one year post-intervention. Vital status at one year was known for just over 98% of patients.

One-year mortality was 6.7% (6,523) for conventional AVR patients and 11% (3,464) for patients who underwent AVR with CABG. One-year mortality 20.7% and 28% in transvascular TAVR and transapical TAVR procedures respectively. However, if patients were stratified into four risk groups, the highest-risk cohorts showed the same mortality at one year regardless of type of therapy.

Prof. Mohr said: “GARY is unique in that it includes all interventional and surgical treatment options for aortic valve disease that are currently available in Germany. Our aim was to obtain a comprehensive and contemporary picture of the current practice of aortic valve intervention therapy and to create an independent database that will allow for long-term follow-up of those patients.”

“The one-year results of the German Aortic Valve Registry confirm in a large ‘real world’, all-comer patient population that conventional surgery in operable patients’ yields excellent results in all risk groups. TAVR is being performed in a significant proportion of cases and is a good alternative for high-risk patients. Continuation of the registry and long-term follow-up will help to develop robust future risk models to predict patient outcomes for each treatment option in patients with aortic stenosis.”

Source: European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery