Over 60 participants from more than 30 countries gathered at the Royal Society of Medicine and Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals last month, for the start of the UK’s first postgraduate course in heart failure.
Attendees came from all over the world – mainly from Europe, but also including the Far East, South Africa and the United States – and were selected from nearly 200 applicants.
The new London Postgraduate course in Heart Failure is organised by Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and the Institute of Cardiovascular Medicine and Science (a partnership with Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust), with support from the British Cardiovascular Society, the British Society for Heart Failure, and Zurich Heart House. It took place between January 16-19.
Professor Thomas Lüscher, consultant cardiologist and director of research, education and development, explained the reasoning behind establishing the new course: “Heart failure is a true medical epidemic, it leads to serious illness, significantly impaired quality of life, and considerable costs for healthcare systems and societies.
“Recent developments have markedly increased the life expectancy of people at risk of heart failure, and reduced the amount of time they need to spend in hospital.
“This medical progress has meant that the cardiologists of today, not to mention tomorrow, have many options for their patients – from recommending lifestyle changes, to new drugs, brand new catheter procedures to ground-breaking surgery, as well as pacemakers and defibrillators, all the way through to assist devices and, of course in some cases, a heart transplant.
“This means that doctors treating patients with heart failure need truly excellent training across the full range of diagnostic and treatment options to give their patients the best possible care. This new programme offers education at the very highest academic and medical levels.”
The full course takes place over two years, and includes six modules of four days each. Each module includes lectures, interactive sessions, live transmissions from operating theatres, and presentations of challenging cases by the participants themselves.
Course directors include professors in cardiology Thomas Lüscher, Martin Cowie and Kim Fox, as well as medical director Dr Richard Grocott-Mason, and Dr Shouvik Haldar consultant cardiologist and electrophysiologist.
Dr Richard Grocott-Mason added: “This is an extremely high-quality course, aimed at cardiologists at an advanced stage in their training or early in their consultant career who have an interest in treating patients with heart failure.
“The benefit of it being led by the Trust, is that while it’s firmly based in strong academic, evidence-based principles, it has a really strong practical element about how to be a better doctor, hone communication skills, and allow the participants to spend time in our world leading hospitals and to discuss issues with experts in treating heart failure.”
Dr Luisa Aguilera from the Cardiovascular Institute of Minimal Invasión in Mexico is one of the participants. She said: “The lectures were focused in a very interesting way, and all the speakers worked to find the balance between the scientific basis and the clinical application… it was absolutely worth flying 12 hours to London.”
To find out more about the course, visit the Zurich Heart House website.