What is the most interesting paper you have come across recently?
This is a time of revolutions, the falling of old guards. The same is true for vitamin-K antagonists in all sectors of anticoagulation management, from prevention after orthopaedic surgery, pulmonary embolism, to atrial fibrillation, and who knows what will come next. The results of the RELY trial with dabigatran were unexpectedly positive and sent a big roar throughout cardiology. Similarly positive findings have been reported with direct factor Xa inhibitors like rivaroxaban (ROCKET-AF, although not published yet) and apixaban (AVERROES). On the other hand, medicine will have to develop new ways of following-up on these patients and make sure that they comply with treatment. Moreover, an intriguing issue is how regulatory and paying authorities will deal with it. But it is clear that these drugs are a major change for patients.
What technologies are you looking closely?
Remote monitoring technology. We will only be able to deal with all the complexities of chronic disease management by making healthcare delivery more efficient. I got interested in the field from the perspective of ICD remote monitoring, but the concepts are applicable to many other areas. Again, the major hurdles will not necessarily be technological, but rather how medicine reorganises itself around it. As principal coordinating investigator of the European Health Economic Trial on Home Monitoring in ICD Therapy (EuroEco) we want to explore the cost impact of remote technology on the providers of care, physicians and hospitals. It is the main driver in acceptance or rejection of new technology. The findings will of course be important for payers of health care, since reimbursement will guide how technology is implemented in practice.
As chair of EHRA’s Education Committee, what direction do you see for EP education in Europe?
Although EHRA is clearly the leading EP organisation in Europe and provides certification for Pacing and Electrophysiology, we have no pretention that we can and want to provide all EP education ourselves. We recognise the important educational efforts by industry, often in smaller groups and with hands-on facilities, and by external organisers. Therefore, we have set up an Educational Framework. The backbone is a Device track and an Interventional EP track, each with EHRA Courses of 2.5 days and a number of online EHRA Webinars and other online learning tools. We affiliate external educational activities, based on quality and on their complementarity to the EHRA activities. All this information is brought together on EHRA website.
Outside of medicine, what other interests do you have?
One woman, three children, 20 horses, and innumerable lost golf balls…
1979–1986 Faculty of Medicine, University of Leuven
1992 PhD in Physiology
1993 Specialist Degree in Internal Medicine
1993–1994 Fellowship Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma, USA (W Jackman)
1995 Specialist degree in Cardiology
Clinical – University Hospital, KU Leuven, Belgium
1986–1994 Clinical assistant
1997–2004 Adjunct medical director
2004–present Medical director
1987–1987 Research assistant of the University of Leuven (Lab of Physiology)
1987–1991 Research assistant of the National Fund for Scientific Research Belgium
1993–1994 Research Fellow of the National Institutes of Health (Fogarty International Center), supported by a Fulbright-Hays grant-in-aid
1994–1998 Docent, University of Leuven
1998–2004 Senior lecturer, University of Leuven
2004–2007 Professor, University of Leuven
1996–2006 “Fundamental clinical investigator” of the Fund for Scientific Research, Flanders
2000–present Founder and head of ECG CoreLab – Leuven Coordinating Center
2007–present Full professor, University of Leuven
Scientific society activity
- International chair (2009–2013) and member (2005–2009) of the Educational Committee of the European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA). EHRA Board Member (2009–present) and course director Case-based course (2008–2011)
- Chair of the Section on Sports Cardiology of the European Society of Cardiology/EACPR (2010–2012) and nucleus member (2006–present)
- Member of the ESC Education in Cardiology Committee and ESC Task Force on Education Online (2010–2012)
- EHRA Research Network (2008–present)
- Scientific Committee member (2006–2010) and member of the EuroPRevent Congress Program Committee 2008 and 2009 (EACPR)
- Member of the Europace 2007, 2009 & 2011 Congress Program Committee (EHRA)
- Fellow of the European Society of Cardiology (2007–present)
- Board Member (Councillor) of the Belgian Society of Cardiology (2005–2011)
- Nucleus member of the Belgian Working Group on Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology(1994–present)