COVID-19 Claims More Meetings: HRS Sessions, ESC Heart Failure

April 01, 2020

Two more cardiology meetings have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2020 Heart Rhythm Scientific Sessions (HRS-2020) of the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS), which had been set for May 6 to 9 in San Diego, is off, but the society is making plans for putting abstract presentations and even late-breaking trials sessions online.

And Heart Failure 2020 & the World Congress on Acute Heart Failure, organized by the Heart Failure Association (HFA) and European Society of Cardiology (ESC Heart Failure), which was to be in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, May 23 to 26, has announced plans to explore online alternatives.

"HRS will publish accepted abstracts as planned in the May issue supplement of the Heart Rhythm Journal," the North American society said in a statement.

"In place of in-person presentations, abstract presentations will be collected digitally and made available on Heart Rhythm 365," its online learning platform.

There are plans to post "several new digital programs over the next few months," the society said, "including the #HRS2020 Abstract E-Poster Catalog, Late-Breaking Clinical Trial sessions, and the Young Investigator Awards session."

Registrants will automatically receive a refund after April 30, HRS said, if they don't specifically request one prior to then by responding to a mailing that will go out "in the next week."

Spain has been especially hard-hit by the coronavirus, so "Spanish authorities have declared a state of emergency while the Catalan government has imposed a total lockdown and severe travel bans," the ESC and HFA said in a note posted on the congress website.

"The spread of COVID-19 around the world and the necessity for healthcare professionals to deal with the epidemic in their hospitals has impacted the availability of both faculty and delegates," it states. "The HFA leadership has decided that cancelling Heart Failure 2020 is the only responsible course of action."

Refunds are in the offing for those already registered.

Also cancelled: the Heart Failure Certification examination, which had been scheduled to take place during ESC Heart Failure. "We are investigating opportunities for delivering the exam near the ESC Congress dates in Amsterdam," the societies say.

In a statement to journalists, an ESC Heart Failure spokesperson said: "We are now discussing how we may deliver the latest updates, clinical recommendations, and Late-Breaking Science via webinars or other online formats. We will keep you updated as information becomes available."

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