The European Society of Cardiology board has approved a change in the name of the European Association of Echocardiography (EAE) to European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging (EACVI). Luigi Badano, EAE president, spoke to Cardiovascular News about this change, the integration between echocardiography and other modalities, and the highlights of the EuroEcho & Other Imaging Modalities 2012 meeting (5–8 December 2012, Athens, Greece).
What is the reason for changing the name from EAE to EACVI?
The EAE has evolved from a very successful association mainly dealing with a diagnostic technique to a new association (EACVI) whose mission will be to address clinicians’ and patients’ diagnostic needs in the broader field of non-invasive cardiovascular imaging.
As healthcare cost is increasing beyond rise in gross domestic product in most countries, the recent financial crisis will accelerate the process of reimbursement per diagnosis versus reimbursement per act. The increase in imaging – and non-invasive cardiovascular imaging in particular – makes it an obvious target for such a “forfait” [fixed] type of reimbursement. In many countries, this process has started and will be further adopted due to budgetary constraints. In a forfait system, where large part of imaging is reimbursed per DRG, the choice to use different modalities could easily be disencouraged since the use of more modalities means less funds. So while overuse could be a problem in today’s system, underuse could be a problem in a forfait system. For quality control, in either system it would be good if the profession itself worked on the guidelines for appropriate use of imaging rather than waited to receiving rules from regulatory bodies. To do that, we need an association that will bring together all non-invasive diagnostic techniques to:
- Be tested alone and in association with other techniques to find the most cost-effective combination for all cardiovascular diseases;
- Provide a broader education scheme in cardiovascular imaging and not in echo only;
- Prepare documents that address how to deal with a disease, without focusing only on one or imaging technique.
How will the EACVI integrate other techniques such as MR, nuclear cardiology and CT?
The process of creating the EACVI could not have progressed without the active and fruitful cooperation between the EAE, ESC Working Group on CMR, and ESC Working Group on Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiac CT. This is the turning point of a pathway which will lead to a renewed association where EAE will offer its organisation and structure, and the working groups will contribute with their background and initiatives.
What are the other objectives of the EACVI?
The purpose of the new EACVI will be to promote and represent all aspects of cardiovascular imaging in Europe, including education, research, advocacy and health economics.
Can you tell us some of the highlights of the EuroEcho & Other Imaging Modalities 2012 meeting?
This year’s EuroEcho will pay a tribute to the contribution of women in the evolution of the echo/non-invasive imaging science. The Edler lecture will be delivered by Prof Genevieve Derumeaux from Lyon, France, and the EAE honorary membership 2012 will be awarded to a woman. In addition, various initiatives will be taken to highlight the increasing contribution of female scientists to echo and, more generally speaking, to imaging.
The main themes of the meeting will be: 1) Imaging atherosclerosis: analysing the pros and cons of the different imaging techniques used to assess atherosclerosis from the subclinical stage to the clinical manifestations of cardiac ischaemia and their long term consequences; 2) Non-invasive cardiovascular imaging and outcome: assessing the cost-effectiveness of the different imaging techniques in the most frequent clinical scenarios.
Then, the scientific programme will be enriched by the original scientific contributions provided by investigators from all over the world in form of oral abstracts and posters. The research grants awarded during EuroEcho will be increased from one to four to underline the commitment of EAE to sponsor research and help young scientists to undertake an academic career.