7th AFNET/EHRA Consensus Conference 2019

7th AFNET/EHRA Consensus Conference 2019:

Management of patients with atrial fibrillation: New therapies and special populations


The seventh edition of the biannual AFNET/EHRA Consensus Conference was held from 14th to 16th March 2019 just before the 2019 EHRA congress in Lisbon, Portugal.
65 selected clinicians, scientists and industry participants coming from eleven European countries, Canada and the USA convened to discuss new strategies for the management of patients with atrial fibrillation (AF).

For the second time the conference was jointly organized by AFNET and EHRA with additional support from the CATCH ME consortium.

Please click here for the press release.

The 2-day programme was compiled by the Scientific Committee of the four leading cardiologists from AFNET, EHRA and CATCH ME:

  • Paulus Kirchhof (AFNET chairman and CATCH ME coordinator, Birmingham, UK)
  • Hein Heidbüchel (EHRA president, Antwerp, Belgium),
  • Ulrich Schotten (AFNET board of directors and CATCH ME partner, Maastricht, Netherlands) and
  • Gerhard Hindricks (former EHRA president, Leipzig, Germany).


Hear Paulus Kirchhof summarize the importance of the 2019 Consensus Conference:


At the end of CATCH ME funding period this Consensus Conference provided the perfect opportunity to discuss the outcomes of the project with an international audience of key opinion leaders in cardiology.
Therefore the meeting started with a dedicated CATCH ME session, presenting the main results of the different workpackages, some of them for the first time to a scientific community.

Plenary sessions

For watching the talks please click on the titles below.

Stratification of patients with AF (CATCH ME session)

CHAIRS: Hein Heidbüchel and Paulus Kirchhof: Introductory Remarks


Rhythm control therapy - an update

CHAIRS: Ulrich Schotten and Christophe Leclercq


Stroke prevention I

CHAIRS: José Merino and Andreas Götte


Stroke prevention II

CHAIRS: Helmut Pürerfellner and  Thorsten Lewalter


In these four sessions the audience was given a broad overview of all current issues in AF patient care and research.

Hear Hein Heidbuchel summarize the plenary sessions:


Breakout sessions

All open questions were addressed and further elaborated in smaller groups during the following breakout sessions:

  • Biomarkers for AF – diagnosis, prognostication, stratified therapy
  • How can changes in atrial tissue characteristics advance the concept of atrial cardiomyopathy
    and ultimately inform patient management?
  • Treatment of underlying conditions and life style changes
    – value for prevention of AF and for management of patients with AF
  • When to initiate anticoagulation: Do we need dynamic risk factors
  • What to do when anticoagulation fails / difficult decisions in anticoagulation
  • Developing better rhythm control therapy
    – patient pathways, combination therapy, therapy selection, monitoring of success
  • AF and heart failure – what to do?
  • Access to therapy and quality of care


The outcomes of the breakout groups were reported back to the plenary.  One focus was laid on the importance of biomarkers and additional risk factors for AF and the comorbidities which often accompany this arrhythmia. Stratifying different subsets of AF will identfy patients who benefit from specific treatment strategies to effectively reduce their morbidity and mortality. This will be a great step towards personalized medicine or precision medicine.
Emerging new technologies also play a role for diagnosis and management of AF, e.g. by using smart devices which are able to improve patient compliance, assist in therapy decisions or are able to detect arrhythmias. The latter is crucial especially in patients with asymptomatic AF for which diagnosis and optimal therapy remain unsolved issues.
For these and other gaps in knowledge the importance of ongoing and new clinical trials was highlighted, the outcomes of which are highly anticipated.


Consensus Statement

In the last part of the conference, the consensus statements in the different areas of AF management were condensed into a manuscript by the Writing Committee. These recommendations for improving the treatment of AF patients will be published later this year.