5th joint AFNET / EHRA consensus conference

Understanding and eliminating inequalities and barriers that prevent optimal treatment of atrial fibrillation

22 - 23 January 2015, European Heart House, Sophia Antipolis, France

Scientific committee
Günter Breithardt (Münster, Germany)
John Camm (London, UK)
Paulus Kirchhof (Birmingham, UK / Münster, Germany)
Gregory Lip (Birmingham, UK)


Large surveys and investigator-initiated registries illustrate important differences in the management of AF patients. The objective of the 5th Joint AFNET/EHRA consensus conference was to identify barriers that inhibit optimal treatment of AF patients, to map the need for better AF management in different parts of the world, and to develop a vision for the future of AF management.

More than 70 specialists in atrial fibrillation – invited scientists from 16 European countries, the USA, China and Australia, as well as industry representatives from 11 companies – participated in the 5th Joint AFNET/EHRA consensus conference.

The two-day expert meeting started with presentations in a plenary session. Thereafter, participants split into six smaller groups. The results of these workshops were discussed in two additional plenaries to achieve consensus on the main results of the conference. The results of the conference are going to be published in a consensus report.

Group picture taken during the conference

Presentations of the first plenary session

Cardiovascular complications in atrial fibrillation

  • Finding atrial fibrillation – just keep looking, just keep looking... with new technologies! (Ben Freedman, Sydney, AU)
  • The need to fully implement existing (proven) therapies in AF patients
    European perspective (Gregory Lip, Birmingham, GB)
    Pan-American perspective (Jonathan Piccini, Durham, US)
    Asian-Pacific Perspective (Hung Fat Tse, Hong Kong HK)
  • The need for further improvement of atrial fibrillation management (Paulus Kirchhof, Birmingham, UK)

New drugs in AF: real-life questions and experiences

  • NOACs in clinical practice: Updated answers from a professional organization (Hein Heidbuchel, Leuven, BE)
  • New antiarrhythmic drugs: Fit to match clinical needs? (John Camm, London, GB)
  • Predicting and avoiding bleeding events in patients treated with non-vitamin K antagonist medications (Jonas Oldgren, Uppsala, SE)
  • Patient preferences and patient-reported outcomes: A view from the ESC (Melanie Calvert, Birmingham, GB)

Drugs and interventious – the future is integrated!

  • Challenges on the main road – ensuring quality of AF ablation procedures (Gerd Hindricks, Leipzig, DE)
  • Combination of antiarrhythmic drugs and catheter ablation (Harry Crijns, Maastricht, NL)
  • Should we combine left atrial appendage occluders with oral anticoagulants in selected patients? (Thorsten Lewalter, Munich, DE)

Novel health modifiers and therapeutic targets in AF

  • Extracting biomarkers through bioinformatics (Monika Stoll, Münster, DE)
  • Validation of biomarkers for AF: Incident AF, AF recurrence and AF related complications (Renate Schnabel, Hamburg, DE)
  • ECG-based markers to guide rhythm control therapy (Ulrich Schotten, Maastricht, NL)
  • Translating risk factors into disease mechanisms: Obesity (Stephane Hatem, Paris, FR)
  • Adding a third dimension to genomic analysis and SNPs in AF (Patrick Ellinor, Boston, US)
  • Making sense of genetic markers in AF – an update on pitx2 (Larissa Fabritz, Birmingham, GB)

Special issues discussed in the break-out sessions

Workshop 1: Enabling evidence-based AF management: What can we learn from our neighbours?

Workshop 2: Patient empowerment and patient involvement in AF care

Workshop 3: Hybrid rhythm control therapy – a safe way to enhance maintenance of sinus rhythm?

Workshop 4: How common is “polygenic AF”, and what are the possible management implications?

Workshop 5: Optimal stroke prevention in AF – where do we go beyond existing guidelines?

Workshop 6: Biomarkers to guide AF management (in blood and ECG).


The conference was co-financed by AFNET and EHRA and received additional unrestricted financial support from Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Boston Scientific, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Cardiome, Daiichi Sankyo, Meda Pharma, Medtronic, Pfizer, Roche, VTT.


Kirchhof P, Breithardt G, Bax J, Benninger G, Blomstrom-Lundqvist C, Boriani G, Brandes A, Brown H, Brueckmann M, Calkins H, Calvert M, Christoffels V, Crijns H, Dobrev D, Ellinor P, Fabritz L, Fetsch T, Freedman SB, Gerth A, Goette A, Guasch E, Hack G, Haegeli L, Hatem S, Haeusler KG, Heidbüchel H, Heinrich-Nols J, Hidden-Lucet F, Hindricks G, Juul-Möller S, Kääb S, Kappenberger L, Kespohl S, Kotecha D, Lane DA, Leute A, Lewalter T, Meyer R, Mont L, Münzel F, Nabauer M, Nielsen JC, Oeff M, Oldgren J, Oto A, Piccini JP, Pilmeyer A, Potpara T, Ravens U, Reinecke H, Rostock T, Rustige J, Savelieva I, Schnabel R, Schotten U, Schwichtenberg L, Sinner MF, Steinbeck G, Stoll M, Tavazzi L, Themistoclakis S, Tse HF, Van Gelder IC, Vardas PE, Varpula T, Vincent A, Werring D, Willems S, Ziegler A, Lip GYH, Camm AJ. A roadmap to improve the quality of atrial fibrillation management: proceedings from the fifth Atrial Fibrillation Network/European Heart Rhythm Association consensus conference. Europace 2016 Jan 1; 18 (1):37-50 doi: 10.1093/europace/euv304 . Epub 2015 Oct 18.