CRY shares new research developments at ESC Congress 2020

Dr Michael Papadakis has been a key member of the CRY team for years after first joining the charity when he started his training as a CRY Research Fellow in 2007. He’s continued to develop education in the sports cardiology field by building educational material for the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and launched a novel degree in sports cardiology, which was the first post graduate qualification of its kind. Dr Papadakis has also transformed CRY’s myheart network. He serves as our myheart cardiologist and has created over 60 videos to explain various cardiac conditions and procedures, with the network continuing expand to over 530 young members who have been diagnosed with a condition. In addition, over the past 10 years Dr Papadakis has provided his expertise at many myheart meetings for young people aged 18-35 who have been diagnosed with an inherited cardiac condition.

We are now thrilled to say that Dr Papadakis has received an extremely well deserved position. He is the new President Elect of the European Association of Preventive Cardiology (EAPC), a community of the ESC. Dr Papadakis has proven himself as a leading expert in his field and an invaluable part of both CRY and the ESC, first as the Chair of the Sports Cardiology and Exercise section of the EAPC and now in his new role.

“It is fantastic to see Dr Papadakis to be appointed to this prestigious role,” CRY Chief Executive Dr Steven Cox says. “This is a brilliant achievement and highlights the tremendous impact that CRY’s doctors are having, through producing ground breaking research, through education and through leadership on the international stage.”

On the subject of the ESC and CRY’s research, the ESC Congress 2020 was rather different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many various events all over the world, this year’s conference went online. It was a record-breaking occasion, though. This year’s ESC Congress went on from August 29 to September 1, with 116,000 healthcare professionals 211 countries joining the wide range of online presentations from some of the world’s leading cardiologists.

CRY was well represented by a number of our doctors. CRY Research Fellow Dr Joyee Basu gave a presentation about her research, “Safety and outcomes of a structured exercise programme in young patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: The SAFE-HCM trial,” which had fantastic engagement on the day as well as after the talk when the results were shared on social media. This study was generously funded by Heather Reid and the fundraising completed by her family and friends in support of CRY, in memory of Heather’s daughter, Alex.

67 individuals with HCM, aged 16-60, completed Dr Basu’s study. They were randomised to a 12-week supervised exercise programme or usual activity, and baseline investigations were repeated at 12 weeks. The participants underwent baseline testing with ECG, echocardiography, blood testing, exercise testing, 48-hour ECG and psychological assessment to see how they responded.

This study highlighted the need for a personalised approach to ‘safe exercise’ for young people living with heart conditions, and suggests that personalised exercise regimes should be ‘prescribed.’ There were also considerable gains in cardiorespiratory fitness and psychological outcomes for the HCM patients in the study. The results ultimately indicate that high intensity exercise in patients is not as unsafe as previously thought, and could pave the way for further research leading to a new national framework.

Professor Mary Sheppard from the CRY Centre for Cardiac Pathology (CRY CCP) also spoke at this year’s conference and gave a presentation entitled “Autopsy investigation and the need of uniform protocols in sudden cardiac death”. The CRY CCP is now the largest pathology unit dealing with sudden cardiac death in the world, and more than 80 percent of the UK coroners are now routinely referring to the centre. Professor Sheppard and her team at CRY’s centre have carried out more than 3,500 expert cardiac post-mortems on young people, which has made the CRY CCP the world’s largest database of expert cardiac investigations. Along with her contribution to over 100 journals on cardiac pathology and contributions to research projects around the world, Professor Sheppard has had a tremendous impact on CRY’s research and the field of cardiac pathology in general. It is always excellent for this work to be shared at conferences like the ESC Congress.