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SA Heart – new members on Exco and SA Heart NPC

Posted on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 13:35

SA Heart welcomes the new office bearers on the SA Heart Executive Committee whose tenure started with effect of the AGM on 26 October 2015.

Dr Liesl Zühlke has joined as president-elect of SA Heart, Prof Stephen Brown has been voted new vice president of SA Heart and Dr Sajidah Khan will take over the role as SA Heart secretary.

big thank you to Drs Adriaan Snyders, David Jankelow and Robbie Kleinloog who served in various capacities on committees and the executive over the past years. All three will remain active within the SA Heart structures, Dr Snyders as national champion of the SA Heart/SASCI early reperfusion STEMI project, Dr Jankelow in his tireless efforts assisting the Private Practice Committee in particular with issues with Funders as well as convenor of the SA Heart congress 2017 and Dr Kleinloog as convenor of the 26th World Congress of the World Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons in 2016 which will incorporate the 17th Annual Congress of SA Heart.

The registration of the SA Heart Association Non Profit Company (NPC) has been finalised this week. We welcome Profs Karen Sliwa and Francis Smit as ex-officio members in their capacity of president and treasurer respectively as well as the elected members Drs Hellmuth Weich, Sajidah Khan and Belinda Mitchell to the Board of Directors of the NPC. The SA Heart Association and the SA Heart NPC will run concurrently until the end of the financial year – 29 February 2016 – when the Association will be fully dissolved and the NPC take its place from 1 March 2016.

The Executive Committee will remain in place and function as before, promoting the objectives of the company, acting as spokesperson locally and abroad and giving strategic guidance to the Board. The Board will be in charge of the daily administration of the company, fulfil functions as per Companies Act, keep accounts, collect subscriptions and prepare financial report and budgets for the General Assembly as well as be responsible for the National Central Office and retaining services of staff.



Annual reports of the SA Heart President, Committees and other groups

Posted on Thursday, 29 October 2015 16:38

The annual activity reports of the SA Heart President, Prof Karen Sliwa, as well as annual reports from all the SA Heart Standing Committees, Projects, Special Interest Groups and Regional Branches are now available on the SA Heart website and also in the newest SA Heart Newsletter Spring 2015.


ESC Congress 2015 Report, London

Posted on Monday, 19 October 2015 16:26

Dr Anthony Dalby has provided a summary report  on THE EUROPEAN SOCIETY OF CARDIOLOGY MEETING 2015 in London.

To earn CPD points by completing a questionnaire based on this report, kindly go to 




Report on ESC 2015 London.pdf 309.5K 19 Oct 15 16:26

Last updated Saturday, 24 October 2015 13:30

Comprehensive programme for allied professionals at SA Heart Congress 2015

Posted on Monday, 28 September 2015 10:20

The 2015 SA Heart Congress includes an intensive and comprehensive programme for allied professionals working in cardiology.

 To be held this year at Sun City, the Congress includes two dedicated tracks for allied professionals running from 14h00 – 17h00 on Monday, 26 and Tuesday, 27 October.

 Two pre-congress post graduate courses of specific interest to allied professionals will also be held on Sunday afternoon, 25 October, prior to the official opening of the Congress at 18h00:

  •        A post-graduate course on Radial Intervention sponsored by Terumo and featuring prestigious international faculty, will run from 13h00 – 17h00.
  •        An echocardiographic workshop, of specific interest for clinical technologists, will be conducted by members of SA Heart and the Mayo Clinic from 12h00 – 17h00. 


Additionally, allied professionals will have the opportunity of attending the general plenary sessions being held on Monday morning, October 26, as well as one of three sessions on Tuesday morning, comprising hot messages from ESC London 2015, a TAVI mini symposium, or a paediatric session focusing on Lvoto and Coarctation.

 The specialist track for allied professionals on Monday afternoon, October 26, will focus on Heart in Shock case reports and the pharmacological management of patients with cardiogenic shock.


Key themes to be covered by the allied professionals’ track on Tuesday afternoon, October, 27 include:


  •        Challenging cases – focusing on how clinical technologists, radiographers, cathlab and EP nurses contribute individually towards ensuring successful patient outcomes
  •        The lessons that can be learned from challenging cases – focusing on aortic aneurysm, calcified lesion, and a radial example.
  •        A final review of key messages by ISCAP chairperson, Dianne Kerrigan.


For full programme details and to register for SA Heart Congress and the pre-congress post-graduate courses, visit http://saheartcongress2015.co.za. For queries, contact Europa Organisation Africa on (011) 325 0020, or email kerrie@eoafrica.co.za

Cardiac surgery and intervention highlights at SA Heart 2015

Posted on Friday, 25 September 2015 15:08

Interventional procedures and cardiothoracic surgery feature prominently at SA Heart Congress 2015, to take place from Sunday, 25 – Wednesday 28, October at Sun City in the North West province.


Cardiac intervention

 Held under the auspices of the SA Society of Cardiovascular Intervention (SASCI), the adult interventional stream at the congress features four prominent international faculty, who include Drs Robert Byrne (Germany), Jacek Legutko (Poland), Ariel Roguin (Israel) and Ralf Birkemeyer (Germany).

 Although Dr Byrne is a newcomer to South Africa, he is a stalwart of the PCR community and is regularly featured on Medscape.

 The interventional stream commences with a half-day, post-graduate course on Sunday, October 25, hosted by Terumo, with the entire afternoon being dedicated to the topic of radial intervention. Veteran radialists will provide tips and tricks on all aspects of radial angiography/intervention that will prove to be useful for both novices and established radialists alike.

 At one of the opening plenary sessions at the Congress, Dr Farrel Hellig will be focusing on the results and future developments pertaining to a fellowship being offered by the South African private sector in interventional cardiology. Congress chairman, Professor Francis Smit will complement this presentation by focusing on the African cardiac interventionist of the future from a public healthcare perspective.

 During the Monday afternoon interventional track, Dr Robert Byrne, a newcomer to South Africa, but a stalwart of the PCR community who features regularly on Medscape cardiology, will address the difficult topic of triple anti-thrombotic therapy following stent implantation. He will also provide insights into technological developments with newer DES and their impact on clinical outcomes. Although the primary focus during the interventional track will be on improving patient care, a notable topic of interest will be “Risks to the interventional cardiologist in the cath lab,” to be addressed by Prof Ariel Roguin from Israel.

 A STEMI update will take place on Tuesday morning, with Prof Bernard Gersh (USA) focusing on reperfusion therapy for STEMI in 2015, Prof Fausto Pinto (Portugal) weighing up the best combination for the pharmaco-invasive strategy, Dr Carlos Agular (Portugal) discussing the management of cardiogenic shock and Dr Byrne (Germany) debating whether there is consensus regarding the management of multi-vessel disease in STEMI.  

 The cardiac surgery track

 The cardiothoracic surgery track commences with a pre-congress, post-graduate course on Sunday afternoon, with international faculty including Drs Carlos Mestres (Spain), Volkmar Falk (Germany) and Manuel Antunes (Portugal).

 Initial presentations will focus on the future challenges of coronary artery surgery and whether the off pump CABG is a passing fad. The diagnostic, surgical and peri-operative challenges of constrictive pericarditis will be examined by four speakers, with Dr Carlos Mestres from Spain sharing perspectives on pericarditis from the industrialised world.

 Late afternoon presentations will cover minimally invasive mitral valve surgery by Prof Volkmar Falk (Germany) and mitral valve repair in 2015 by Dr Manuel Antunes (Portugal).

 During the first plenary session on Monday, October 26, Prof Charles Yankah (Germany) will discuss an approach to cardiac surgery development in Africa. This will be followed in the second plenary session by Dr Martin Sussman discussing whether the development of a surgical fellowship in the South African private sector makes sense.

 A two-hour session on TAVI takes place on Tuesday morning, October 27, with Prof Volkmar Falk (Germany) sharing perspectives on the development, results and future of TAVI and Prof Pascal Dohmen (Germany) debating whether TAVR and sutureless aorta valves are complementary or competitive procedures. Dr Helmuth Weich will discuss the long term outcomes of TAVI and TAVI in the young, with Dr Farrel Hellig concluding the session by discussing the management of para-valvular leak and valve failure.

 Half-day courses on Tuesday afternoon include the options of a Valvular Mini Symposium or a special focus on Perfusion.

 The Congress concludes on Wednesday, 28 October with a half-day course focusing on Heart Failure in Sight, with international speakers featuring Drs Volkmar Falk, Charles Yankah and Mattias Roser from Germany, Alexandre Mebazaa (France), Bernard Gersh (USA) and Manuel Antunes (Portugal). 

For full programme details, and to register for the radial intervention or cardiac surgery post-graduate courses, visit http://saheartcongress2015.co.za. For queries, contact Europa Organisation Africa on (011) 325 0020, or email enquiries@eoafrica.co.za

September Heart Month:

Posted on Friday, 18 September 2015 15:47

 Message from the Heart and Stroke Foundation : 7 ways to spring clean your heart


7 steps to spring clean your heart.pdf 282.2K 18 Sep 15 15:47

Cardio update for non-cardiologists at SA Heart Congress 2015

Posted on Tuesday, 15 September 2015 16:22

The annual cardio update workshop for non-cardiologists will be hosted by SA Heart Congress 2015 on Sunday, 25 October at Sun City.  


Partnered with Servier, and held in association with The Heart Failure Society of South Africa (HeFSSA), this comprehensive, pre-congress, post-graduate course targets primarily physicians and general practitioners, and is free of charge.


Scheduled to run from 13h00 – 17h45, the course is followed by the official opening of SA Heart Congress 2015 at 18h00, and then a “Night Food Market Theme” and trade preview in the Superbowl from 19h00 – 21h00.


This year’s topics will cover:

  •        How to perform a useful stress ECG in one’s practice
  •        An interactive ECG session
  •        What primary care physicians need to know about pulmonary hypertension
  •        Difficult to treat hypertension in clinical practice
  •        When to use, and how to interpret commonly used blood tests in cardiac disease
  •        Stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation 
  •        The current perspective on euthanasia


Presenters include subject matter experts, Drs Gideon Visagie, Martin Mpe, Eric Klug, Nico van der Merwe, Ronnie Jardine, Brian Vezi and Elsabe de Kok.


“As in the past, this will be an interactive workshop,” says HeFFSA vice-president, Dr Martin Mpe. “It will provide general practitioners and physicians with up-to-date theoretical and practical knowledge regarding current aspects of cardiology of specific relevance to their practices.” 


For full programme details, and to register for the cardio update, post-graduate course, visit http://saheartcongress2015.co.za. For queries, contact Europa Organisation Africa on (011) 325 0020, or email enquiries@eoafrica.co.za

Last updated Tuesday, 15 September 2015 16:26

Feedback from the ESC Congress

Posted on Monday, 31 August 2015 14:30

On the first day of the ESC Congress in London, the joint ESC and SA Heart symposium on HIV related pericardial and myocardial diseases was well attended by both the South African and overseas delegates. Prof Karen Sliwa representing SA Heart, and Prof Sabine Pankuweit of Germany chaired this interesting session which highlighted the difference in disease presentation and comorbidities between Africa and European countries. The presentations by the ESC complement to the symposium discussed possible mechanisms for the direct pathogenesis of the myocardium in HIV affected patients. Prof Karin Klingel showed that whether viral or auto immune, the pathogenesis leads to a far more rapid deterioration in the affected myocardium in HIV patients than in HIV negative patients. Prof Boccara reiterated that myocarditis prevalence in France was particularly high in HIV patients and discussed possible mechanisms for this.

Our International member from Cameroon, Dr Anastase Dzudie Tamdja presented on an unusual case recorded in the Cape Flats, and this led to some very lively interaction from the floor regarding the presentation, treatment and drug regimen used in this particular patient who refused hospital admission. Prof Andrew Sarkin from University of Pretoria, and Chair of the SA Heart Full time Salaried Practice committee, spoke about the impact that the prevailing HIV pandemic has had in the last 20 years on Sub-saharan Africa where 2/3 rds of the global burden of HIV infected people live (22 million people of the estimated 30 million infected people live in Subsaharan Africa). South Africa has the highest number of HIV infected people in the world; over 6 million of which an estimated 3 million are on ARV's (the largest program of its kind in the world). Research suggests that the high prevalence of HIV infection in South Africa is linked to inter-generational heterosexual activity rather than drug abuse as seen in developed countries. The costs and socioeconomic impact of this is profound (estimated at R14 Billion on ARV costs and total health costs of R25 Billion) with a massive impact on the country's mortality and maternal mortality in pregnancy (recently as high as 300/100 000 cases). This can be seen in the newly available population death statistics which show an enormous increase in mortality of women in the age group 20-35 until the year 2004 when ART was finally instituted in the State health system which serves the majority of the population in South Africa. Prof Sarkin highlighted the unusually high prevalence of infective pericarditis which is unique to the SA HIV positive population.


image.jpg 800.3K 31 Aug 15 14:30

Dedicated programme for paediatric cardiologists throughout SA Heart Congress 2015

Posted on Thursday, 20 August 2015 21:14

Paediatric cardiology will feature prominently at SA Heart Congress 2015, with a dedicated track running daily from Sunday, 25 – Wednesday, 28 October, at Sun City in North West Province.

A wide spread of important interventional and surgical aspects will be covered during the congress, with delegates benefiting from the input of international experts, Dr Naser Ammash (Mayo Clinic, USA), Associate Professor Christian Brizard (Australia) and Dr Elchanan Bruckheimer (Israel). Local faculty will include heads of cardiology at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, Chris Hani Baragwanath, the University of KZN, Walter Sisulu University and the University of the Free State.

Post-graduate course on paediatric heart failure

The paediatric programme commences on Sunday afternoon, October 25, with a pre-congress post-graduate course focusing on paediatric heart failure. A workshop format will be used to generate open discussion with prominent local paediatric cardiologists who will review important new approaches and therapies becoming available for children with cardiac failure.

Dr Ammash will highlight advances in echocardiography that are being used to evaluate and monitor heart failure in adults, and may also be of benefit to children. Modern treatment with biventricular pacing will be discussed, with Associate Professor Brizard ending the session by giving a perspective on the surgical advances available for treatment – from left ventricular assist devices to cardiac transplant.

The AGM for the Paediatric Cardiac Society of South Africa (PCSSA) will be held immediately after the course from 17h00 – 18h00, with the Congress being officially opened at 18h00, followed by a “Night Food Market Theme ” and trade preview  in the Superbowl from 19h00 - 21h00.

The African Perspective

On Monday, 26 October, the opening plenary Ethics Session of the Congress will focus on service delivery, training and research perspectives pertinent to paediatric cardiology in South Africa.

Children’s Hearts inSight

In the combined paediatric cardiology-cardiothoracic sessions of the congress, modern interventions and surgical methods will be reviewed and the latest data explored.

In the GE-imaging session on Monday afternoon, practical applications of modern 3-dimensional echocardiography will be addressed and Dr Bruckheimer, a leader in rotational and 3-dimensional angiography will share his experience with delegates.  A step-by-step demonstration on how to do foetal cardiac ultrasound will be given by Dr Jeff Harrisberg and Dr Ammash will highlight aspects in the echocardiographic evaluation of an athlete’s heart.

On Tuesday, October 27, the paediatric session from 08h30 – 10h25 will focus on the best treatment for aortic coarctation in all age groups and look at world registries. Associate Professor Brizard will also shed light on the surgical components of these difficult to treat conditions.

The session from 11h00 – 12h30 will feature a potpourri of topics, with the focus on Tuesday afternoon being on double outlet right ventricles (14h00 – 15h30).

A number of local researchers will share their findings in between talks. There will be an interesting provisional report on eye abnormalities found in paediatric cardiologists due to radiation exposure, as well as an excellent presentation on the outcome of radiofrequency ablation in a group of South African children.

The congress ends on Wednesday, October 28 at midday with a focus on the vexing and difficult to treat problem of pulmonary hypertension in children as well as practical “How do I perform…” sessions presented by prominent local interventionists.

For full programme details, and to register for SA Heart Congress and the pre-congress post-graduate course, visit http://www.saheart.org/congress2015 For queries, contact Europa Organisation Africa on (011) 325 0020, or email enquiries@eoafrica.co.za




Feedback from the CATHCHAT paediatric cardiac interventional workshop

Posted on Tuesday, 11 August 2015 19:38

CATHCHAT, an interactive paediatric interventional cardiac catheterisation workshop, was held at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in the last week of July. The aims of CATHCHAT were:

  1.        to reduce the number of patients on our catheterisation waiting list
  2.        to teach paediatric cardiac catheterisation to “those with more enthusiasm than experience.”
  3.        to broadcast all proceedings live from the cath lab to an audience in an on-campus auditorium as well as those logged on online.


Approximately 40 delegates, including a strong faculty representing all the paediatric cardiology centres in South Africa, as well as cardiologists from six other African countries attended the workshop. The overall theme was to present cases from simple to complex, with background lectures ranging from step-by-step descriptions of procedures to information and advice around the practice and art of interventional cardiac catheterisation.

In total 17 live cases were performed in four days. Broadcasts to the auditorium at Red Cross Hospital allowed for lively interaction with the cathing team; many very instructive cases were observed (read: one learns much from others’ mistakes). Unfortunately, that week a nationwide problem with Internet connectivity curtailed our Internet interaction and during the week, only 12 sites could log in.

Feedback has been very positive, with all requesting repeat workshops. Already we are planning another CATHCHAT for March 2016, when we will be hosting Dr Oliver Stumper from Birmingham Children’s Hospital, UK. Watch this space!


Dr Rik De Decker

Director: Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory 


From left to right: Lenise Swnason, registrar at Red Cross Hospital working with Drs Gcina Dumani (from CH Baragwanath Hospital ) and Jeff Harrisberg (from Sunninghill Hospital), and  cathlab sister Charnette Elliott. 


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Last updated Thursday, 20 August 2015 21:10

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