Testimonial of TRAIN-HEART fellow Deepak Balamurali as presenter at the annual Congress of the European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA)

The annual Congress of the European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) was held between 23-25th April 2021. After the cancellation of the 2020 edition of the congress scheduled in Vienna, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 edition was held on a virtual platform, as is fast becoming the norm these days. This year, the redesigned scientific programme laid emphasis on “Making connections to overcome arrhythmia”, not only between different subspecialities, the young and old EP colleagues, but also implemented digital and patient-related topics into many sessions.

The congress was extremely informative and contained several interesting sessions on cardiac electrophysiology, pathophysiology and mechanisms involved in atrial fibrillation and other arrhythmias, and special sessions on the available knowledge on COVID-19 and its long-term sequelae in terms of the heart and the circulatory system. The virtual format of the conference allowed for sessions to be recorded and the participants were provided with extended access to the content, enabling us to go through it at our own pace.

We were particularly excited at the opportunity to present our preliminary findings through an oral (zoom) presentation titled, “RNA-seq profiling of the atrial transcriptome reveals gender-specific patterns and interactions with atrial fibrillation and heart failure”, as part of the session ‘Pathophysiology of Atrial fibrillation and beyond – I’. This project, based on RNA sequencing data generated as part of the CATCH-ME consortium (http://www.catch-me.info/), explores the transcriptome-wide profile across 200+ samples to identify gender-specific expression patterns, which may provide critical insights into the progression of the disorder in patients. The abstract has been published in the recent supplement to the official EHRA journal, EP Europace and can be accessed at this link (https://doi.org/10.1093/europace/euab116.126).

A special mention to the EHRA for providing me with a Congress Grant, which covers the costs of registration for the EHRA Congress 2021(virtual) and EHRA Congress 2022 (tentatively in-person). This work would not have been possible without the support and guidance from my supervisors, Prof. Dr. Monika Stoll and Dr. Aaron Isaacs, the collaborative efforts of all our co-authors, and the funding through H2020 MSCA program as part of TRAIN-HEART.

Mon, 28 June