Tribute to Hein JJ Wellens

In June 2020 during the biggest world pandemia in the last 100 years, Dr Hein Wellens passed away, this was one of the biggest lost for the cardiology community. Dr Wellens was one of the fathers of the Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology. During his medical life he had two outstanding characteristics, one as a clinical scientist and the other as a teacher and mentor.

As a scientist he was the first to show during an electrophysiological study that it was possible both, to initiate and terminate the clinically occurring cardiac arrhythmias, and to localize the site of origin of the arrhythmia. These first observations opened a big road to understand the mechanisms of the supra ventricular and ventricular arrhythmias and to open new ways for their treatment. As a clinical scientist Wellens has published as an author or co-author more than 650 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals and more than 200 book chapters, and has written or edited 18 books on cardiology. Wellens also changed the way to understand the ECG of an arrhythmia, using the information from the electrophysiologic study.

As a professor he was a real teacher and mentor for many electrophysiologists. More than 150 cardiologists from all 5 Continents, went to Maastricht in the Netherlands, to study and for postgraduate training in cardiac electrophysiology. For more than 30 years, he was coaching a course How to Approach Complex Arrhythmias for EP fellows and cardiologists, together with Mark Josephson, this was another way to spread the knowledge of arrhythmias all over the world.

From 1988 to 2000 as fellows, we had the opportunity to learn and to train electrophysiology with Hein Wellens and Pedro Brugada. During this period many other fellows from South, North America, from Europe and Asia were there. During this time, we could experience the importance of Prof Wellens in teaching and science. Wellens was a unique person having many qualities as a doctor, scientist, writer, teacher, mentor and a wonderful human being. We are already missing this Giant.

Jacob Atié, MD, PhD
Professor of Cardiology, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Brazil
PhD in Electrophysiology, University of Limburg, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Josep Brugada, MD, PhD
Professor of Cardiology and Senior Consultor in Cardiology, Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona, Spain
Browse Ruwix, the portal dedicated to online puzzle programs and tutorials.

Joint Session HRS LAHRS

During the 40th Heart Rhythm Scientific Session to be held in San Francisco, USA, between May 8 and 11, a Joint Session will be held between HRS and LAHRS: the S-JS13. LAHRS / HRS Joint Session: Catheter Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation: Is the Epicardium the Key to Improve the Results? Soon we will expand on date, time and room.

LAHRS 2018 Conference – Cartagena

On November 29th and 30th, the first official conference of our society –LAHRS 2018- was held in Cartagena, Colombia. More than 300 specialists from all Latin America attended the conference, and it was considered a success in all possible ways.

The scientific program approached and discussed topical issues about syncope, sudden cardiac death, atrial fibrillation ablation, ventricular tachycardia, prevention of thromboembolism, resynchronization therapy, and electrode extraction, among others.

There were joint sessions with sister supranational societies from Europe (EHRA), Asia/Oceania (APHRS), and the United States (HRS), ending the year’s schedule agreed with them, besides having the presence of official delegates from all those institutions. The joint activity with the Pacing and Electrophysiology Section of the Sociedad Española de Cardiología was outstanding, as well as the meeting with the first authorities of the Pediatric and Congenital Electrophysiology Society (PACES).

There was also time for social activities, in an informal and relaxed environment, between attendees and guests. This is quite significant, as it helps to disseminate Latin American electrophysiology to the rest of the world.

The regular annual assembly was held, in which there were decisions made on all the topics included in the agenda.

Everything went according to plan, with sensible expectations for our first event, and with a lot of room to grow and improve. LAHRS is a consolidated hallmark that rightly makes all Latin Americans proud. We hope that the enthusiasm we feel as we returned, keeps spreading.

SUMMARY RECORD:     REGULAR GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Thursday, November 29, 2018, Hall Bolívar 2, Hilton Hotel, Cartagena, Colombia.

First call at 13 hours: no statutory quorum.

Second call at 13:30 hours; the session starts with 46 attendees. The outgoing President, Dr. Roberto Keegan reads the agenda, already reported in the announcement.

  1. Statement of accounts 

The outgoing treasurer, Dr. Alejandro Cuesta, presents a report on the institutional situation: Achievement of legal status, record of by-laws, founding members, opening of bank accounts, and agreement with credit cards to collect the membership fees.

It is reported that the Society still has no headquarters of its own, and that it operates by an agreement with the Sociedad Uruguaya de Cardiología. It is reported that there is still no hired staff and that all work is done by the payment of independent professional fees or for free.

An institutional Web page has been created, posted in three languages (Spanish, Portuguese and English) and a weekly report letter is sent by e-mail to all members.

The financial report is presented. To this date, there is a positive balance of 43,635 US dollars.

From the financial point of view, there is a debt of 40,527 US dollars with EHRA for their participation in two documents, for which there is planned funding that has not realized yet. There is also a debt of 11,920 US dollars not yet due and with no funding for it.

Questions are asked, and satisfaction is expressed because of the historical level of organization achieved.

The following is approved:

  • Approval of temporary regulations

The regulations on elections and conferences, already presented on the Web site, are submitted for the consideration of the attendees, and no objections or modifications are proposed.

The following is decided: To approve both regulations permanently.

  • Appointment of Honorary Members

It is reported that the outgoing Executive Committee proposed the appointment of all the previous Presidents of SOLAECE as Honorary Members, as well as colleagues from other countries that have made very significant contributions for LAHRS to become a reality. There are no objections or modifications proposed. The proposal is approved.

Andrea Natale, Angelo Auricchio, Antonio Curnis, Bryan cannon, Carlos Morillo, Gabriel Varnagy, Diego Vanegas, Douglas Packer, George Van Hare, Gerhard Hindricks, Guilherme Fenelon, Hugh Calkins, John Camm, Jonathan Kalman, Jose Luis Merino, Josep Brugada, Lluis Mont, Luis Aguinaga, Luis Molina, Oscar Oseroff, Raul Weiss, Sami Viskin, Silas Galvao y Thomas Deering.

Daniel Barnaghi by Gabriel Varnagy and Thomas Deering by Deering.

  • Annual membership fee

The outgoing President reports that the payment system of the fee by online credit card is already operational, but payment increases slowly.

It is proposed to keep the yearly fee in 100 US dollars for the next term. There are no objections, and there are no modifications proposed. It is approved.

  • Future conferences
  • LAHRS 2019

There was a proposal to conduct LAHRS 2019 in Buenos Aires, jointly with the Congreso Argentino de Arritmias and with the support of local societies.

The outgoing President reports the existence of a signed agreement between the World Society of Arrhythmias (WSA) and the Sociedad Argentina de Electrofisiología Cardíaca (SADEC) to make a joint conference. In the conversations held with their authorities, LAHRS offered a participation that does not satisfy the Executive Committee in terms of form and finances.

Alternatives are discussed and different opinions are proposed, with the presence and participation in the room of Dr. Oscar Oseroff, that is also a representative of WSA and Dr. Rodolfo Sansalone, who is also the current President of SADEC.

The following is decided:

  1. To hand over to the Executive Committee the necessary measures to make possible the performance of a joint conference in year 2019 in Buenos Aires, taking into account the level of representation and influence of LAHRS in Latin America.
  2. To request from the WSA and SADEC a proposal contemplating our previous goals.
  3. LAHRS 2020

The performance of said event is proposed, this time to be held in Mexico. There is a chance to advance it to 2019 if the previous agreement is not achieved.

It is decided to approve it.

  • Dr. Fernando Vidal from the Dominican Republic makes a formal presentation offering the city of Punta Cana in his country to hold LAHRS 2021.

It is decided to approve the candidacy of the city.

  • Brazil is proposed as next host country, and the choice of city is being defined internally in said country.

If the steps taken to hold LAHRS 2019 in Buenos Aires fail, the order of host cities will be maintained, advancing them one year.

  • Election of the Official LAHRS Journal

Proposals have been received from the prestigious journals: PACE, HICE and JCE to conduct agreements by which they would be the official scientific journal of LAHRS.

The outgoing Secretary, Dr. Marcio Figueiredo shows a presentation with a comparative study of the three proposals.

Opinions are exchanged.

It is decided to entrust the incoming Executive Committee with deciding between the proposals presented.

  • Change of Authorities

Elections are held in time and manner, according to the by-laws and the transitory regulations, and the result of the elections is presented to the Assembly. There are no objections, it is approved, and the new Authorities of LAHRS for the 2019-2020 term are proclaimed.

Position Name Country
President Luis Carlos Sáenz Colombia
Secretary Manlio Márquez Mexico
Treasurer Alejandro Cuesta Uruguay
First Board Member José Moltedo Argentina
Second Board Member Heliodoro Rodríguez Venezuela
Vice President Márcio Figueiredo Brazil
Deputy Secretary Néstor López Cabanillas Argentina
Deputy Treasurer Sebastián Massaferro Uruguay
Third Board Member Armando Alfaro Costa Rica
Fourth Board Member Ricardo Alkmin Brazil

The elected President, Dr. Luis Carlos Sáenz speaks, expresses his gratefulness, summarizes his aims for the next term, and the assembly ends.

Dr. Roberto Keegan
Outgoing President

Dr. Marcio Figueiredo
Elected Vice President

Dr. Luis Carlos Sáenz
Elected President

Dr. Alejandro Cuesta
Outgoing and elected Treasurer

Farewell Executive Committee 2017-2018

We would like to express our most sincere gratefulness for the support received during these 2 years of management leading SOLAECE/LAHRS. Particularly, from the more than 360 members of our society from 19 countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Spain, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, USA and Venezuela) and living in 24 countries (Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador,  Spain, Guyana, Holland, Honduras, Israel, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, USA and Venezuela) currently constituting the society.

There were many goals proposed, very ambitious too, and the road has been difficult. The need to establish a modern society, with institutional strength and that would be a deserving follower of our dear SOLAECE, required a great deal of work to achieve our first significant aim: our legal identity as LAHRS. It was established on May 20th, 2017 in the city of Montevideo, Uruguay, with new by-laws and regulations that provided the necessary framework for a proper institutional operation. Another example of this has been our first elections, which ended legitimizing the new authorities for the 2019-2020 term.

Also, we set out to expand our educational activity. We worked very hard on the development of programs that may benefit our Latin American community of electrophysiologists, particularly the young ones and those who are still training. We could continue with the LAHRS and Memorial Health System scholarship programs, that enabled the participation of young colleagues from Argentina, Brazil and Mexico over these 2 years. Also, we started the LAHRS & McGill EP Fellowship program, by which two young Latin Americans in training (from Uruguay and Ecuador) were selected to participate in this 2-year training program in a Canadian center of international standing.

In the scientific and academic field, we continued with the agreements of participation with our sister international societies (APHRS, EHRA and HRS). Since year 2014, SOLAECE/LAHRS has participated in 32 joint documents (14 published between 2017 and 2018), with a total of 93 outstanding participations by members of our society, representing 13 countries (Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay, Venezuela, Chile, Peru, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Canada).

Finally, we could realize our first Conference – LAHRS 2018 (Cartagena, Colombia). This originated an eagerly awaited schedule of international conferences on arrhythmias, agreed with APHRS, EHRA and HRS, so that each will have a major academic-scientific event, distributed throughout the year.

Support from national societies is and will continue to be fundamental to consolidate LAHRS; societies such as SOBRAC (Brazil), SADEC (Argentina), SOMEEC (Mexico) and the Colegio Colombiano de Electrofisiología (Colombia) and all committees and/or chapters of cardiac electrophysiology of national societies of cardiology. We would like to grow to be a large Latin American tree, and these are our roots.

Our process coincided with the change of rules for scientific societies to relate to the industry, the historical and essential support to conduct medical updating events. Maybe, this was the most significant challenge we faced. Scientific meetings from all over the world, with a long and prestigious history, suffered the impact by this new scenario, particularly the number of attendees. But LAHRS was capable of generating the transparent mechanisms to continue taking advantage of the continuing predisposition by the industry to provide support. We could accomplish a conference in a short time, with more than 300 registrations, and we became the referential organization in the continent in regard to this matter.

Finally, we would like to highlight that the support of all the exemplary colleagues that preceded us has been essential to advance with this process. With this spirit that they transmitted to us, we will continue working and supporting those that will come after us, with the conviction that LAHRS will be very beneficial for the quality of care of all the population of our Latin America.

On behalf of the 2017-2018 Executive Committee, we say goodbye to all members, and seize this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Roberto Keegan
President of LAHRS 2017-2018

Marcio Figueiredo
Secretary of LAHRS 2017-2018

Alejandro Cuesta
Treasurer of LAHRS 2017-2018