On behalf of the scientific committee and the Fondazione Internazionale Menarini, it is a great pleasure to welcome you to the ancient city of Athens and the first International training course on rare and inherited cardiovascular disease. There are between 6,000 and 8,000 known rare disorders and it is estimated that 1 in 17 of the general population will be affected by a rare disease at some point in their lives. Inherited cardiovascular conditions are a group of more than 50 disorders that include electrical, structural and vascular diseases that affect around 1 in 240 European citizens. In addition, many rare metabolic and neurological conditions are characterised by cardiovascular involvement that can be the major determinant of prognosis and quality of life. The importance of rare conditions in general to the European research agenda is reflected in the priorities of national funding agencies and the European Commission Horizon 2020 programme. However, the planning and organization of national health services remains focused on all encompassing diagnoses such as heart failure and coronary artery disease that conceal a diverse and complex range of rare disorders which are frequently misdiagnosed or overlooked, resulting in poor medical care and potentially adverse consequences for individuals and families. The aim of this meeting is to improve the education and training of cardiologists in the field of rare and genetic disorders and to prepare individual practitioners for the new era of personalized healthcare. With reference to our host country, the course is ‘Socratic’ in style with an emphasis on clinical questions to be answered by interactive discussion between attendees. We are enormously fortunate in having some of the World’s greatest experts in our faculty and sincerely hope that you will use this great opportunity to ask questions and network with your peers.
We wish you a successful and enjoyable meeting.