ESCAPE-NET News

October 2019

Calmodulin mutations and life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias: insights from the International Calmodulinopathy Registry.  

One of the main goals of the ESCAPE-NET consortium is to unravel the genetic basis of sudden cardiac arrest/death (SCA/SCD) in the general population, especially in the context of acute myocardial infarction. Similarly, other efforts are being made in order to understand the genetic basis of SCD in the context of inherited cardiac diseases of monogenic originoften affecting very young people. In this direction, we recently identified very rare and life-threatening arrhythmia syndrome with early occurrence and severe manifestations, the so-called “Calmodulinopathy”. Despite the wide spectrum of clinical manifestations, the underlying genetic cause is always a mutation in one of the 3 genes (CALM1-2-3) encoding the Ca2+-signaling protein calmodulin. Given the rarity and lethality of calmodulinopathywe thought that only a cooperative effort among experts, as in the ESCAPE-NET consortium, could produce a large enough cohort to understand the natural history, clinical features and response to therapy of these patients. Accordinglyin 2016 we established the International Calmodulinopathy Registrywhile the research article merging all available clinical and genetic data has been recently published (Eur Heart J 2019 Sep 14;40(35):2964-2975. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehz311). Most patients were symptomatic (86.5%)while 68% experienced a major arrhythmic event (median age at first event 5 years) and 27% experienced SCD. Triggers of cardiac events were adrenergic stimuli in 81% of patients, mostly associated with exertion (62%). The two prevalent phenotypes were long QT syndrome (49%) and catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (28%). Unfortunately, currently available therapies are largely insufficient, thus highlighting the urgent need for novel and efficient therapies for this life-threatening clinical entity. 

Lia Crotti, Alice Ghidoni, Maria-Christina Kotta, Peter J. Schwartz on behalf of all co-authors 


July 2019

Physical inactivity is the Cindarella of cardiovascular risk factors. Yet, numbers speak loudlyBased on recent a world-wide pooled analysis on 1.9 million participants, in the year 2016 as many as 23% of male and 32% of female did nomeet the WHO requirements for adequate physical activity levels and percentages are even higher in Italy and South European CountriesThe deleterious effects of physical inactivity on traditional cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension, lipid profile, body weight and type 2 diabetes, are well definedStill, the specific additional risk of sudden cardiac death for physically inactive patients as compared to active subjects who develop an acute myocardial infarction was so far unknown. On the last April issue of JACC (J Am Coll Cardiol 2019 Apr 30;73(16):2117-2118. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2019.01.063), we reported for the first time that physical inactivity, defined in the PREDESTINATION study cohort as less than half of the weekly activity levels recommended by WHO (<30 min/week of vigorous or moderate intensity) almost doubles the risk of ventricular fibrillation during myocardial infarction. PREDESTINATION is an Italian cohort, part of the ESCAPE-NET consortium, including patients that during a first myocardial infarction developed (cases) or not (controls) ventricular fibrillation. Our data, therefore, reinforce the urgent need for physicians to ask patients about their physical activity levels and to make recommendations accordingly, and for authorities to prioritize policies to increase levels of physical activity on a large scale, with the specific aim of preventing not only cardiovascular diseases, but also sudden cardiac death.  

Gaetano De Ferrari, Veronica Dusi, Lia Crotti and Peter J Schwartz 


September 2018

  • Marieke Bak, PhD student at the AMC, published a narrative review on the ethical aspects of sudden cardiac arrest.
  • She also published a blog on how to handle big data sets for medical research in light of the GDPR. The blog can be read here: Go to blog

June 2018


April 2018

  • Meet the Cohort Partners of ESCAPE-NET’s Work Package 5, focused on Resuscitation Science, at the Emergency Medical Services Congress 2018 in Copenhagen! The congress takes place from 16 – 18 April 2018.

March 2018

  • During the EHRA Conference 2018 a Workshop on gender-specific healthcare for cardiovascular disease was organized. The workshop was a collaborative effort between EHRA & Women INC.
    • Speakers of this Workshop, with the exciting title Let’s talk about sex…..and cardiac arrhythmias, were:
      • Prof. dr. Sabine Ernst (Chair)
      • Christine Swart (Chair)
      • Dr. Hester den Ruijter
      • Dr. Hanno Tan
      • Iris Oving
      • Prof. dr. C. Linde
  • First proposals for research have been submitted by the Cohort Partners of ESCAPE-NET to prepare the research efforts to be investigated over the next few years. The Cohort Executive Committee of ESCAPE-NET discussed all these research proposals at EHRA Conference 2018 in Barcelona. Their recommendations will follow soon!
  • The second ESCAPE-NET publication has been accepted for publication and is published in Resuscitation Volume 124, March 2017, Pages 7-13.
    The publication can be downloaded here: Download

January 2018

  • The first ESCAPE-NET publication has been accepted for publication and is published in European Heat Journal Volume 39, Issue 2, 7 January 2018, Pages 86-88.
  • During the Consortium Meeting 2018 the ESCAPE-NET logo was officially presented by Dr. Tan.

Inspiration for the logo, as described by Dr. Tan:
“Space and time reflect the known universe, which is, as far as we know, limitless – as are the possibilities of the heart. The ESCAPE-NET project aims to explore the limitless possibilities of the heart to improve healthcare by means of performing multi-cohort and multi-dimensional analyses. That, and my personal strong feelings of wonder and humility in the face of the limitlessness of the universe and the heart, are the inspiration for the design.”


August 2017

  • During the Conference of the European Resuscitation Council the Partners of Work Package 5 met to discuss the optimal format to transform their respective data.

July 2017

  • During a Teleconference (held Thursday 06 July 2017) with all Consortium Partners the progress of the work is discussed.
  • The website was officially launched.

June 2017

  • A dissemination plan is drafted during the EHRA Conference in Vienna by the Consortium Partners of Work Package 6. A logo and a website are the first results of the Work Package scheduled to be delivered on a very short term. First publications of this project are planned as early as Q4 2017.

March 2017

  • Partners of Work Package 2 and Work Package 3 (AMC, RegionHovedstaden & BC Platforms) meet up in Amsterdam to show the work performed during the first few months of the project.

Janaury 2017

  • The Consortium Kick-Off in Amsterdam was a huge success. Working groups were formed to start up the first steps to take in merging the different patient cohorts of the cohort partners (longitudinal cohorts, resuscitation cohorts and case-cohorts).
  • January 1 2017 was the official kick-off date of the ESCAPE-NET project. From now until 31 December 2021, supported by the H2020 programme, the Consortium will take steps to optimize collaborative efforts to enhance research efforts in Sudden Cardiac Arrest within our multi-disciplinary and experienced Consortium.
ESCAPE-NET Consortium

July 2016

  • ESCAPE-NET’s Proposal, No 733381, has been evaluated by the European Commission’s H2020 programme as above-threshold. The Grant Agreement procedure has been signed by all project partners. We look forward to five years of intense collaboration to improve European healthcare of Sudden Cardiac Arrest with our network: towards Prevention, Education and New Treatments!