Professor Thomas F. Lüscher, MD, FRCP, FESC
Training and Current Position
Professor Lüscher studied medicine at the University of Zurich and obtained the board certification in internal medicine and cardiology. He trained in cardiovascular research and in echocardiography at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, USA and was later Pro-fessor of Pharmacotherapy at the University of Basel, then trained in interventional car-diology and became Professor of Cardiology at the University of Berne, before as-suming a position as Professor and Chairman of Cardiology and Director of the Uni-versity Heart Center at the University Hospital Zurich and Director of the Center for Molecular Cardiology at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. He is now Director of Research, Education & Development and Consulting Cardiologist at the Royal Bromp-ton & Harefield Hospital Trust and the Imperial College in London.
Clinical Competence and Activity
Professor Lüscher is an active general and interventional cardiologist with a broad clini-cal scope and large experience in prevention, coronary and valvular heart disease, percutaneous interventions and heart failure. He has successfully taken care of cardiac patients for several decades from many countries.
Professor Lüscher has been a mentor of numerous physicians and scientists. His re-search is translational in nature and focuses on vascular disease, specifically on the role of endothelium-derived mediators in the regulation of vascular tone and structure, platelet-vessel wall interactions, coagulation in aging, hypertension, lipid disorders and
atherosclerosis. More recently, inflammatory pathways in these conditions and particu-larly in acute coronary syndromes has been at the center of his interest. He has published extensively, authoring or co-authoring over 500 original research articles and more than 200 reviews, book chapters and monographs including the ESC Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine.
Recognition and Awards
By the Institute for Scientific Information he has been rated as one of the 0.5% most cited scientists worldwide. He has obtained numerous research prizes and prestigious lecturerships worldwide. He is a member of many editorial boards and was Associate Editor Europe of Circulation from 2004 to 2008. Since 2009 he is chairman of the publi-cations committee of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and an ex-officio member of the ESC board as well as editor-in-chief of the European Heart Journal.
London, September 11, 2017/tfl
How can CHD research ever make it into big journals?
Thomas F. Lüscher, Editorial Office European Heart Journal, Zurich Heart House, Zurich,
Switzerland and Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals and Imperial College, London, U.K.
Scientific findings must be communicated otherwise they do not exist. The current way of communicating
high quality research findings is the publication in a peer reviewed journal. Peers are colleagues of high
standing with a particular expertise in the field in question and thus able to assess the quality and
importance of research findings. Editors of top scientific journals rely, therefore, on peers to assess
submissions as to their suitability for publication. In general, 2 to 4 reviewers are used and if a paper is
seriously considered, a statistical review will be requested. In most top journals only about 40% of the
submissions are sent out for review, while the others are rejected or transferred to specialty journals. In
the case of the European Heart Journal these would members of the ESC Journal Family which currently
encompasses 12 products covering the entire field of cardiovascular medicine.
Overall, the most prestigious journals currently accept between 4% and 10% of the manuscripts
submitted. Some papers will be revised repeatedly until a satisfactory version of high quality is achieved.
As such, the review process primarily aims at improving submitted manuscripts in terms of focus,
statistical analysis and the conclusions.
How do editors select the best papers? The main criterium is the innovative value of findings. Are they
new, are they providing incremental insight compared to previous publications? Furthermore, clinical
importance or novel mechanistic insights into diseases and their causes are of utmost importance. Of
note, clinical findings must be supported by a large number of patients to exclude accidental findings. If
therapeutic interventions are tested, a randomized double-blinded design is of particular value.
Why is research in congenital heart disease rarely published in high impact journals? First of all, rare
diseases are more difficult to investigate, because recruitment may be slow and difficult, requires close
collaboration with many other centers and, therefore, large cohorts and randomized trials are rarely
performed. Furthermore, there are also cultural differences between the different fields of cardiovascular
medicine with specialists in grown-up congenital heart disease focusing on their clinical experience
rather than on scientific findings. In principle, however, the field of grown-up congenital heart disease
could publish much more effectively and in high impact journals, if they would create effective research
networks of centers of excellence able to recruit large numbers patients into registries and nested trials
as exemplified by the SWEDHEART registries in Scandinavia. Indeed, such a cultural and organizational
change in the field of grown-up congenital heart disease appears essential to improve quality of care
further and to base clinical decision on evidence rather than eminence.