Inaugural Lecture of Dr. med. Harald Schwacke

March 19, 2024
19:00 - 20:30
Inaugural Lecture
Inaugural Lecture of  Dr. med. Harald Schwacke

Lecture: „Catheter Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation 1994 – 2024

Where we started – where we`re going” (Lecture Language: English)

Dr. med. Harald Schwacke is a specialist in Internal Medicine and Cardiology with additional qualifications in Interventional Cardiology, Heart Failure, and Specialized Rhythmology. His professional journey includes positions at renowned institutions such as the University Hospital of RWTH Aachen and Asklepios Klinik Altona – Hamburg. Since September 2007, he has been the Chief Physician for Internal Medicine and Cardiology at Diakonissen-Stiftungs-Krankenhaus Speyer and is a member of various professional associations, including the German Society for Cardiology and the European Society of Cardiology. The event serves as Dr. Schwacke’s inaugural lecture, marking the commencement of his role as an honorary professor at the university. During the event, he will also be officially awarded the certificate by the Dean, Assoc. Prof. Simona Muresan, MD, PhD.

Following William Swartz’s investigations of surgical approaches to the treatment of atrial fibrillation, he and his colleagues performed the first catheter ablation in 1994. In the same year, Haissaguerre and colleagues introduced the concept of catheter-based radiofrequency ablation of the pulmonary veins. At the end of the 1990s, three-dimensional mapping strategies, combined with a 3D possibility for guiding the ablation catheter, were developed and established in clinical practice. Complete isolation of the pulmonary veins with a circumferential ablation became the standard therapy. The balloon-based cryoablation technique was successfully introduced in the early 2000s, offering an alternative approach to radiofrequency ablation with a single catheter. In recent years there have been significant improvements in ablation technology and techniques, accompanied by more effective safety and efficacy procedures. Catheter ablation has become the first-line therapy for atrial fibrillation, leading to an increase in knowledge and understanding of the condition’s mechanisms and treatment. Pulsed field ablation is just one example of what awaits us in future. The success story of 30 years of catheter ablation of atrial fibrillation provides a first-rate example of how research can inspire technical innovations that in turn inspire further research.


Entertaining, innovative and condensed: At ReachHigher, experts from a network of extraordinary personalities give lectures on the topics of medicine and research as well as leadership/motivation.

UMCH’s ReachHigher lecture series pushes and strengthens the know-how of our students as well as their personal development – beyond their daily schedule. We look forward to accompanying you on your individual way to self-realization.

Learn more about it!