Patient Advisory Board

The EHRA-PATHS Patient Advisory Board (PAB) is committed to deliver a patient-centric approach ensuring that the patient perspective is heard from the beginning of the care pathways development. The patients are actively involved in discussions throughout the project and assist in shaping the care pathways and initiatives designed to improve research (dissemination) within and outwith of the EHRA-PATHS project. The PAB is comprised of 5-7 patient representatives, the 2 scientific coordinators (Prof. Hein Heidbuchel and Lien Desteghe) and 2 members of the Project Support Office. Ad-hoc participants (such as WP leads) might be involved in PAB meetings, where required. 

Interested in joining the EHRA-PATHS Patient Advisory Board? Please email us via 

Meet the PAB members

Patient Representative: Jeremy Dwight (United Kingdom) 

Jeremy Dwight is a patient forum representative who has had atrial fibrillation for the past 10 years on a background of hypertension. He was initially maintained in sinus rhythm with medical therapy but has been in permanent atrial fibrillation for the past 3 years but remains well and without symptoms. Jeremy trained as a doctor and worked as a cardiologist at the John Radcliffe Hospital Oxford and as a Senior Lecturer and examiner for Oxford University until his retirement in 2016. He continues to lecture on general medicine and cardiology. He joined the ESC patient forum in 2016 and has taken an active role in a variety of programmes including the development of quality indicators in atrial fibrillation. He has a keen interest in enhancing patient’s understanding of atrial fibrillation and ensuring that the treatment options are applied in a holistic manner to improve the general wellbeing of patients with the condition. Jeremy’s hobbies include piano playing, singing and the history of music.

Patient Representative: Willie Cotter (Ireland)

William R Cotter (Willie) is is a patient forum representative from Ireland. He was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and in 2015 he has been treated successfully with blood thinners. In early 2021 he needed to have two stents inserted to rectify blockages and later he was diagnosed with bladder cancer and underwent an 8-week course is chemotherapy. Whilst this reduced the tumours it did not eliminate them, so he opted for the removal of his bladder. His recovery from that was complicated by a sepsis infection, which took a while to clear. He is fully recovered from all his issues now and am back gardening, golfing and most importantly fly fishing. Willie worked as a Corporate Finance Executive with The Investment Bank of Ireland and promoted to Managing Director, holding this responsibility until the retirement. Following ‘retirement’ he was appointed to the boards of various publicly quoted companies and ‘not for profit’ organisations.

Patient Representative: Louis Vanzeir (Belgium)

Louis Vanzeir is a patient forum representative from Belgium. In 2022, he was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. He has never felt any symptoms, and could do his normal occupies as gardening, forest management, cycling, and volunteering in the community. He was initially treated with a cardioversion, and last year he also underwent an ablation procedure. Since 2003, he has had hypertension diagnosis and was since been kept under control by medication. In 2015, he was diagnosed with colon cancer, and a sigmoid resection was performed. He fully recovered without any further consequences as chemical therapy. In 2016, an abdomen and thorax scan pointed out that he had a benignant thyroid tumor on the left side. It was removed with no further consequences. Louis worked for 42 years in the same company and the same branch as follows: junior in de the customer department, responsible for database management, lead in the Purchase Department, Head of the department, and finally, he became responsible for the Suppliers Contracts Department.

Chair: Prof. Hein Heidbuchel (Antwerp University Hospital)

Professor Hein Heidbuchel is leading the cardiovascular research group at Antwerp University. He is also Chair of the Cardiology department of the Antwerp University Hospital (UZA) and Guest Professor at Hasselt University. He served as President of the European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) from 2018 to 2020. He is still EHRA Board Member and a Fellow of EHRA and of the ESC. He published >340 articles in peer-reviewed international journals (total number of citations: 30102 on WoS; H-index: 68). Moreover, he published 31 book chapters and he is an inventor on 2 patent applications. He supervised 5 post-docs, 18 PhD students, 19 Master thesis students, and trained 27 clinical electrophysiology fellows. He has >250 active international congress participations, and >200 invited lectures. He is national coordinator of many international clinical trials and an active clinical investigator in more than 35 trials.

Prof. Heidbuchel is an international recognized expert in the field of AF. He is also the creator and lead/senior author of the Practical Guide on NOAC therapy in atrial fibrillation (2013, 2015, 2018 and 2021 edition), which formulates practical advice for physicians with more than >450.000 copies distributed worldwide. He was also a member of the 2010 and 2016 ESC Guideline Committees for the treatment of atrial fibrillation, and reviewer of the 2020 AF Guidelines.

Co-chair: Dr. Lien Desteghe (Antwerp University Hospital)

After her studies Biomedical Sciences (2009-2014), Lien Desteghe performed a PhD at Hasselt University and the Jessa Hospital Hasselt with Prof. Dr. Hein Heidbuchel and Prof. Dr. Paul Dendale as supervisors. In September 2018, she successfully defended her PhD entitled “Towards more integrated care for patients with atrial fibrillation”. Currently, she is appointed as postdoctoral researcher at the University of Antwerp and Hasselt University. She is affiliated to the cardiology department of Antwerp University Hospital and Jessa Hospital Hasselt. She is also internationally active as chair of the Young Community (1200 members) and board member of the Association of Cardiovascular Nursing & Allied Professions (ACNAP). She has 27 publications in international peer-reviewed journals (e.g. European Heart Journal, Europace, International Journal of Cardiology, Clinical Research in Cardiology; Total number of citations: 1147, H-index: 11). She received 12 awards, best poster prizes or grants during her PhD.

Lien Desteghe is specialized in integrated care in AF with a focus on patient education, oral anticoagulation and therapy adherence, telemedicine and mobile health, risk factor management (e.g. overweight, sleep apnoea). These are all relevant topics related to the EHRA-PATHS project.

Project Support Office: Elsa Pacella (European Society of Cardiology)

Elsa Pacella is EU Projects Officer at ESC. Prior to joining ESC, she worked for other Brussels-based organizations in the field of health first aid, emergency and democracy support. In her previous roles she worked on EU-funded projects, supporting the administrative work, as well as advocacy and policy work, and communications. She holds a Joint Master’s Degree in International Relations from Bologna University and Corvinus University in Budapest.

Project Support Office: Sanne (Catalyze)

Sanne Lock is EU Project Manger at Catalyze. She holds a MCs in Regenerative Medicine and Technology from Utrecht University/ Technical University Eindhoven with a specialization in Business and Economics. At Catalyze, she manages a wide portfolio of EU-funded international collaborative projects in life sciences and biotechnology, including Horizon, EIC, FTI and Eurostars. Besides project management, she is responsible for development/ maintaince of the EHRA-PATHS website. 

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