ESC in partnership with EU to strive for European consensus on CVD treatment and prevention

February 19, 2004

The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) has long called for concerted action on a European Union (EU) level to curb the growing epidemic of cardiovascular disease across Europe. Now the ESC is delighted to announce that the Irish Presidency of the EU has taken up the challenge by placing cardiovascular disease top of its health agenda and working with the ESC to strive for European consensus on cardiovascular disease treatment and prevention.

Cardiovascular disease is Europe's biggest killer, causing more than four million deaths per year, 1.5 million of which are in current EU Member States. Whilst the ESC works to set the standard on cardiovascular disease treatment, one of the biggest obstacles to European continuity has been the national variations in treatment, training, data collection and public health campaigns and lack of underlying European consensus. To tackle this, the ESC is working in partnership with the Irish Department of Health and Children, during Ireland's Presidency of the EU, to call for consensus across Europe in addressing cardiovascular disease.

The first initiative of this partnership will take place next week, from 24-26 February 2004, when Cork, Ireland, will be host to "Promoting Heart Health - A European Consensus". This meeting will bring together health and policy representatives from each of the 15 EU Member States and 10 Accession Countries with invited experts and delegates from the ESC and the European Heart Network to discuss the need for this European consensus and the next steps to achieving this.

Professor Jean-Pierre Bassand, ESC President, comments, "The commitment that Ireland is demonstrating, not just on a national level but also on a European level, is highly commendable. Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of death in Europe and the EU Member States and Accession Countries must urgently work together to achieve consensus on how to tackle this. The ESC mission is 'to improve the quality of life of the European population by reducing the incidence of cardiovascular disease' and we are delighted to be able to work in direct partnership with the Irish Department of Health and Children, during the Irish Presidency of the EU, in order to improve European cardiovascular health".

A second meeting, specifically addressing the need for European standardisation of databases in clinical cardiology practice, will be held from 10-11 May 2004, also in Cork, Ireland. Entitled 'Cardiology Audit and Registration Data Standards (CARDS)', this meeting will continue the dialogue between health and policy representatives from the Member States and Accession Countries and invited experts towards the establishment of European consensus regarding cardiovascular disease data collation and analysis.

Professor John Martin, Chairman of the ESC Committee for European Union Relations, outlines, "Achievement of European standards and consensus is very important to the ESC and European cardiology as a whole. The ESC achieved its first breakthrough in EU liaison when, during its Presidency of the EU, the Spanish Ministry of Health positively accepted the ESC 'Heart Plan for Europe', a guide for cardiovascular disease prevention outlining specific targets that populations should be set in terms of blood pressure, cholesterol levels and stopping smoking. Since then, we have been keen to continue the momentum and dialogue with the EU and hope that we will continue to do so during the future Presidencies of the Netherlands, Luxembourg and beyond".

European Society of Cardiology

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