Alenka Brzulja

Vice President of Cardiovascular & Specialty Solutions EMEA, Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies. Alenka joined Johnson & Johnson more than 20 years ago and has held several roles of increasing local and regional responsibility across Johnson & Johnson sectors.  

In her current role, Alenka leads Biosense Webster, Cerenovus and Mentor companies which develop innovative technologies in the field of cardiac arrhythmias treatment, ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke treatment and breast surgery. 

Alenka holds an Economics degree from the University of Ljubljana and obtained her MBA from Hofstra University in New York. She resides in Slovenia with her family.

Our recently published report examining the available treatment options for Atrial Fibrillation (AF) across Europe has found that millions of patients suffering with the condition don’t have access to a potentially life-saving treatment — catheter ablation therapy. Currently, 11 million people in Europe are affected by AF, a condition characterized by an irregular and often fast heart rhythm that results in an uncoordinated contraction of the top two chambers of the heart. This arrhythmia increases the risk of other potentially fatal conditions, leading to five times the risk of heart failure, an increase in the risk of stroke cardiovascular mortality. Despite these worrying statistics, the seriousness of AF is critically misunderstood, with a significant percentage of patients mistakenly believing it not life-threatening. Treatment of AF focuses on managing the irregular heart rhythm, improving symptoms and reducing complications — with the overarching aim of improving life expectancy and quality of life. Amongst the options available for the long-term management of AF patients in Europe are antiarrhythmic drugs (AADs) and the aforementioned catheter ablation. The report , which reviewed independent studies of current treatments, highlighted that just half of patients (52%) are well-managed by AADs yet, despite this, only 4% of eligible patients receive catheter ablation — a treatment that’s considered almost 10 times more effective in delaying AF progression than AADs. And this is not the only data about catheter ablation in the report that’s worth flagging — the potential positive results brought about by this particular treatment option are far-reaching, touching efficacy, quality of life, Adverse Events and healthcare costs. Let’s look at these statistics in more detail. There are sustained results with up to 94% patients free from arrhythmia recurrence after one year and 48% free from arrhythmia after four years. There is a greater improvement in patients’ quality...