Professor Hugo Katus

Despite significant advances in recent decades to improve cardiovascular care and reduce mortality, the burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains greater than any other disease. A concerted effort is needed to ensure the voices of stakeholders are heard by policymakers and that cardiovascular health is prioritised accordingly. That is why we have come together just ahead of World Heart Day (29 September) to launch the European Alliance for Cardiovascular Health . Concerned about the current situation, – the European Society of Cardiology , the European Heart Network and MedTech Europe – invited other European organisations with a strong interest in cardiovascular health to join efforts to raise awareness of the burden of CVD. This has resulted in the European Alliance for Cardiovascular Health *, composed of 15 European organisations that bring together health professionals, patient advocates, industry experts, health insurers, NGOs, and others to ensure that Europe’s response to CVD matches the scale of the collective challenge we face. Together, we call for resolute action by European decision-makers to improve cardiovascular health through a dedicated EU policy plan . Burden of cardiovascular disease augmented by the pandemic The data on the burden of CVD is striking. CVD remains the leading cause of death in the EU contributing to 36% of all deaths compared to 26% for cancer. CVD impacts people of all ages, with CVD accounting for a significant proportion of premature deaths (CVD mortality before age 65 is 24% in men and 17% in women). We were aware of this high burden of CVD before COVID-19 swept across Europe in 2020. However, the pandemic has exacerbated the CVD epidemic and clearly illustrated the vulnerability of patients with CVD. We know now that the SARS-CoV-2 virus damages the heart and vascular system, and that these mechanisms may explain the extremely...