Professor Stefan Achenbach

Prof. Dr. med. Stephan Achenbach is the Chairman of the Department of Cardiology and Professor of Medicine at the University of Erlangen, Germany. The main clinical interests of Stephan Achenbach are Interventional Cardiology, General Cardiology as well as Cardiac Imaging. His research is focused on cardiac intervention and cardiac imaging, mainly computed tomography, with an emphasis on imaging of coronary atherosclerosis and imaging to support coronary and structural interventional procedure.

Stephan Achenbach was the Founding President of the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography. Since September 2020 he is the President of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and he was Chairperson of the ESC Congress Programme Committee 2016-2018. As such, he was in charge of the ESC Congresses 2017 in Barcelona and 2018 in Munich with approximately 30 000 attendees.

Stephan Achenbach has received several awards, including the Jan Brod Award for Clinical Research of the Medical School of Hannover, Germany (1999), the Thomas C. Cesario Distinguished Visiting Professorship Award, University of California Irvine School of Medicine (2007), the Simon Dack Award, American College of Cardiology (2009), the Gold Medal of the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography (2015) and the Sir Godfrey Hounsfield Award of the British Institute of Radiology (2016). He was selected by as the “Most Influential Radiology Researcher” in 2017, and he has repeatedly received the Best Teaching Award, Clinical Medicine, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019).

When our partners launched the European Alliance for Cardiovascular Health in September 2021, we were driven by the commitment to share expertise and raise awareness on the burden of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in Europe. We knew then, and our Alliances of 17 partners knows today, that cardiovascular diseases understood as a vast group of disorders, all related to the heart and circulatory (vascular) system, including stroke, with a high prevalence of morbidity and mortality in the EU, remain Europe’s biggest health challenge. CVDs impact the lives of more than 60 million people in the EU and is responsible for 1.8 million deaths per year in the EU. Cardiovascular disease can and will affect patients of any age, men and women alike. A further, tremendous characteristic are the large inequalities – from one region of Europe to another, but also within countries and even within cities: some populations are affected substantially more than others. In terms of costs for the EU economy, CVDs amount to 210 billion EUR every year, and we can only assume that the COVID-19 pandemic further increased this burden. There were reports of people who no longer felt it was safe to go to the hospital or even to their GP. Procedures and check-ups were delayed or altogether cancelled. In some areas even the numer of patients who sought hospital care for acute myocardial infarction was severely affected. Importantly, the pandemic has shown that patients with heart diseases such as heart failure were more severely affected, and cardiovascular events occur more frequently in the weeks after a severe COVID-19 infection. The question is simple: how can we address these challenges and ensure better cardiovascular health for all people in Europe? Surprisingly, the answer can also be a rather simple one. First, we believe that collaboration is key...