cardio

Covid-19 has proven a seismic event for our societies, and it is easy to forget that the pandemic will not dominate the debate on healthcare forever. Yet by any rational measure, efforts to manage long-term conditions will continue to be responsible for the majority of healthcare costs into the future. Heart failure (HF) is, and will remain, one of these crunch issues. Simply put, we have very little choice but to pursue the timely prevention and care of HF, due to the sheer scale of the disease and the high price attached to failure, both human and economic. HF occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs, resulting in a heavy physical and psychological burden. Outcomes are often poor, including mortality and quality of life. In fact, HF is the most common cause of hospital admissions in people over 65 and the leading contributor to unplanned hospital readmissions overall. Yet few political leaders across Europe appear to grasp that HF is a major battle ground for preventable morbidity, mortality and cost. Rapid access to effective diagnostics and the best use of diagnostic information are essential to reducing the burden of HF. Therefore, we welcome MedTech Europe’s case study exploring how the information generated by in vitro diagnostics can help to improve HF care, and in particular by cardiac biomarkers such as natriuretic peptides (NP testing). Unfortunately, the use of diagnostic information for HF is routinely suboptimal in many European countries. Poor multidisciplinary working, misdiagnosis, lack of capacity and inconsistent application frequently lead to harmful delays, meaning HF is often confirmed late, after severe damage to the heart has occurred. Bottlenecks are commonplace for echocardiography, the specialist-led ‘gold standard’ diagnostic test, and key tools such as NP testing are still not fully reimbursed or...
Even in 2019, cardiovascular diseases (CVD) remain the number 1 killer globally, accounting for almost 2 million deaths in the EU alone every year. These diseases are linked to huge inequalities, with more cardiovascular-related deaths in women than men, and more CVD-related deaths in middle-income than high-income countries, as a recent study from the European Society of Cardiology shows. Meanwhile, the burden of cardiovascular diseases amounts to €210 billion per year, due to healthcare costs, productivity loss, and informal care by caregivers. As Chair of the MedTech Europe Cardiovascular Sector Group, I and our group believe that time is running out to ensure concrete policy and regulatory action that will relieve the burden of cardiovascular disease, for once and for all. It is only by working together - industry, public authorities, and policy-makers,- with patients and all stakeholders that we can achieve this goal, and help to keep workers, and citizens of all ages, in good health and out of hospital, regardless of gender, income, or country. With the EU Institutions working up their 2020 – 2024 agenda, our group believes that it is the optimal time to call for the 3 following common actions that could help to achieve that goal: 1. Better understand the burden of cardiovascular diseases and facilitate access to comprehensive and regular checks. Most of these diseases have much better prognosis, higher treatment success and lower social cost when diagnosed and treated early, so there is a real business and societal case to introduce such checks for populations at risk. 2. Improve quality of life of patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases and improve efficiencies in care through fast access to innovation. Today, too many patients with unmet medical needs do not have access to the treatment they deserve because of inefficiencies in the access and...