cardiovascular

Many of us know someone affected by stroke. It is the second leading cause of death globally and results in 50% of survivors being chronically disabled. [1] In Europe, the incident of stroke will have increased by 34% by the middle of the next decade. [2] The impact of stroke The impact on individuals and families can be profound. Stroke also has serious economic and social consequences. In the EU in 2015, the direct healthcare costs of stroke were €20 billion, with nearly three-quarters of these costs relating to in-hospital care. [3] The total cost of stroke in the EU has been estimated at €45 billion. [2] Ischaemic stroke is particularly concerning because of its sudden onset and devastating consequences. It accounts for 85% of all strokes and is caused by a blockage cutting off blood supply to the brain or a damaged artery in the brain. [4] Ischaemic stroke is as fast as it is destructive. With stroke cases, time is brain . Seconds can be the difference between a full, independent life or a life of dependency. The quicker someone is seen and treated by a specialist stroke team, the better their recovery. Removing clots A blood clot that blocks or slows blood flow to the brain can lead to stroke. Mechanical thrombectomy (MT)– a minimally invasive procedure – can be used to remove clots from the brain. The procedure requires skilled surgeons and innovative tools to retrieve the clot which caused the stroke. From a patient’s perspective, the outcomes are best if the clot is removed at the first pass as repeated attempts risk complications. The ARISE II study found that faster and complete resolution of ischemic stroke through manual clot removal is associated with improved outcomes; two thirds of patients in this particular study were functionally...
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...
Did you know that every day, some 5,000 people die from cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), amounting to 1.8 million deaths every year ? This, unfortunately, makes cardiovascular disease - including heart failure, stroke-related atrial fibrillation, heart valve disease and coronary heart disease - the number one killer in Europe. The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the way we live, work, and care for patients. Whilst we are still in the midst of overcoming the challenges posed by the pandemic, one uncomfortable truth is becoming clear: people affected by cardiovascular disease have been hit the hardest by COVID-19 – whether it was by discontinuity of care or because cardiovascular disease constitutes the leading co-morbidity in COVID-19 deaths (65%) . In addition, mounting evidence shows that COVID-19 sufferers can develop heart complications further on. There is reason enough to act to improve the cardiovascular health of our citizens. After working in MedTech for many years, I can say that the necessary technologies and innovations often already exist. Our innovative industry provides concrete solutions to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease on individuals, families, carers, and the wider economy. These innovations, which span the full spectrum of patient care from diagnosis to cure, save lives and add tremendous value to European society. What we lack is the comprehensive policy framework that enables better collaboration between stakeholders to drive solutions and innovations towards the patients that need them. Today, the EU has a unique opportunity to make a difference for people with cardiovascular disease, thanks to the priority given to healthcare on the citizens' agenda and the unprecedented funding provided by the EU4Health, Horizon Europe and Next Generation Recovery funds. By implementing an EU Action Plan with the right framework and incentives, we can bring together EU players, Member States and key stakeholders to save...
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...
World Heart Day is approaching and it deserves to be highlighted that as patient advocates in the heart valve disease sector, our relationship with the medtech industry is as important as our partnership with the medical profession and the healthcare system. We base this relationship upon the ethos of innovation, information and independence. I see innovation as key to patient outcomes and quality of life and I believe that it comes from that all-important collaboration between industry and physicians. We are very fortunate that advances in treating heart valve disease with groundbreaking transcatheter procedures have completely transformed the landscape for patients. A decade ago, most patients either received no treatment or they endured an open-heart surgical operation. Granted, open-heart surgery has been a very successful procedure for nearly 60 years. However, it is very invasive, and recovery can be long and hard; especially for the elderly population. Now many people can have their valves replaced or repaired while awake staying in hospital for a matter of days and returning very quickly to a good quality of life. The first step to treatment is disease detection where we are also experiencing promising developments. New types of digital stethoscope are not only making detection much more reliable, but they offer the promise of allowing detection in the community with practice nurses and pharmacists. Even before detection, it is important that future patients, their families and carers are aware of the disease and their potential options. I see, even amongst the oldest patients, a growing thirst to be informed. They are more likely than ever to be connected online, searching for information and joining communities to talk with others about their condition. The medtech industry needs to embrace this by being as open as possible about their clinical studies and their data. We...
Sensors, artificial intelligence and big data are not only changing healthcare, they are transforming the workplace and may even reinvent the insurance sector. Stress takes its toll on all of us. It affects our mental health and is linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity. It also costs employers tens of thousands of euro per year while the healthcare costs for governments and private insurers run into the billions. My start-up company, BioBeats, began with a mission to reduce people’s stress. We use biometric sensor technologies to understand stress and offer proven interventions that can reduce its impact. Wearables and smartphones can collect a wealth of data which are fed into artificial intelligence algorithms to anticipate moments of stress and deliver targeting interventions. By collecting biometric data for a couple of weeks, we can predict how you’ll sleep tonight or how you will perform at work next week. Opportunities in occupational health At first, we developed this product for the general public. The app, Hear and Now , is in the app store and teaches powerful deep-breathing exercises. These interventions are based on evidence-based techniques backed up by robust science. It soon became clear to us that the market for a tool like this is much bigger than stressed-out individuals keen on avoiding burnout. Employers have much to gain by understanding and reducing the burden of stress. Not only do companies want to curb avoidable absenteeism, they face a daily battle with presenteeism – people who turn up for work but are unproductive due to stress and worry. So, we built a dashboard for employers. The system collects information on employees which individuals can use to better understand when stress occurs and what causes it. They can then learn valuable stress-control techniques that improve their health. But for...