Time To Act To Change The Beat: Tackling Cardiovascular disease has never been more urgent

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  • Posted on 29.09.2023

Time To Act To Change The Beat: Tackling Cardiovascular disease has never been more urgent


Jean-Luc Lemercier

Corporate Vice President Edwards Lifesciences, EMEA, Canada, Latin America and JAPAC & Chair of the Cardiovascular Sector Group of MedTech Europe

On this World Heart Day, it is crucial to stand together in our call to achieve better cardiovascular health for all. As chair of the MedTech Europe Cardiovascular Sector Group, I feel the need to underline once again the urgency of addressing this issue.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is more than a health concern; it’s an important societal challenge that knows no boundaries of age or gender. In Europe, it claims more than 1.8 million lives each year, ranking as the leading cause of death[1]. This silent killer continues to take a heavy toll on our society, economy, and healthcare systems. The cost of CVD to the EU is above 282 billion euros per year, surpassing the entire EU budget.[2]

Furthermore, the impact of COVID-19 has worsened the impact of CVD, as many countries in the EU continue to experience excess death, and CVD has been a major contributor.[3] Challenges in healthcare infrastructure and workforce shortages are continuing to hinder CVD patients’ access to care.

In light of the impending European Parliament elections, the time for action is now. I urgently call for Cardiovascular Health to become a key priority during the European Parliament elections and for the new European Commission’s mandate.

By prioritising cardiovascular health, we are investing not only in the well-being of our citizens but also in the prosperity of our nations.

1 – A Dedicated European Cardiovascular Health Plan

To reverse the tide of cardiovascular disease, we advocate for the creation of a dedicated European Cardiovascular Health Plan (EU CVH Plan). This comprehensive strategy will serve as a roadmap to prevent CVD, enhance early diagnosis and detection, ensure access to patient-centred treatments, and improve quality of life.

2 – Investment of EU Funds for Plan Deployment

An ambitious Cardiovascular Health Plan should receive appropriate resources to enable its effective execution. We call upon the European Union to dedicate substantial funds to bring to life the EU CVH Plan. These investments will drive research and innovation. We must recognize the pivotal role that innovative technologies and digital tools can play in detecting, and treating cardiovascular disease, whilst contributing to improving working conditions for healthcare professionals.

3 – Establishment of a European Cardiovascular Health Knowledge Centre

Knowledge is the cornerstone of our battle against cardiovascular disease. Thus, we propose the establishment of a European Cardiovascular Health Knowledge Center. This hub will foster cross-border collaboration and will address the current fragmentation and critical gaps in reliable data.

These three actions lay the foundation of our strategy to combat cardiovascular disease in Europe.

On this World Heart Day, let’s commit to achieving a Europe where heart health is a priority, where preventive detection measures are within everyone’s reach, and where cutting-edge treatments are readily accessible. Our industry stands ready. We now need firm political commitment and action from EU leaders, and for that, we join the call of the EU Alliance for Cardiovascular Health (EACH) of whom we are a proud partner.

Together, we can pave the path towards a healthier, heart-strong Europe. It’s time to act to change the beat, and together, make Europe’s heart healthier than ever before.

[1] European Society of Cardiology. 2019. Fact sheets. https://www.escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Fact-sheets

[2] European Society of Cardiology. 2023. Price tag on cardiovascular disease in Europe higher than entire EU budget. https://www.escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Press-releases/Price-tag-on-cardiovascular-disease-in-Europe-higher-than-entire-EU-budget

[3] Cardiovascular disease should be a priority for health systems globally. BMJ 2023;382:e076576 http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj-2023-076576

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