Heart Health Conference to promote heart plan for Europe

Resulting in a plan to promote cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention measures across Europe, the European Commission’s (EC) Heart Health Conference convened representatives of health ministries, national cardiac societies, and heart foundations, and was organised by the EC’s Directorate General Health and Consumer Protection, and the Luxembourg Presidency in partnership with the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

While the conference’s strategy was to reiterate the importance of conclusions from the Heart Health Council Meeting held in June 2004(1), its main objective was to come away with key actions that member states and the EC can implement to promote cardiovascular health in Europe. As such, member states will now take back to their ministries of health various national public health strategies. Detailed conclusions of the conference are contained in an official document entitled the ‘Luxembourg Declaration’(2).

Commenting on what needs to be done following the conference, Luxembourg Ministry of Health Mars Di Bartolomeo said, “A long term approach is necessary, through public health strategies which are transparent, multisectorial and multidisciplinary, based on best available research and scientific evidence.”

According to Professor Michal Tendera, ESC President, “Cardiovascular disease is definitely a political problem, since more than 40% of Europeans die of coronary artery disease, stroke and other cardiovascular conditions. I am happy that the ESC can address this problem together with politicians.”

The EC notes the threatening disease burden caused by CVD and notes its preventable nature and major determinates. The EC aims to tackle these determinates in the frame of its mandate and established instruments.

The Heart Health Conference gathered various perspectives from individual member states’ initiatives, the World Health Organisation’s strategy, and the European Heart Network’s policy. The conference also included information from the ESC’s CVD prevention initiatives Euro Action and EUROASPIRE 3 in collaboration with its newly founded branch for preventive cardiology, the European Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation (EACPR)(3). The ESC’s risk assessment tool HeartScore also was covered (4).

(1) 2586th Council Meeting Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs, 1-2 June 2004
(2) See http://www.escardio.org/vpo/press_releases/Heart+Health+Conference.htm for further information.
(3) Cardiovascular Disease Prevention is one of the ESC’s key priorities and includes initiatives EuroAction and EUROASPIRE 3, along with the EACPR. See http://www.escardio.org/initiatives/prevention/ for further information.
(4) For more information on HeartScore, see http://www.escardio.org/initiatives/prevention/HeartScore.htm.

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