The European Society of Cardiology calls for urgent research into cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment

An image to illustrate cardiovascular disease
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Top European scientists, including from the European Society of Cardiology, have called for urgent research into cardiovascular disease prevention and treatment.

The EU-funded ERA–CVD is a coalition of 24 partners including the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). It has called for urgent action in cardiovascular disease research.

The burden of cardiovascular disease

According to the European Society of Cardiology:

  • Cardiovascular diseases cause more death and disability than cancer;
  • Cardiovascular disease research funding lags behind cancer research;
  • More than ten thousand patients die of cardiovascular disease in Europe every day; and
  • Cardiovascular disease is expected to remain the primary reason for the disease burden, death, and premature death in Europe for the next twenty years.

The report states: “There is false optimism that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is no longer a public health problem.”

The urgent need to detect cardiovascular disease earlier

Tomasz Guzik, Chair of the ESC Research and Grants Committee, commented: “In spite of cardiovascular disease (CVD) remaining the main cause of death globally, research – and new medicines available to patients – have declined over the last ten years. Innovative methods and more clinical trials in cardiology are required to ensure that we can address the vast unmet needs we see today. We need to detect CVD earlier and avoid acute events that lead to irreversible damage and chronic illness. A strategic research agenda for CVD at the European level will help ensure that research efforts and investment are directed at the most pressing questions.”

Proposed research topics

They have proposed fifteen topics for cardiovascular disease research in the categories of prevention strategies, treatment and management, and living with chronic cardiovascular diseases.

Among the proposed topics are:

  • “Can wearables help people improve and maintain a healthy lifestyle?
  • How to anticipate and prevent heart attack, cardiac arrest, and stroke.
  • Using data on genetics, physical and mental health, and socioeconomic status to tailor risk assessment, lifestyle advice, and preventive treatment;
  • How CVD interacts with cancer and diabetes and the potential for combined treatments;
  • Clarifying the biological, behavioural, and social mechanisms of CVD in women versus men;
  • Understanding the crosstalk between cognitive decline and CVD to jointly tackle both conditions;
  • Ways to support CVD patients with depression, anxiety, and extreme tiredness;
  • What CVD patients and caregivers need and expect from healthcare providers at the end of life; and
  • Research on new advanced cell-derived therapies to detain the progression of acute heart disease to heart failure.”
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