Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the main cause of death and disability in Europe. WHO estimates that modest population-wide and simultaneous reductions in blood pressure, obesity, cholesterol and tobacco use would more than halve CVD incidence. To address the significant burden of CVD in Europe and to determine specific areas of intervention to contribute to preventing avoidable deaths and disability, the European Heart Network and the European Society of Cardiology have created a joint project called EuroHeart. This project, which involves partners in 21 countries in the EU and the EEA, receives co-funding from the European Commission Public Health Programme 2003-2008.
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The project, which started in April 2007 and finished in March 2010, has 5 major objectives, outlined below.
The specific objectives of the EuroHeart project are to:1. Mobilise broad support for cardiovascular health promotion and cardiovascular disease prevention with a view to achieving stronger cross sector cooperation. The mechanism whereby this will be carried out is through the launch of a European Heart Health Charter. The aim of the Charter is to substantially reduce the burden of CVD in the European Union and the WHO European Region and to reduce inequalities/inequities in the disease burden within and between countries. Timeline: April – September 2007.2. Map and analyse national plans, policies and measures impacting on cardiovascular health promotion and cardiovascular disease prevention. This objective aims to obtain comprehensive comparable information on policies and actions impacting on cardiovascular health (CVH) promotion and CVD prevention in 16 EU countries. It will provide a model for national plans. It will also identify gaps in policies and actions across Europe and improve awareness of the importance of considering heart health in a wide range of policies. A table listing policies that impact on behavioural aspects of CVH/CVD will be drawn and filled in with an analysis of which policies are adopted and implemented in the participating countries. Equally, a table listing measures including emergency services, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), implementation of guidelines will be drawn up and filled in with information from the participating countries. Timeline: October 2007 – September 2009.The work performed in the framework of this work package came to an end at the conference organised on 10 September 2009 on “Combating heart disease and stroke – Planning for a healthier Europe”. At this conference, the report “Cardiovascular disease prevention in Europe – the unfinished agenda” was presented. This report provides an overview of existing national strategies and actions in the fields of cardiovascular health promotion and/or disease prevention in 16 countries in Europe.3. Investigate issues concerning CVD in women. The project will collate information on research specifically on women, enrolment of women in clinical trials, awareness-raising campaigns targeting women and educational programmes targeting health professionals. It aims at improving the awareness, diagnosis and treatment of CVD in women. It will also provide recommendations for awareness campaigns targeting women and for educational programmes for health professionals. Timeline: October 2008 – March 2010. The reports from this work package can be consulted via this link.4. Improve prevention practices at primary care level by developing local- language versions of the web-based interactive CVD risk assessment tool, HeartScore. Timeline: February 2008 – March 2010.5. Implement and adapt European guidelines on CVD prevention to national situations. The adaptation/translation of the guidelines to the national situations will facilitate the use of the guidelines by the medical community in each country. This will lead to increased knowledge on preventive measures and risk factor identification and will reduce the gap between objectives outlined in the European guidelines for CVD prevention and the day to day situation in clinical practice. Moreover, the adaptation/translation of the guidelines to the national situations will allow networking and development of national alliances among sister organisations (e.g. equivalent to the Joint Prevention Committee at European level). Timeline: December 2007 – May 2009.