• EHN Patient Activities

  • July 04th 2021
  • Cardiovascular disease 


    Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a group of disorders, all related to the heart and circulatory (vascular) system. CVD is the most prevalent disease in Europe. Most recent data from the Global Burden of Disease database estimate that, in the EU, more than 60 million people live with CVD and that close to 13 million new cases of CVD are diagnosed every year. For more data on CVD please click on CVD statistics (currently under review).


    Who is at risk of developing CVD? 


    Everyone is at risk of developing CVD. CVD can be caused by non-modifiable risk factors such as genetic make-up, age and gender of the individual, as well as by biological conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Behavioural factors, including unhealthy diet, smoking, stress and lack of physical activity also play a role in increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

    Being diagnosed with a cardiovascular disease or suffering a stroke can be frightening and overwhelming for anyone, including family members. However, today, with the support of healthcare professionals, cardiac and stroke rehabilitation programmes, appropriate medical treatment and digital technologies, people can continue to live active and productive lives.

    For more information, see the EHN’s Papers here and read the EHN Charter for European CVD Patients.

    If you are a person living with a cardiovascular disease and would like to know more about your condition, please contact one of our member organisations. Contact details are available in our “Members” section.


    EHN Patient Working Group


    Almost half of EHN members are patient organisations supporting people living with cardiovascular disease and representing the patient voice at national level. Their combined outreach is over 2 million patients and carers in Europe. Together, we engage in influencing European policies to improve diagnosis, treatment and quality of life for people with cardiovascular disease. We do this by:

    • connecting our members to facilitate networking, sharing information, expertise and best practices
    • supporting our members in their national advocacy efforts
    • representing patients’ interests in European policy platforms
    • enabling and empowering patient engagement in policy and research.

    The EHN Patient Working Group meets face-to-face once a year and often virtually. The Group also interacts with the EHN’s Research Platform to ensure that tomorrow’s scientific progress and treatments meet patients’ needs, including in terms of quality of life, without taking the responsibility of patient care away from healthcare professionals.


    Representing CVD patients at European level

    Since 2008, EHN has been a member of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) Patients' and Consumers' Working Party (PCWP), a platform where European patient and consumer organisations discuss and advise the EMA on matters of direct or indirect interest to patients in relation to medicines for human use. EHN, on behalf of its members, provides input as needed on relevant EMA-scientific and regulatory discussions.

    EHN served as a member of the EMA and Heads of Medicines Agencies (HMA) joint Big Data Steering group from 2020 to 2022. The Steering Group advises the EMA Management Board and HMA on prioritisation and planning of actions to implement the ten priority recommendations for the European medicines regulatory network, to make best use of big data in medicinal innovation and regulation in the European Union.

    For more information about the the Agency, please consult the EMA website.


    Linking patients with the research and medical communities 


    In addition to working closely with EHN’s Research Platform, EHN and its members carry patient needs and preferences forward in EU-funded projects. Click here for information on EU-funded projects that EHN has been involved in.