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Environment & the Heart

ESC Congress 2015 Spotlight

The Spotlight of the ESC Congress 2015, "Environment and the Heart", highlights the many different kinds of interactions between the Environment and Cardiovascular Diseases.


A healthy environment for a healthy heart

Environmental risks, in particular air and noise pollution have a substantial impact on cardiovascular health.
Help us ask EU policymakers to take action.

Access resources (abstracts, slides, videos and reports) from sessions held during ESC Congress 2015 on this important track.


Read the latest press releases highlighting the interactions between the Environment and the Heart:

Read more with articles published in the Congress News


Faces in the crowd - How important is the environment in CVD?

Akvile Smigelskaite, Cardiology Resident from Vilnius, Lithuania

Society needs to promote the infrastructure for better environments to help the entire population incorporate exercise into their everyday lives. One way would be to provide free bikes to encourage people not to use their cars and to introduce safe cycle lanes and walkways in cities that allow people to get from A to B on foot. Such strategies would have the double benefit of reducing pollution and increasing the amount of exercise people take. Local authorities should ensure that parks are secure places where people feel comfortable to exercise.  It is also important to provide peaceful environments that help people to unwind from the stress of modern life, since this is also a major cause of  cardiovascular disease.

Austine Obasohan, Clinical Cardiologist from Benin City, Nigeria

The emphasis isn’t so much on atmospheric pollution. It’s on others areas of the environment which affect health and socio-economic factors. These include poor diet and hygiene as well as infections with an impact on the heart such as rheumatic fever, a problem that leads to valve disease. Poverty leads to poor diet although it is also a disease of affluence. Even in the developed world ischaemic disease is common and there’s a general tendency to copy diet in the western world. I mean such as food high in fat as well as salt which leads to hypertension.

Edward Vogl, Clinical Cardiologist from Sidney, Australia

Although the environment is emerging as an important issue in the development of cardiovascular disease, it still isn’t something that a lot of people know much about. The problem is that you can’t easily set up an interventional study and expect results two years later, making it hard to keep the issue in the limelight. Another difficulty is that the environment isn’t under the control of individual patients, and short of moving to a different area there isn’t much they can do to influence it.  It is a societal issue that needs to be addressed by politicians, multinational companies and big business rather than members of the public, although they can play an important role in lobbying for change.

Mark Westwood, Interventional cardiologist and cardiac imaging director from London

Here in East London we have some of the highest social deprivation in the country. So environment is a significant factor in cardiovascular disease in boroughs such as Newham and Hackney. It’s about the impact of socio-economic factors such as diet and lifestyle. The smoking rates in this part of the city are much higher than in other parts of the UK. I work at Barts Health and we work hard with local communities to educate them about smoking cessation. Our goal is to address the whole picture - prevention and accessing healthcare services in a timely manner.