Dr. Guy De Backer,
The content of this symposium was much larger than the title would suggest. All speakers presented excellent ideas based on national experiences on how to improve the implementation of the European Heart Health Charter and of the Joint European Societies Guidelines on Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) prevention in clinical practice. More is needed and this means, among other things, the need for structural changes involving a societal approach including educational and socio-economic issues and a strategy to prevent first and recurrent CV events in high-risk subjects and in patients with established CVD. H. McGee’s intervention was focused on behavioural changes in society, aiming at the prevention of not only CVD but also of other chronic conditions such as diabetes, certain cancers and COPD. In parallel and in analogy with existing rehabilitation centres, there is a need to create “prevention centres” or to integrate prevention of CVD within existing welfare centres or other social networks. D. Vanuzzo reported on the experience in Italy where an alliance of cardiologists, general practitioners and public health officers have developed, with the support of the government a national prevention plan aiming at the primary and secondary prevention of CVD. Results were presented on the CUORI project, the GOSPEL study and the ISYDE survey .He emphasised the need for continuous evaluation of the effects of such programs; preliminary results look very positive. The experience from Switzerland was presented by H.Saner; a community based programme was launched as part of the European Heart Health Charter. Another success story relates to the establishment of a prevention centre within the hospital focusing not only on the rehabilitation and prevention of coronary patients but also involving patients with peripheral artery disease, stroke, diabetes and elderly high-risk subjects. Finally D.Wood reported on the development of the “My Action” program in the UK .This program was based on the results of the ASPIRE-2 survey and on the experience in the EUROACTION demonstration project. “My Action” involves the development of a community center of excellence in the field of CVD prevention and attracts not only patients with CVD, but also their families with a focus on lifestyle changes.
This symposium gave the audience excellent ideas on how structural changes in society and in the medical community can be approached as part of a comprehensive strategy of CVD prevention taking into consideration the socio-economic, cultural differences that exist between European countries.
Prevention centre: a novel concept in cardiac rehabilitation
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