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EAPC Country of the Month - Argentina

The first report of an ESC Affiliated Cardiac Society - April 2020

Rehabilitation and Sports Cardiology
Risk Factors and Prevention


César Damián Berenstein, University Cardiologist

Instituto Médico de la Comunidad, El Bolsón, Provincia de Rio Negro, Centro Médico y de Diagnóstico del Sur, El Bolsón, Provincia de Rio Negro, and Consultorios Lehuen, Epuyén, Provincia de Chubut, Argentine Republic

This report has been prepared by the Argentine Society of Cardiology (ASC):

  • Prof. César Berenstein, ASC 2nd Vice President, year 2019
  • Dr. Hernán Cohen Arazi
  • Dr. Claudio Higa, FESC

Documents to download

Health care 

The Argentine Republic is a country located in the southern part of South America with more than 40 million inhabitants. The health care system in Argentina provides universal coverage for a wide range of diseases. However, it is a fragmented system that includes private medicine, social security and public coverage.

The public health care sector provides health care services free of charge, regardless of insurance status, and is financed mainly through tax revenues. Forty-four percent of the country’s population receives health care services from the public sector. In theory, prevention is one of the key objectives in each sector, however the results obtained are not related to the expectations.

Read the full report.

Risk factors 

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Argentina. According to the Ministry of Health, most cardiovascular risk factors are increasing in Argentina:

  • 61.6% of the Argentinian adult population have a BMI of ≥25 of which 36.2% are classified as overweigh and 25.4% as obese.
  • Hypertension and diabetes are increasing, affecting 35% and 12.7% of the population, respectively.
  • Smoking and physical inactivity are both the risk factors that are decreasing (22.2% and 44.2%). In the last National Survey on Risk Factors conducted in 2018. The prevalence of electronic cigarette in adult population was very low, 1.1%.

Read the full report

Main actors and prevention methods

In Argentina. the main actors in cardiovascular prevention care on the population may be concentrated in the government health authorities (national, provinces and districts) and the national cardiologic scientific societies and foundations. There is a dynamic interaction between these actors.

Read the full report.

Prevention activities

The Argentine Ministry of Health declares preventive strategies which focus on changes of lifestyle and it promotes nationwide rollout. Most of the interventions focus on nutrition and exercise, and are specially designed for kids. There are also several nationwide projects that focus on prevention or that aim at increasing physical activity. Private medicine companies promote medical screening programs with the main objectives of treating risk factors and detecting cardiovascular diseases at an early stage.

The Argentine Society of Cardiology (ACS) works to complement strategies to make the population aware about the risk of hypertension, diabetes and obesity. The “25 by 25 Initiative Commission” is one of the most important initiatives that promotes prevention in the Argentine Society of Cardiology, A Woman and Heart group is working on this as well, but is focused on CVD in women all around the country. Medical professional education on prevention care is organised through specialist courses for fellows in training, both via on-site and distance courses, university student’s activities, and through a Program of Continuous Education. There is a free-access ASC website for the community with reliable medical information called Wikicardio. The Argentinian Cardiology Foundation is active on social media on prevention issues, and the Argentinian Federation of Cardiology works annually on the “100,000 hearts” campaign.

Read the full report.

Cardiac rehabilitation

Unfortunately, there is no up-to-date data available on the exact number of cardiac rehabilitation centers in Argentina, referral rates, compliance/drop-out data, patient characteristics, etc.

With the objective of counting the active centers with cardiac rehabilitation programs in the country, the Argentine Society of Cardiology has an ongoing National Survey of Rehabilitation Centers, promoted by the Exercise Cardiology Council. Nevertheless, there many rehabilitation centers working on secondary prevention, most of them are private and social security. The Exercise Cardiology Council also works on educational courses and the recently published Argentinian Consensus of Cardiovascular Rehabilitation.

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Aims for the future

  • Make known the prevention objectives and the relevance of acquiring healthy habits through social networks and mass media.
  • Incorporate in our campaigns and preventive programs the different levels of education, public and non-governmental organizations.
  • Advise local and national government on legislation such as smoking and labeling food products.

Read the full report.

Note: The content of this article reflects the personal opinion of the author/s and is not necessarily the official position of the European Society of Cardiology.