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Ahead of World Health Day, the ESC calls on all political parties to tackle cardiovascular disease


Complacency and lack of strategic investment are defeating our efforts to tackle Europe’s biggest killer – cardiovascular disease (CVD). With CVD accounting for 37% of all deaths in the European Union, (translating to over 1,7 million lives lost annually), the ESC welcomes one of the EU’s largest political party’s commitment to creating a European Cardiovascular Health Plan.  
Ahead of the European Parliament elections from 6 to 9 June, the ESC is calling on all political parties to ensure cardiovascular health is included as the cornerstone of their health, equality, and economic manifestos.  The European People’s Party (EPP) is the first party to call for a European Cardiovascular Health Plan, supported by a European Cardiovascular Knowledge Centre. This would bring together essential cardiovascular data to support policy making, funding decisions and critically, an opportunity to run European wide registries and research for cardiovascular health.   
“As doctors, nurses, scientists, and heart health professionals, we witness the terrible impact of CVD on the lives of our patients and their loved ones every day. That’s real. As is the evidence that makes the scale and cost of CVD irrefutable. Our call for action is a matter of urgency and should be included in all Party manifestos ahead of the EU Parliamentary election.” " said Prof. Franz Weidinger, ESC President.  
A human disaster on the scale of cardiovascular disease can no longer be faced with political immobility. As such the ESC, in collaboration with its 57 National Cardiac Societies across Europe and the Mediterranean basin and partners of the European Alliance for Cardiovascular Health (EACH), is working relentlessly to support the creation of national CV health plans, as well as a European Cardiovascular Health Plan.  
For the ESC, such a plan to deal with heart and vascular diseases would be integrative, encompassing all key risk factors, including diabetes, stroke and mental health, that are directly linked with cardiovascular disease. We must treat our patients and their conditions holistically and not in silos.  
The Cardiovascular Knowledge Centre would be a major step change in dealing with patient data and its use to drive medical knowledge and research. It will harmonize the definition of data standards, provide high-quality and broad scale data, set research priorities and even facilitate the coordination of research projects in CV medicine and beyond.   
Join the ESC’s movement to make cardiovascular health and beating cardiovascular disease, Europe’s number one health priority.   


EU - CVD in numbers  
  • CVD is the EU’s biggest killer, representing 37% of all deaths, representing 1.7 million lives lost each year1  
  • CVD kills more women than men, representing 40% of all deaths in women2  
  • The risk of mortality following a heart attack being 20% greater in women compared to men3 
  • More than 53 million people in EU are living with CVD4  
  • More than half of CVD deaths are preventable5 
  • In 2021, CVD cost the European Union more than 282 billion euros6  

Notes to editor

ESC Press Office
Tel: +33 (0) 7 8531 2036



1 ESC Atlas of Cardiology 2 ESC Atlas of Cardiology

3 Women face a 20% increased risk of developing heart failure or dying within five years after their first severe heart attack compared with men, Ezekowitz, J. A., et al. (2020) Is There a Sex Gap in Surviving an Acute Coronary Syndrome or Subsequent Development of Heart Failure?. Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

4 ESC Atlas of Cardiology

5 The Global Cardiovascular Risk Consortium

6 Economic burden of cardiovascular diseases in the European Union: a population-based cost study


About the European Society of Cardiology

The ESC brings together health care professionals from more than 150 countries, working to advance cardiovascular medicine and help people to live longer, healthier lives.