Shanghai – The first Pan Asian-Pacific (AP) ESC symposium in recognition of the rapidly growing problem of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the AP region was held at the Pudong Shangri-La Hotel in Shanghai on Saturday 27 September. A faculty of leading clinician-scientists in the areas of cardiovascular medicine, neurology and endocrinology from the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and Asia discussed the emerging CVD epidemic with an audience from more than 10 Asian countries. The programme, entitled ‘1st ESC Asia Cardiovascular Symposium – a considered approach to managing a complex challenge’, addressed state of the art in prevention and treatment of CVD.
The ESC represents nearly 55,000 cardiology professionals across Europe and the Mediterranean. The ESC comprises five Associations, five Councils, 19 Working Groups and 50 National Cardiac Societies. It also includes the distinguished community of ESC Fellows and Nurse Fellows. The ESC provides an array of scientific and educational activities, such as the production and continuous updating of Clinical Practice Guidelines, the organisation of educational courses and initiatives, pan-European surveys on specific disease areas and the ESC Congress, the largest medical meeting on CVD in the world. The ESC also holds, in conjunction with its constituent bodies, subspecialty congresses, and publishes seven world leading journals in cardiovascular medicine.
In view of the rising prevalence of CVD in Asia Pacific, there is a real and urgent need to raise awareness of this disease and its complications, and develop and adopt an integrated approach in managing risk factors for CVD. Estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that CVD accounts for more than 30 percent of deaths worldwide (18 million people/year).1
CVD has become more prevalent in India and China than in all of the economically-developed countries in the world combined.1 This is largely the result of a rising prevalence of diabetes, hypertension and obesity that is linked to the rapid adoption of an increasingly ‘westernised’ diet and lifestyle among the AP populations. The impact of rising levels of CVD is expected to have a substantial impact on the life of people in this region: From 2000 to 2030, it is estimated that the number of productive years lost to CVD will increase by 57 percent in China and 95 percent in India, compared with an increase of 20 percent in the United States.1
This one-day programme brought together a panel of eminent Asian and European leaders, and 300+ Asian delegates to explore current approaches to diagnosis, treatment and prevention of CVD, with specific focus on the challenges in the AP region.
The main objectives of the congress were to:
- Provide a unique opportunity to exchange information and share experience from Europe with physicians from the AP region
- Raise awareness of the impending CVD epidemic across the AP region, and the urgent need for implementation of strategies aimed at CVD prevention
- Examine the reasons and risk factors underlying this epidemic, and suggest CV risk-lowering strategies that are tailored to the needs of different populations
- Consider the feasibility of adopting the European strategy of assessing and treating total CV risk (including multiple risk factors) in the AP region
- Discuss whether European healthcare guidelines are applicable to direct management of CVD in the AP region, and how they may be adapted for different populations
- Formulate a consensus among the congress faculty on optimal approaches for the future management of CVD in the AP region.
The symposium was co-chaired by Professor Lars Rydén from the ESC, Professor Runlin Gao and Professor Chang-Yu Pan, all highly recognised leaders in the field. They encouraged delegates to participate in the discussion sessions and share best practice through electronic key pad voting. The meeting provided a valuable opportunity for Asian physicians to learn about state-of-the-art multidisciplinary management of CVD, as well as the latest scientific advances and latest clinical guidelines that may influence their daily practice.
At the end of the one-day congress, the faculty participated in a panel discussion underlining key steps to be taken to prepare for counteracting the impending epidemic of CVD in the AP region. In an ideal world, all barriers to improving CVD management in Asia Pacific should be addressed. However the panel took a realistic approach and identified several key areas of focus. It was clear that CVD management guidelines and risk assessment tools are critical to facilitate long-term disease prevention. The panel recognised the importance of developing appropriate tools to ensure geographical, cultural and genetic differences are addressed. They also agreed that while specific guidelines are the foundation for instigating a comprehensive approach to CVD management, wider communication and implementation may still be a challenge, and should therefore be the focus of future efforts. Furthermore, educational initiatives are still needed, to target professionals and healthcare providers, as well as specific patient groups.
This important ESC Asian initiative is supported by Bayer Schering Pharma Asia Pacific.