On 23 January 2013, EPHA attended the Parliament Breakfast Briefing on inequalities in access to best therapies for acute heart attack patients. The event organised by the European Critical Care Foundation (ECCF) in collaboration with "Stent for Life" and hosted by MEP Antigoni Papadopoulou (Cyprus, S&D) discussed access to life-saving therapy.
“Chronic diseases constitute the largest health threat to the EU population, with cardiovascular disease (CVD) identified as the leading cause of death in Europe. Furthermore, cardiovascular diseases, which can lead to heart attacks, contribute to more fatalities than all cancers combined.” (ECCF)
The event, entitled “Improving access to life-saving therapy for acute heart attack patients - Combating a growing strain on health systems”, hosted a panel of cardiologists and other experts to present evidence from across Europe. The primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (p-PCI) was presented as one of the most effective treatments for patients with myocardial infraction (a type of heart attack).
Prevention is crucial. Chairman of the ECCF Board John Martin stressed that this also has economic impacts: “Cancer cannot be predicted, however heart attacks can be, and we can achieve good economic’ results through organisation changes”, he said. In times of crisis health economics is fundamental. Another key message concerned the time of response for treating a heart attack, as first aid and a very short response time are crucial to patient outcomes. Good outcomes also mean a faster return to the labour market and a reduction of hospital stay.
Health inequalities between patients remain a reality. As stressed by speakers, differences between EU countries can be observed, such as emergency transport response times.
Ms Papadopoulou expressed her concerns over the issue and requested further collaboration to keep the issue active on the political agenda. To demonstrate her support she presented a Written Declaration launched last year in the European Parliament on establishing an EU-wide cardiac arrest awareness week.
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