Cardiovascular disease represents the single most important disease presenting to primary care physicians in Europe, based upon its position as the number one cause of death (through myocardial infarction and stroke), the commonest cause of premature death (before the age of 65) and the major cause of disability. Furthermore, cardiovascular disease is a consequent high cost to health care systems throughout Europe, with two of the commonest manifestations of cardiovascular disease, namely stroke and heart failure, occupying the top two most costly conditions to treat.
EPCCS & CV Disease
The focus of the EPCCS is directed on the interests of those working within primary care and aims to utilise the considerable evidence base that currently exists and contributes to extending the scientific evidence where appropriate. The initial emphasis for the Society is upon the education of health care providers. Amongst the current activities of the EPCCS are symposia, organised around major primary care meetings, such as WONCA and an annual stand alone clinical conference. Furthermore, close links are under review with the European Society for Cardiology (ESC) to bring the EPCCS closer to specialist colleagues.
Cardiovascular Disease in Europe
Cardiovascular diseases have major impact on mortality as well as on the cost and quality of life in all European countries and are largely preventable. A large proportion of CVD could be prevented by lifestyle modifications alone. A balanced mix of community and medical approaches holds the most promise for preventing CVD. Primary prevention will require an expansion of risk factor assessments and global risk scoring, prioritising cost effective interventions in moderate and high risk people.
CV Disease & Primary Care
plays an important role in the detection, treatment, and monitoring of patients with raised risk of cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, many European countries have large-scale programmes to improve prevention and risk management of cardiovascular diseases in primary care, such as educational outreach visits in The Netherlands, disease management in Germany, and indicator-based incentive contracts in the United Kingdom. Other countries, such as France and Belgium, have local and regional quality improvement projects.