European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium (12 July 2011): Leading national patient organisations, medical and economic experts presented their initiatives on stroke prevention to European policymakers today and called for a comprehensive EU strategy on cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in general, and stroke in particular with a special attention to risk factors such as atrial fibrillation (AF). Isabel de la Mata, Special Advisor on Public Health to Commissioner Dalli, also attended the lunch debate, co-hosted by Members of the European Parliament (MEP) Cecilia Wikström and Antigoni Papadopoulou.
Atrial Fibrillation (AF), one of the stroke risk factors, currently affects 4.5 million people in Europe and this number is expected to double by 2050 i. This heart disorder increases the risk of stroke five-fold. Strokes due to AF tend to be especially severe and disabling ii with half of patients dying within one year. iii
In the run-up to the World Health Organisation summit iv on major non communicable diseases and in anticipation of the EU year of active ageing in 2012, patient organisations and EU decision makers from all over Europe convened today to address key challenges and initiatives in stroke prevention and its principal risk factors.