ESC Press Release on AFFECT-EU: EU funds projects on heart rhythm disorders and sudden cardiac death

Sophia Antipolis – 20 April 2020:  The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) today announces its participation in two large-scale EU funded projects to detect heart rhythm disorders and prevent sudden cardiac death.1 

AFFECT-EU aims to develop a universal screening algorithm for atrial fibrillation, the most common heart rhythm disorder and a major cause of disabling strokes. The cost-effectiveness and acceptability of the screening method will be evaluated in different European healthcare systems.

EHRA President Professor Hein Heidbuchel said: “EHRA and the ESC have members in every European country. We can provide a helicopter view of healthcare delivery and realities in each country, enabling the project to create a screening approach that benefits patients across Europe.”

Sudden cardiac death is a major public health problem accounting for approximately 20% of deaths in Europe. Most sudden cardiac deaths occur in patients with previous heart attack and some could be prevented with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). PROFID will develop a clinical decision support tool to identify which heart attack patients would benefit the most from an ICD.

Professor Heidbuchel said: “The tools we currently use to decide which patients receive an ICD are based on data that are 15 years old. Medicine has evolved and some patients receiving contemporary care may not need an ICD, while others may be inappropriately denied one. The project aims to redefine optimal ICD use, which is important for individual patients and for society at large.”

AFFECT-EU and PROFID are funded by Horizon 2020 grants. Another grant proposal has been submitted for EHRA-PATHS, which would be the first multicentre international study on integrated care for patients with atrial fibrillation and at least one additional chronic condition. EHRA and the ESC will coordinate the multidisciplinary programme, which will involve cardiologists and other specialists.

Professor Heidbuchel said: “The main novelties are that we will map the care pathways of multimorbid patients at the highest risk, and then evaluate the reasons why those care pathways are not implemented. We can then come up with practical solutions adapted to different hospitals and regions.”


Notes to editor

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horizon2020AFFECT-EU receiving funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation Programme under grant agreement N°847770. This reflects the authors’ view only. The Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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