Conferences & Expos

Global taskforce calls for adoption of goal to reduce mortality from NCDs by 25%


In a major scoop for Dubai, the city played host to the biannual World Cardiology Congress in April. Almost 11,000 delegates from across the globe attended the congress to share the latest science on treatment and prevention and meet and exchange knowledge. Middle East Health was there and provides a brief summary of some of the presentations.

Global Cardiovascular Disease Taskforce At the World Congress of Cardiology, the Global Cardiovascular Disease Taskforce, made up of leadership from the world’s largest cardiovascular disease organizations including the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, European Heart Network, European Society of Cardiology and the World Heart Federation, called on delegates at the congress, and the CVD community at large, to support the adoption of a global goal to reduce premature non-communicable disease (NCD) mortality by 25% by 2025.

As the leading cause of death worldwide, NCDs are responsible for more than 36 million deaths each year. Nearly half of these – 17.3 million – are due to CVD, a number that fails to fully reflect the social and economic impact on families, communities and countries. Yet NCDs, and CVD specifically, continue to be viewed as “lifestyle” diseases primarily afflicting those in high-income countries. In fact, the greatest CVD burden falls on low- and middle-income countries where 80% of all CVD deaths occur, and it is increasingly impacting people during their most productive years. The enormous human and financial cost associated with CVD led to a joint effort to bring CVD and other NCDs to the attention of global leaders outside of the traditional health sector.

This call was answered in September 2011 when world leaders gathered for the second ever United Nations High-level Meeting on a health issue, to discuss the growing epidemic of NCDs and make a concerted commitment to halt and reverse the NCD burden. Formalized in a Political Declaration on NCDs, governments made a set of commitments to reduce this burden through a comprehensive framework inclusive of global targets.

“The set of global targets and indicators to be reviewed and potentially adopted at the World Health Assembly – the annual General Meeting of the World Health Organization in Geneva – is the first and most important step in creating global change,” said American Heart Association CEO, Nancy Brown. Task force member and President of the World Heart Federation Professor Sidney C. Smith Jr. added: “The Global CVD Taskforce strongly supports keeping the first target of reducing premature NCD mortality 25% by 2025 and are aligning with the broader NCD community in renaming it an overarching goal. A global mortality goal will provide a shared vision of NCDs for all stakeholders and ensure that the world works together to address this global burden.”

Women with acute coronary syndrome

Women with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) receive inferior or less aggressive treatment compared to men, according to three large studies presented at the World Congress of Cardiology. The new studies from India, China and Middle East expose the extent of the problem.

The CREATE registry study of 20,468 patients in India revealed that relatively fewer women are admitted with ACS. Moreover, these women are older, reach hospital later, have more risk factors, receive inferior treatments and have worse outcomes.

While the BRIG project study of 3,168 patients in China concluded that a substantial portion of women with ACS did not receive proper treatment during hospitalization compared with men.

Similarly, a study of 4,229 ACS patients in the Middle East found that women tended to be admitted to hospital later than men and had more comorbid disease. These women received commonly used treatments less frequently than men, although in the case of the Middle East study this did not appear to impact inpatient mortality.

“These three studies paint a consistent picture around the world and all serve to demonstrate that women with ACS are unfortunately not receiving the same treatment as men,” said Prof. Sidney C Smith Jr, MD, President, World Heart Federation. “This is something that has to be addressed as a matter of urgency.”


AstraZeneca Gulf, in partnership with the Emirates Cardiac Society (ECS), announced further results of its CEPHEUS observational study, highlighting that 53% of patients in the Gulf with Type II diabetes who are being treated for hyperlipidemia are not meeting their goals for the reduction of ‘bad cholesterol’ (LDL–C), and are therefore at an exponentially greater risk of heart attacks due co-existence of diabetes and raised cholesterol levels. The results from the CEPHEUS study were released on a poster at the World Congress of Cardiology.

The CEPHEUS study is the first of its kind and the largest study on cholesterol management conducted in the Gulf countries, covering more than 5,000 patients. CEPHEUS looked at the treatment situation for high cholesterol in high-risk individuals, trying to establish the percentage of patients who achieve target cholesterol goals based on American Guidelines (NCEP ATP). It also aimed to identify and understand physician and patient characteristics that may influence or contribute to the treatment situation. Of the 5,457 patients enrolled, 3,350 (61.39%) had diabetes, and of them, only 47% managed to achieve their LDL target.

“It’s very concerning to see such a large proportion of diabetic patients, who are at a generally higher risk of heart disease, not meeting their cholesterol treatment goals,” said Dr Wael Abdulrahman Almahmeed, member and former president of the Emirates Cardiac Society, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Head of the Cardiology, Heart and Vascular Institute at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi, and UAE Principal Investigator of the CEPHEUS study. “This group of patients needs to be more attentive and focused on meeting their targets because their chances of a cardiovascular event are higher. Here is where the communication between doctor and patient needs to be strengthened. Doctors need to stress that immediate action is required and explain the potential risks that are involved with both conditions. The more we educate the patients, the more we can empower them to make changes.”

Sign the charter against stroke

Atrial fibrillation can increase the risk of stroke by up to 500%. In a move to raise awareness about this, pharmaceutical company Bayer sponsored a campaign at the World Cardiology Congress called Sign Against Stroke in Atrial Fibrillation. The worldwide call to action, the Patient Charter and supporting Sign Against Stroke in Atrial Fibrillation campaign address this under-recognised but growing cardiovascular public health issue.

The Charter offers strategies and solutions that could prevent millions of people from dying or becoming disabled from a stroke caused by atrial fibrillation (AF), an under-diagnosed, under-treated and potentially life threatening condition.

Tens of millions of people around the world are affected by AF, an abnormal heart rhythm and a major risk factor for stroke – a potentially disabling or deadly event. AF causes the two upper chambers of the heart (the atria) to quiver instead of beating effectively, resulting in blood not being completely pumped out, which in turn causes pooling and can lead to clotting. These clots can travel to the brain and trigger a major and often fatal stroke. Sixty-eight patient organisations and medical societies from around the world are asking the general public, healthcare professionals and policy makers to work with them to drive action that will prevent serious and devastating AF-related strokes. People are being encouraged to show their support by visiting the campaign website,, and signing the Charter.

“Every 12 seconds someone in the world will suffer from an AF-related stroke,” said Trudie Lobban MBE, Founder and Trustee, Arrhythmia Alliance, and Co-Founder and CEO, Atrial Fibrillation Association. “However, unlike high blood pressure or diabetes, many people have never heard of atrial fibrillation. This is a condition that increases our risk of stroke by 500% and yet, with early diagnosis and appropriate anticoagulation, the majority of AFrelated strokes can be prevented.”

Exercise redces risk of death from CVD in people with high BP

People with high blood pressure that exercise could be reducing their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease (CVD) or all-cause mortality to a level that is equivalent to reducing blood pressure by 40~50 mmHg, according to a new study presented at the World Congress of Cardiology.

In the study, all-cause and CVD mortality risks were found to be significantly higher among study participants that didn’t exercise compared with active participants at all blood pressure levels. Moreover, the excess mortality risks of physical inactivity, when converted into a “blood pressure equivalence of physical activity” measurement, revealed that physical inactivity was similar to a rise in mortality risk equivalent to an increase in blood pressure of 40-50 mmHg.

“The risk of developing CVD has been proven to increase significantly as blood pressure increases; and reducing blood pressure to reduce CVD risk is an important treatment goal for all physicians,” said CP Wen, Institute of Population Health Science, National Health Research Institute, Taiwan. “This study is the first to quantify the impact of exercise on the risk profile of people with high blood pressure. Appreciating this relationship will hopefully help to motivate people with high blood pressure that are inactive to take exercise.”


 Date of upload: 26th Jul 2012


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