The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) is participating in two large-scale EU-funded projects to detect heart rhythm disorders and prevent sudden cardiac death.
The first of the projects, AFFECT-EU, aims to develop a universal screening algorithm for atrial fibrillation (AF), and will seek to evaluate the cost-effectiveness and acceptability of the screening method in different European healthcare systems.
European Heart Rhythm Association (EHRA) president Hein Heidbuchel (Antwerp University, Antwerp, Belgium) 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). The second study, PROFID, will develop a clinical decision support tool to identify which heart attack patients would benefit the most from an ICD.
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 AF and at least one additional chronic condition. EHRA and the ESC will coordinate the multidisciplinary programme, which will involve cardiologists and other specialists, the organisations said in a press release.
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.”