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Events – Improving access to primary angioplasty

Health policy at EU level currently focuses the majority of its efforts on prevention, active and healthy ageing and chronic conditions. EU health policy also leaves responsibility for the organisation of healthcare largely to each member state. Consequently, relatively less attention is given to critical illness at EU level. ECCF's work on access to primary angioplasty focuses on the many and varied barriers that hinder access to this best treatment across Europe and draws attention to the inequalities and inequities across Europe that are the result.

Working in alliance with the Stent for Life Initiative, ECCF held a breakfast briefing on 23 January 2013 in the European Parliament to raise awareness of the issues and the resulting wide variations across Europe in use of this best practice procedure.

The European Society of Cardiology Guidelines recommend primary angioplasty as the preferred treatment whenever it is available within 90-120 minutes of first medical contact. It has been estimated that the relative risk of mortality one year after an acute heart attack increases by 1 percent for every 3 minutes delay between symptom onset to treatment. (De Luga G et al. Circulation 2004; 109:1223-1225).

Therefore time is of the essence in:

  • The patient recognising the symptoms of acute heart attack


  • Calling the emergency services


  • Rapid diagnosis and transmission of the electrocardiogram from the ambulance to the hospital


  • Directing the ambulance to a hospital equipped and staffed to carry out the procedure at the european parliament debate, eccf together with stent for life initiative


  • Presented scientific evidence for the superiority of primary angioplasty over the main alternative treatment, thrombolysis


  • Presented statistical evidence of the wide variations in access to this best treatment across europe


  • Described the various organisational barriers which limit access to this treatment


  • Explained how best organisational practices across hospital networks and emergency medical systems, together with multi-stakeholder engagement and good data collection practices are contribute to improvements


  • Provided examples of how these best practices can be replicated across the regions and countries of europe


  • Called on the european union and member states to address these inequalities and raise standards to the level of the best performing countries and encourage the diffusion of ppci across europe.


the ECCF and Stent for Life Initiative Alliance by clicking here.

See the slide presentation made in the European Parliament by clicking here.


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