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Access to Primary Angioplasty looks into the structural factors that limit the delivery of primary angioplasty to treat acute heart attacks in Europe and therefore increase mortality and morbidity in those patients. These factors result in variations in outcomes across Europe, despite studies which indicate that this is a clinically-proven best treatment.


With the implementation of the Cross-border Healthcare Directive fully underway, ECCF looks at the reality of access to best therapy for acute heart attack patients in border regions.


ECCF’s work on extremely pre-term births looks at the factors limiting decision-making in extremely premature births. Decision-making guidelines vary widely across Europe and may have very different consequences for the patient, their families and society. ECCF aims to highlight these disparities, and develop recommendations relating to neonatal policies and practices that better support decision-makers in these critical situations.


In 2015, ECCF looked into the decline of autopsy and its implications for critically ill patients.


For more than three decades, hundreds of articles deploring the decline in autopsy rates have been published. However, the reasons for the decline are unclear. Economic costs of carrying out autopsies, changes in cultural attitudes towards this practice, as well as improved diagnostic techniques during lifetime, have been cited as factors contributing to this trend. The result may be that society is losing much in terms of quality of health care, clinical skills and insights gained through autopsy-based research. The treatment of critically ill patients might still be improved by feedback and learning from autopsies. Therefore, deeper insights into the reasons for decline are needed as well as exploration of solutions arising for example through new technologies and non-invasive ’virtual’ autopsies. However even with these possibilities, public attitudes are likely to remain an important factor in the use of this procedure. 


ECCF looked at variations in the use of autopsy procedures across Europe and asked whether the general decline in this procedure is depriving medical science of information that is needed to feed back into more accurate diagnoses of critically ill patients. The aim of the project is to improve understanding of the reasons for, and implications of the decline in this procedure. Autopsies continue to provide information of importance to medical science, which ultimately leads to improved patient outcomes.



Autopsy room








Stethoscope on Medical Record




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