The study population consists of consecutive patients aged < 80 years, hospitalised because of CHD in the participating centres at least 6 months but no longer than 3 years before the survey visit.
A total of 13935 medical records were retrieved and 8966 patients participated in the visit. Standardised methods were used to study lifestyles, the management of coronary risk factors and the use of cardioprotective drugs.
At the time of the interview 17,2% of all patients was still smoking tobacco, even 38% in patients < 50years old; only one in two of those who smoked before the index event had stopped.
The prevalence rates of overweight and obesity are alarming in all centres ; the proportions with a waist circumference indicating central obesity were respectively 46 and 74% in men and women.
Regular exercise is not taken up by a majority of patients.
Control of elevated blood pressure is still problematic with more than 60% of the patients not at goal despite the fact that antihypertensive drugs are largely used.
Control of elevated total or LDL cholesterol has improved through a better use of statins; however bringing the goal for total cholesterol to < 4.5mmol/l in the guidelines of 2003 results in 51 % of patients not reaching that goal in EUROASPIRE III.
The prevalence of self reported diabetes is 23% ; another 11% has undetected diabetes and still another 30% has impaired fasting glycaemia. The therapeutic control of diabetes is poor.
Only one in three of the patients had participated in a formal cardiac rehabilitation programme.
The use of cardioprotective drugs such as anti platelet aggregants, betablockers or ACE inhibitors is high .
The overall results of EUROASPIRE III are rather disappointing. The poor results regarding diabetes, hypertension and obesity may be a reflection of adverse lifestyle developments going on in the background populations of numerous European countries.However the results also indicate that insufficient attention goes into lifestyles both from the side of the clinicians and from the patients themselves.
A more comprehensive multidisciplinary and professional approach is needed , accessible to all coronary patients and provided in each European country by existing or adapted "prevention centres".
The European Society of Cardiology (ESC):
The ESC represents nearly 53,000 cardiology professionals across Europe and the Mediterranean. Its mission is to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in Europe.
The ESC achieves this through a variety of scientific and educational activities including the coordination of: clinical practice guidelines, education courses and initiatives, pan-European surveys on specific disease areas and the ESC Annual Congress, the largest medical meeting in Europe. The ESC also works closely with the European Commission and WHO to improve health policy in the EU.
The ESC comprises 3 Councils, 5 Associations, 19 Working Groups, 50 National Cardiac Societies and an ESC Fellowship Community (Fellow, FESC; Nurse Fellow, NFESC). For more information on ESC Initiatives, Congresses and Constituent Bodies see www.escardio.org.
European Society of Cardiology, The European Heart House 2035 Route des Colles, B.P. 179 - Les Templiers, Sophia Antipolis F-06903 France
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