EuroAction demonstrates reduction in CVD


Stockholm, Sweden: Early results from the EuroAction hospital project, announced today at the European Society of Cardiology, demonstrate how a nurse-led multidisciplinary programme, organised in busy general hospitals, can help coronary patients and their families to reduce their risk of major cardiovascular disease (CVD)1.

In six European Countries (France, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK), the EuroAction project clearly shows that implementing the Joint European Societies' Guidelines on CVD prevention2 by nurse-led teams can, through a family-based, behavioural approach, lead to measurable improvements in lifestyle and related factors, thus reducing the risk of future cardiovascular events.

EuroAction patients and partners achieved improvements in lifestyle, other cardiovascular risk factors and in the use of cardio-protective medication. Patients stopped smoking, reduced their consumption of saturated (or 'bad') fats, increased daily intake of fruits and vegetables, and achieved greater levels of physical activity. Other CVD risk factors (e.g. weight and shape, blood pressure, and blood fat profile) all improved, and the vast majority were prescribed cardio-protective medicines. Patients' partners also adopted a healthier diet and increased their physical activity with corresponding reductions in weight and shape, blood pressure and blood fats.

"I'm delighted with these early findings from the hospital programme", commented Professor David Wood, Imperial College, London, UK, and EuroAction Principal Investigator. "It is well known that lifestyle factors play a major role in the likelihood of a person suffering a cardiovascular event. These results confirm the positive impact that nurse-led programmes can make to improve the quality of families' lives. EuroAction signals a new dawn in preventive cardiology, making it accessible to the vast majority of coronary patients and their families."

The EuroAction programme successfully reached out to a majority (73%) of all eligible coronary patients, and most (84%) completed the programme. All types of coronary patients were targeted, from those with an acute coronary syndrome (65%) through to stable angina (35%). A majority of the patients' partners/spouses (77%) also attended the programme.

With the assistance of EuroAction teams, over half (58%) of the patients involved in EuroAction who were smokers prior to their coronary event had stopped by the end of the hospital programme. One in five partners also stopped smoking cigarettes.

Considerable improvements were seen in the dietary habits of both patients and their families; saturated fat consumption levels of patients decreased by almost 16% (12% in partners), with 68% of patients (62% of partners) reaching the target of less than 10% saturated fat within their daily diets. EuroAction patients increased their consumption of fruit and vegetables by an average of 155 grams each day (113 grams each day for partners), with a 23% (25% in partners) improvement against baseline in the amount of patients eating the recommended daily amount of 400 grams of these types of foods. EuroAction patients increased their consumption of fish with 58% (71% of partners) eating oily fish three times or more each week.

EuroAction patients and families also became more physically active. A quarter of patients were regularly active (20% of partners) according to the Caspersen and Powell Classification; an absolute increase of 11% compared to baseline (5% in partners). Over three quarters (86%) of patients (83% of partners) reported themselves to be highly active according to the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), an improvement of around one-fifth against baseline. Objective measures confirmed these self-reported improvements with a step counter showing an increase of 1362 steps (739 for partners). Assuming an average of three feet per step, this equates to patients walking around an extra three quarters of a mile each day.

Cardio-protective drug therapies were widely prescribed with 95% of patients taking anti-platelet drugs, 79% on beta-blockers, 58% on ACE inhibitors/ angiotensin receptor blockers, 19% on calcium antagonists and 86% on statins.

EuroAction is an initiative of the European Society of Cardiology, which further highlights its continued commitment to improve the quality of life of the European population by reducing the impact of cardiovascular disease, and is solely sponsored by AstraZeneca through the provision of an unconditional educational grant.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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