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Cardiovascular nursing: Striving for excellence in the care of cardiac patients

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the main cause of death in the European Union, killing over 2 million people per year. These deaths cost the economy 192 billion Euros annually. Many of these deaths could be averted with proper prevention policies. Cardiac nurses and allied health professionals are on the frontline of the battle to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in Europe and will be discussing new ways to assess risk, advise and treat their patients at their 8th Annual Spring Meeting1 in Malm, Sweden today. The meeting is organized by the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied Professions (CCNAP) of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) in association this year with the Swedish Association on Cardiac Nursing an Allied Professions (VIC).

Cardiac research and development leads to rapid clinical changes which require nurses and allied health professionals to be updated with the latest information on treatment and care. Our Spring Meeting helps to keep abreast of this advancement to the benefit of our patients, explains Tone Norekval, Chair of the CCNAP of the ESC.

The meeting offers the opportunity to present the latest progress in clinical practice. Sessions will include topics on Acute and Chronic Heart Failure; Improving Care in Hospital and Community; Coping with Patient and Family Issues at End of Life; Prevention and Support in Transplant, among others.

Because we are in the forefront of the drive for prevention, this year it will be an important topic on our agenda: how to assess risk, advise patients and treat them, says Tone Norekval. Nurses and allied health professionals can be key stakeholders in prevention. The CCNAP is one of the signatories of the recently established European Heart Health Charter which encourages cross sector cooperation to fight CVD2. One of its main architects, former European Society of Cardiology president Lars Ryden, will be a key speaker during the Spring Meeting explaining how to move forward in its implementation across Europe.

Cardiovascular nurses have been an important contributor to improving heart health since the initiation of the coronary care units in the 1960's. Since then, cardiovascular nursing has evolved immensely along with developments in technology and the treatment and prevention of heart disease. The need for specialised competencies in cardiovascular nursing became apparent in many European countries at a very early stage, but today there is a great diversity as to education and nurse density in the European countries.

The CCNAP is intensifying its focus on continuing education, emphasizes Tone Norekval. The Spring Meeting contributes to that, but we also host courses including one on CVD Prevention in collaboration with the EUROACTION- team3. A two day course is being arranged prior to our Spring Meeting in Malm. We believe both the Spring Meeting and our educational courses are an important step in developing cardiovascular nursing and allied health professions at a European level.

Today, patient education and support are important parts of the cardiac nursing role, with a special focus on teaching patients self- management. There has been some research on the outcome of nursing intervention but Tone Norekval believes there is place for further clinical trials: Research in the future needs to be conducted on the unique role of cardiovascular nurses in patient education and risk factor management in the prevention of CVD, as well as in acute cardiac care. During this Spring Meeting, an abstract session will be particularly devoted to recent developments in patient involvement and a roundtable discussion will take place on increasing nursing research in Europe.


Contact: Jacqueline Partarrieu
European Society of Cardiology

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