New guidelines deliver concise messages for implementing cardiovascular prevention


The latest cardiovascular disease prevention guidelines have been overhauled to produce a user friendly document with concise messages that awards greater weight than ever before to evidence from clinical trials and observational population studies. The “European Guidelines on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Clinical Practice (version 2012)” were launched at the EuroPrevent 2012 meeting in Dublin, Ireland.

“In the past, implementation of prevention guidelines could undoubtedly have been better. So in a radical departure we have designed the guidelines in a new format that makes them much more accessible,” explained Joep Perk, the chairperson of the Guidelines Task Force. “The change is to help disseminate the information from the guidelines out to where it is needed – health professionals working in the field, politicians and the general public.”

The latest Guidelines, developed by the Fifth Joint Task Force (JTF) of societies of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Clinical Practice, which includes the European Society of cardiology (ESC) and seven other societies, are around one third shorter than the 2007 fourth edition. “We have gone back to the first principles of teaching by introducing the what, why, whom, how and where of preventive cardiology,” said Perk, from Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden.

The guidelines stress that cardiovascular disease prevention should be a “life long effort” that starts in the womb and lasts to the end of life. Greater emphasis has been placed on the behavioural aspects of prevention, with discussion of ways to make it easier for patients to change their life styles.

For the first time the guidelines were launched at the EuroPrevent 2012 meeting (3–5 May 2012), and published simultaneously in the European Heart Journal and European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. “This was deliberate. It has meant that we could structure the meeting around the guidelines with plenty of opportunities for wide ranging discussions that allow everyone to get up to speed,” explained Ian Graham, chairperson of the EACPR Prevention Implementation Committee, and co-chairperson of the EuroPrevent 2012 Programme Committee.

Special guideline sessions have been organised for GPs and practice nurses, with additional training  sessions to teach the national coordinators, who have been specially appointed from the different European countries to implement the guidelines, on how to engage with politicians, the profession and the public. An electronic, interactive Guideline Learning Tool was also launched at EuroPrevent 2012. “We are really excited about this because it will allow doctors, students and other health care professionals to engage interactively with the Guidelines through case histories and other new learning techniques,” commented Graham.

Additionally, pocket Guidelines, an A4 page with all the essential information and a slide-set for teaching purposes are in development. “Our ultimate aim is to get an A4 summary of the guidelines on the desk of every single family doctor in Europe. It will be the bible of health prevention,” said Perk.

here to access the new guidelines.