Coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke are Europe's first and second leading causes of death, respectively, as well as major causes of disability. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is currently responsible for more than 170 billion annually in economic costs in the increasingly resource-constrained countries of the European Union (EU).


Despite recent reductions in age-specific CVD death rates, the overall future CVD burden in the EU is predicted to increase as a result of the ageing population and rising prevalence of obesity and diabetes. Tens of thousands of additional CVD outcomes could be prevented by better screening and management of risk, a goal more likely to be realised by the emergence of more compelling evidence and policies for the primary prevention of CVD. Furthermore a menu of options will be required as a single approach is unlikely to be optimum or acceptable across the diverse healthcare systems, budgets, cultures, and lifestyles of Europe.