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Heart & Stroke Voice seeks to understand the Irish healthcare landscape and capture how it is perceived by and experienced by those living with or affected by heart and stroke challenges, particularly in terms of equity and access to healthcare. We aim to do this by participating in, contributing to or leading patient-led research; by reviewing and evaluating national and international reports, position papers and healthcare policy publications and engaging with organisations and agencies involved in cardiovascular healthcare in Ireland and Europe.


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) claims the lives of almost 9,000 people in Ireland every year but it’s estimated that 80% of premature CVD is preventable. A recent report by the National CVD Prevention Council and the National Institute for Prevention and Cardiovascular (www.nipc.ie) has identified considerable gaps across the entire care continuum from detection, through diagnosis, treatment and recovery – all of which are having a huge impact on those at risk of or affected by heart disease and stroke. The report calls for a reorientation of the Irish healthcare system to prioritise CVD prevention and thus save thousands of lives a year as well as avoiding considerable costs to society. Read the report launched recently by Hildegarde Naughton TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Well Being and the National Drugs Strategy Position Paper – ‘Advancing a prevention agenda for cardiovascular care in Ireland’

Heart Valve Disease

Heart valve disease is a serious heart condition which can be fatal if left untreated. It is largely a condition of ageing where one or more of the four valves in the heart need to be repaired or replaced. In Europe, as the population is ageing, heart valve disease is on the rise. The number of people affected by heart valve disease is expected to double by 2040 and triple by 2060. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has compromised care for many people with heart valve disease, adding to existing deficits in early diagnosis and timely care. Unlike in many other heart conditions, there are effective treatment options for heart valve disease that can alleviate disease progression, improve quality of life and reduce death and disability. Heart Valve Disease affects millions of Europeans but, until now, it has maintained a low profile in the world of cardiovascular disease. Across Europe, data on heart valve disease are sparse, and too many patients receive potentially life-saving treatments too late due to a combination of low awareness, missed detection opportunities, and delays in diagnosis and access to care. A key issue is early detection and early diagnosis. This starts with a stethoscope test followed by an echocardiogram. In response, the Global Heart Hub (of which HSVI is an affiliate) established a Heart Valve Disease Patient Council in early 2020 to bring a patient advocacy focus to the area. The GHH commissioned The Health Policy Partnership, a UK based independent health policy research organisation, to develop a report aiming to raise stakeholder awareness of heart valve disease across Europe. Read the report here In Ireland, Croí responded to the calls to action in this report.  As a first action in Ireland, Croí commissioned a national survey of echocardiography services across both the private and public healthcare system Read  more here:   National Survey on Echocardiography Services in Ireland



Stroke is a major cause of mortality and morbidity in our population and a major cost to our health service when outcomes are poor.

Irish National Audit of Stroke National Report 2013-2021

The Irish National Audit of Stroke measures the care for all patients with a stroke in acute hospitals. This audit is showing the key trends in acute stroke care from 2013 to 2021

In the European Union (EU) stroke is the second most common cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability. As populations continue to grow and live to an older age, stroke and the long-term sequelae, along with the corresponding costs, are expected to increase dramatically. This is the third national report from the INAS and it is an overview of the quality of the data and key trends in stroke care from 2013 to 2021. It presents data on 34,630 cases and includes patients aged 17 years and over who were treated in public hospitals that provide acute stroke care and admitted more than 25 patients with a stroke annually from 2013 to 2021. Read more here


Hypertension also known as high blood pressure is a leading modifiable risk factor for premature cardiovascular disease. It  is estimated to affect almost one million people in Ireland. It means your blood pressure is consistently too high and means that your heart has to work harder to pump blood around your body. High blood pressure is serious. If you ignore it, it can lead to heart and circulatory diseases like heart attack or stroke. It can also cause heart failure, kidney failure, problems with your sight and vascular dementia, and significantly, it is the biggest risk factor for stroke. There isn’t always an explanation for the cause of high blood pressure, but most people develop high blood pressure because of their diet, lifestyle or medical condition. Sometimes high blood pressure runs in families and can also worsen with age.
People living in deprived areas and people from certain ethnic backgrounds are also at higher risk of having high blood pressure. Even in these cases, you may still be able to improve your blood pressure by changing your diet and being active. For more than 30 years Croí has been leading the fight against heart disease and stroke by raising awareness and educating individuals and communities of the serious risks associated with  unmanaged high blood pressure.  Their outreach programmes involve  community based risk factor screening programmes to identify individuals with high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease and stroke,  as well as delivering evidence based hypertension educational intervention  programmes on patient knowledge, lifestyle behaviours and blood pressure control. A number of research papers have been published on the work carried out by Croí in the community on the subject of the benefits to patients of community based hypertension education programmes read more here: ‘Outcomes from a community-based hypertension educational programme: the West of Ireland Hypertension Study’ ‘Patient Empowerment Through Community-Based Hypertension Educational Programme in the West’


Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease (known as its medical abbreviation ASCVD) is the umbrella term used to describe a variety of cardiovascular conditions that are caused by the build-up of fatty deposits (plaque) in the lining of the arteries. Many people do not experience symptoms until this plaque unexpectedly ruptures or breaks off causing a heart attack, stroke or even death. ASCVD accounts for 85% of all cardiovascular-related deaths and is the leading cause of mortality worldwide, responsible for more than 15 million deaths each year. A main risk factor of ASCVD is low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C) – also known as ‘bad cholesterol’. There are many factors that may contribute to ASCVD including family history (genetics), smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, diet, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and diabetes. Almost 40% of the adult population is at risk of ASCVD and is too often undiagnosed until a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke, occurs.

Heart & Stroke Voice Ireland is an affiliate of the Global Heart Hub,  which is a global alliance of heart patient organizations. The Global Heart Hub recently launched Invisible Nation, a program aimed to expose and respond to the realities of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). Leveraging a global network of heart patient organisations and heart patient advocates, and created in partnership with Novartis, Invisible Nation aims to engage with all the stakeholders in cardiovascular diseases.

Invisible Nation will advocate for policy-shaping efforts to rewrite how governments, health systems and all stakeholders can work together to change the trajectory of ASCVD and begin a generational decline in CV death. This program will help reduce the 15 million ASCVD deaths per year and the enormous financial costs of continued

Invisible Nation aims to bring together the cardiovascular community to expose the realities of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) – a silent, chronic disease – and the personal and social impact it has. By creating awareness around this major driver of heart attacks, strokes, and death, Invisible Nation intends to ignite conversation, inspire action, and activate systemic change to make the burden of unmanaged ASCVD un-ignorable and expose the barriers for people living with it to reach better health outcomes.

Read more here 

Croí Mayo Third Age Project

Croí Third Age Mayo offers a new way of thinking about ageing and is specifically designed to promote and support the cardiovascular health and well-being of the over 55 population in the county. Heart disease, stroke and diabetes are more common as we get older. If detected early, many heart conditions such as high blood pressure, heart valve disease, heart failure and atrial fibrillation (irregular heart beat) can be treated so that people can have a longer and better quality of life. One of the leading drivers of heart disease and stroke is hypertension (high blood pressure over a particular level, diagnosed by a doctor).  It is a serious but manageable condition that affects almost two-thirds of Irish adults over the age of 50.  Despite the high levels of hypertension in Ireland and worldwide, it is a condition that is easily detected, and which can be effectively treated to minimise the risk of an event like a stroke. Read more here about the findings of a general public survey in Mayo supported by Croí, the West of Ireland Cardiac & Stroke Foundation.

Heart & Stroke Voice Ireland


Address: Moyola Lane, Newcastle Galway H91 FF68, Ireland

Email: info@heartandstrokevoice.ie


Heart & Stroke Voice Ireland

Address: Moyola Lane, Newcastle, Galway H91 FF68, Ireland

Email: info@heartandstrokevoice.ie



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