Five experts from the field of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) came together in September to discuss the early detection of CVD and structural heart diseases (SHD), as they are among the most life-threatening widespread diseases and the leading cause of death in Germany. In the context of a rapidly ageing population, it is crucial that a discussion on the subject is launched to tackle this challenge in the most efficient way. Although the early detection of CVD and SHD is already provided for in German legislations through a corresponding Health Examination Guideline (GU-Richtlinie), only 17% of people aged 60-64 declared in 2019 having benefitted regularly from a cardiac auscultation by their primary care physicians. In this context, Prof. Roland Hardt (University clinic in Mainz and German Geriatrics Society), Dr. Luise Gaede (University clinic in Erlangen), Mr. Matthias Kollmar (Defibrillator (ICD) Deutschland e. V.), Dr. Jury Schewel and Dr. Dimitry Schewel (Marienkrankenhaus Hamburg) recommend five measures which should be put in place to improve the early detection of CVD and SHD:
- Establish heart check-up guideline specifically for the screening and early detection of cardiovascular diseases and structural heart diseases.
- Raise awareness among the general public and medical professionals on the need for early detection of cardiovascular diseases.
- Strengthen intersectoral exchange and communication between primary care physicians and specialists, as well as between physicians in private practices and in clinics.
- Stronger involvement of statutory health insurance providers in order to improve the infrastructure of early detection procedures.
- Targeted use of digital health applications for early detection of cardiovascular diseases and structural heart diseases.
These measures are detailed in the attached document, which will be distributed amongst relevant policymakers and stakeholders to work towards their implementation and, doing so, contribute to diminish the burden that CVD and SHD represent on patients and the healthcare system.
 Global Heart Hub (2019). Results Germany. https://globalhearthub.org/download/results-germany/