The Madrid Assembly opens its doors to a member of the SHD Coalition: Maite San Saturnino’s hearing on CVD

On February 19, 2024, Maite San Saturnino, president of the Patient Platform of the Spanish Heart Foundation and member of the SHD Coalition, was invited to the Health Committee of the Madrid Assembly to speak about cardiovascular health.

In the presence of the MPs that comprise the Health Committee of Madrid’s regional Parliament, Ms. San Saturnino explained the characteristics, epidemiology, and the main challenges that cardiovascular disease poses, as well as the measures to be taken to address this pathology.

The president of the Patient Platform of the Spanish Heart Foundation started by highlighting some data on the impact related to CVD, such as the fact that every year one out of every 100 people is diagnosed with a cardiovascular disease and that cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in Spain, accounting for more than 26% of all deceases.

She also highlighted age and gender as risk factors, since their incidence is even higher in women and increases exponentially with age.

Age is the most relevant cardiovascular risk factor and, for this reason alone, improving cardiovascular health should be a political, social, and economic priority in a country with an increasingly aging population such as Spain, stated Ms. San Saturnino.

Mrs. San Saturnino, as an experimented patient representative with many years of advocacy work in the field, suggested some key points to address CVDs:

  • Put more emphasis on the role of patient associations, as both support and guide for patients.
  • Early detection of CVDs
  • Keep raising awareness

As the best vehicle to address CVD and improve the disease approach, Mrs. San Saturnino highlighted the importance of implementing the Cardiovascular Health Strategy of the National Health System (the ESCAV) in Madrid, published by the Ministry of Health in 2022, which implementation depends on the Autonomous Communities. This strategy proposes actions to be implemented in 4 main areas: ischemic heart disease, heart failure, atrial fibrillation and valvular heart disease.

To end her intervention, Ms. San Saturnino recognized the good job that the region has done in recent years in some areas, such as the creation of ‘Cardiored1’ or ‘the Infarction Code’.

After the presentation, the Committee’s spokespeople of political groups Vox, Socialist Party, Más Madrid and People’s Party commented on the intervention and addressed their questions to Ms. San Saturnino.

All of them expressed their commitment to the cause and their willingness to update the Strategy of Madrid for CVD, which dates from 2007.

This experience shows the importance of participating in forums for dialogue with policymakers, and that efforts to convey the needs of cardiovascular patients are key to promoting change and a better approach to the pathology.