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Heart specialists call for action

Delegates at the first Gulf Interventional Meeting (GIM) said heart disease is on the rise because of obesity, diabetes, smoking and a lack of exercise.

Heart specialists have called for a more concerted effort to deal with the growing epidemic of heart disease in the Middle East. Delegates at February’s Gulf Interventional Meeting (GIM) said that the condition is on the rise because of obesity, diabetes, smoking and a lack of exercise.

“There has to be a concerted effort to deal with the growing epidemic of heart disease in the Middle East and Gulf region with education, primary prevention and improving access to the latest treatment options for heart disease,” said Dr. Haitham Amin, interventional cardiologist, head of cardiac care unit, Bahrain Defense Forces Hospital.

The Gulf Interventional Meeting (GIM), which met for the first time, is a new scientific forum dedicated to the field of interventional cardiology in the Arabian Gulf, Levant and Egypt. Its mission is to foster scientific interaction between local cardiologists and promote international coioperation in the fields of interventional cardiology and clinical research. GIM took place under the auspices of the GHA (Gulf Heart Association) and in affiliation with EuroPCR.

“Healthcare has improved dramatically over the last few decades with access to fully equipped hospitals where doctors work in accordance to international standards, complying with the latest evidence based medicine,” said Dr. Ibrahim Al-Rashdan, interventional cardiologist, head of cardiology department, Chest Hospital, Kuwait. “Conducting international scientific meetings such as this one brings together key opinion leaders in the field of interventional cardiology from across the Gulf to improve standards of care.”

Dr. Jean Marco, interventional cardiologist, chairman of EuroPCR, added: “One of the main objectives of EuroPCR is to associate itself with world-class working groups across the world such as this one. EuroPCR is looking forward to incorporating GIM as one of its official working groups during its annual meeting in Paris in 2006. The EuroPCR annual event in Paris in 2005 hosted more than 10,000 people from around the world involved in the medical field and the industry of pharmaceuticals and medical devices.”

According to WHO (World Health Organisation) estimates, 16.7 million people died of cardiovascular diseases around the globe in 2002. This is about one-third of all deaths.
Everyone is at risk, with the burden particularly heavy in lower income countries. The number of fatalities from heart disease is projected to rise to more than 24 million a year by 2030.

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