European Survey of Cardiovascular Disease

Less than one quarter of people recognise cardiovascular disease as the leading cause of death in Europe1

With an estimated 60 million people living with cardiovascular disease (CVD) in Europe and a further 13 million new cases diagnosed in 2020, you’d expect CVD to be considered as high priority.2 However, despite being the largest cause of death in Europe, the knowledge of CVD is low.1 Why is this? Daiichi Sankyo Europe (DSE) commissioned the European Survey of Cardiovascular Disease to find out.

Responsible for more than 10,000 lives lost every day, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the greatest cause of mortality in Europe.3 We know the risk of CVD increases with age; and while death rates have been falling steadily, the rate of decline has unfortunately slowed down in recent years, particularly in younger age groups suggesting other factors might be at play too.2,4

Did you know that up to 72% of avoidable deaths from CVD are attributable to risk factors such as smoking, blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels?1,5 The World Health Organization published findings indicating that 80% of heart disease and strokes are preventable.6 What’s more, research suggests that despite 80% of CVD cases being diagnosed in hospital, 40% of people are likely to have experienced symptoms prior to admission and diagnosis.7 Had these individuals been alert enough to see a doctor at the onset of symptoms, earlier assessment and intervention may have been possible to reduce the risk of a major CVD event.7 It’s clear from the evidence that greater awareness of CVD risk factors and symptoms is urgently needed.

At Daiichi Sankyo, we care for every heartbeat. Beyond the supply of our medicines, we strive to support clinical communities and healthcare ecosystems across Europe to reduce the impact of CVD on the lives of people affected by it. Following the publication of a report in 2020 by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the King’s Fund, which highlighted a deceleration of CVD mortality improvement, we identified a need for deeper understanding of public perceptions and behaviours around CVD in order to drive meaningful change.5 It is for this reason that we commissioned the European Survey of Cardiovascular Disease; to assess the extent of public awareness and understanding around CVD, identify knowledge gaps and uncover opportunities where we can help inspire positive change to improve patient outcomes.

Our survey of over 6,000 adults across five European countries (UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands), carried out in Oct 2021, revealed knowledge gaps about CVD and its severity. Respondents of all ages cited poor understanding of the disease and apathy towards seeking out medical advice, even after experiencing potential symptoms.

By analysing the findings, we have identified four key areas of focus that need addressing if societies are to reinvigorate progress in the cardiovascular space. We must:

  1. Improve public awareness of CVD as the leading cause of lives lost in Europe3
  2. Enhance recognition of CVD symptoms whilst also increasing public understanding of the key risk factors that can lead to CVD and the importance of early diagnosis to improve patient outcome
  3. Clearly sign-post the optimal routes that people can take to seek advice at a country-specific level
  4. Educate the public about lifestyle changes that can help reduce CVD risk, including the use of digital solutions to help prevent/diagnose CVD earlier

We believe that healthcare can only be improved by bringing together like-minded, caring groups and individuals, who share our passion and commitment. By working with the clinical community to address the challenges of CVD from the perspectives of patients and those who stand with them, we are able to expand medical knowledge and support new approaches to care, built on the highest standards of science, research and innovation.

To see key findings and takeaways from the European Survey of Cardiovascular Disease, view the full report here.


Daiichi Sankyo Europe. European Survey Report of Cardiovascular Disease, Daiichi Sankyo Europe / Censuswide. October 2021. Last Accessed May 2023.

ESC & EHN Fighting cardiovascular disease – a blueprint for EU action. Last Accessed June 2022.

Mach F., et al. 2019 ESC/EAS Guidelines for the management of dyslipidaemias: lipid modification to reduced cardiovascular disease. Eur Heart J. 2020;(411):111–188. Last Accessed June 2022.
[4] Understanding recent trends in cardiovascular disease mortality in European countries. Last Accessed June 2022.

OECD/The King’s Fund (2020). Is Cardiovascular Disease Slowing Improvements in Life Expectancy?: OECD and The King’s Fund Workshop Proceedings, OECD Publishing, Paris. Last Accessed June 2022.

Bottle A, et al. Routes to diagnosis of heart failure: observational study using linked data in England. Heart. 2018; 104(7):600–605. Last Accessed June 2022.

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