The Year in Cardiovascularmedicine 2020: Epidemiology and Prevention

Ramon Estruch; Luis M. Ruilope; Francesco Cosentino


Eur Heart J. 2021;42(8):813-821. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Graphical Abstract

Cardiovascular disease and cancer continue to be the major causes of death worldwide and the two conditions have more in common than previously acknowledged. In fact, both diseases share many predisposing factors and mechanisms, with a common background of low-grade inflammation. Thus, both cardiologists and oncologists should score both cardiovascular and cancer risk factors and develop risk reduction strategies for their patients.


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention has been classically divided into primary (aimed to asymptomatic subjects) and secondary (aimed to patients who have already suffered a cardiovascular event), but currently this classification is considered arbitrary given the overlap observed, for example in diabetic patients. Thus, prevention measures may be better divided into 'prevention at the population level' and 'prevention strategies in subjects with high vascular risk'.[1–3] Figure 1 summarizes the role of different actors in the prevention of CVD.

Figure 1.

Different components involved in the lifetime genesis and evolution of cardiovascular risk. The three most important messages are: first, the need to prevent an unhealthy environment; second, the need to maintain an adequate lifestyle; and third, the use of appropriate pharmacotherapy when required. The first two have to be maintained for the lifetime, while pharmacological treatment should be started at an earlier age than was recommended a few years ago.

In the current paper, we review relevant contributions to CVD prevention published in 2020. We have also included references to relevant articles related to cardio-renal syndrome and the common pathways of cancer and CVD, as well as new aspects of cardiac disease due to COVID-19 infection.