As we wrap up what has been an immensely challenging year for people around the world, I would like to express my deepest gratitude and best wishes to our dedicated country teams and members of the Stent-Save a Life community, to the national cardiac society representatives, to our loyal industrial cooperation partners and, finally, to our longstanding supporters at Europa Organisation, for a very happy new year 2021! Let’s hope it will flow with great ease!
2020 has indeed been a fateful year, one of the most eventful years in recent history. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought a sudden and unexpected disruption in all countries around the world, in people’s life and in our daily activities. However, the last 12 months have also been a great opportunity to unlearn and relearn; it has demonstrated the strength in each of us to adapt, change and embrace new challenges whilst keeping in mind our ultimate goal that is to save cardiac patients’ life.
Looking back and reflecting on last year’s achievements, we can first feel very grateful that Stent-Save a Life has survived the economic turmoil resulting from the Covid-19 outbreak. Of course, the level of our activities and our projects were reduced to a minimum as most of us were helping on the front of the pandemic, trying to maintain an appropriate level of care for cardiac patients – mainly emergency care as most of the elective procedures were postponed – or getting prepared for it.
Despite this, we were able to brave the odds and keep united. The Stent-Save a Life Annual Forum, usually held in Paris the day before EuroPCR, was the opportunity – although as a virtual and shorter event – for approximately half of our representatives from all the continents to gather beginning of July. A great success for a first e-edition and the chance for the SSL member representatives to share and exchange experiences on cardiac patient care in these unusual times.
In the aftermath of the first wave – worried about the significant reduction of cardiac patient presentations in hospitals observed around the world – many of you responded positively when we called out to launch an international survey aiming at better understanding the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the activity of interventional cardiology. Thank you for your enthusiasm on the matter, your contribution was much valued!
My sincere appreciation is also going to those of you who have kept the flame up with energy and demonstrated their resilience throughout these difficult times. The continuous efforts to bring more country members on board, in regions where there is a strong need to improve patient access to pPCI, have resulted in Uganda’s application just before the year end. I have heard many positive things about the group in Uganda and I’m so glad they are able to join and strengthen the Stent-Save a Life! team in Africa!
Finally, I’m very proud to share that SSL and PCR recently joined efforts to launch a new global initiative in response to the situation resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic and ahead of future waves. On the grounds of the general reduction of cardiac patient presentations in hospital (elective and emergency care) – as well as the ensuing increase of the mortality rate – both organisations set the objective to ensure appropriate and timely care in the cardiovascular field is still delivered to patients in pandemic times but also to rebuild patients’ trust in the hospital system by encouraging to seek urgent medical help when necessary as delaying or avoiding help can kill. Further information about this programme will be released soon.
As one year ends and a new one starts, we should be looking at 2021 with positivity and glee hoping for the world to steadily free itself from the virus domination. Whilst a new era is dawning, we should take the time to reflect in order to learn from the experience we have been through and think about sustainable solutions to further improve STEMI patient care management.
The recent launch of the 2nd phase of the SSL international survey – measuring the impact of the pandemic on interventional cardiology – will allow us to assess whether lessons from the 1st wave have been learnt or, on the contrary, patients reiterated the same behaviour during the following waves leading to a new sharp drop in patient admissions and further late consequences.
The upcoming implementation of the joint initiative with PCR will help address some short-term needs to make sure heart-attack patients keep receiving the adequate treatment in pandemic times. To achieve this, we will definitely rely on the support of the member country teams to act as a relay at the local level and I would like to thank you in advance for your assistance with this crucial programme.
As the vaccination campaign has now started in many countries around the world, we would like to be optimistic that we will, before the end of the year, be able to resume our Blueprint project – a methodology to build effective STEMI networks, based on the “hub and spoke” model, allowing the optimal management of STEMI patients – and roll it out in our member countries.
On the other hand, there is currently very little hope we will be able to meet in Paris for the SSL Annual Forum next May. We will therefore soon be looking at options to organise the 2021 edition as a virtual event and give us the opportunity to get together and interact on topics that are closed to our heart.
Last, but not least, an important objective for the initiative will be to nurture the relationship with the existing industry partners but also to secure the support from additional sponsors whilst reflecting on how to ensure the organisation’s future is sustainable in an ever more economically challenging environment.
I look forward to reviving Stent-Save a Life! and taking the global initiative further thanks to your continued voluntary engagement. May 2021 bring peace and joy, health and prosperity to each of you and your loved one.
Happy New Year!
C. K. Naber
Stent – Save a Life! Chairman