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Highlighting SAP-E successes on European Stroke Awareness Day

Authors: European Stroke Organisation (ESO) , Stroke Alliance for Europe (SAFE)
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Published Online: May 11th 2022
On behalf of the European Stroke Organisation (ESO) and Stroke Alliance for Europe (SAFE), touchNEUROLOGY are pleased to share the progress made toward reaching the 4 overarching targets of the Stroke Action Plan for Europe (SAP-E).

Led by ESO and SAFE, the SAP-E initiative aims to encourage European countries to show their commitment to improving stroke prevention, treatment, care and support, through a network of over 90 SAP-E National Coordinators.

Over the past year, SAP-E has made great strides in reaching the goals set out in the Action Plan. As of today and thanks to the advocacy of the SAP-E National Coordinators, these achievements include:

•    Establishment of a network of over 90 National Coordinators
•    Translation of the Stroke Action Plan for Europe document in 12 languages
•    Launch of the Declaration for Action on Stroke, with 8 countries currently signed
•    Publication of the Essentials of Stroke Care guidelines
•    Development of a National Stroke Plan Template
•    Initiation of the yearly Stroke Service Tracker (SST) survey among 52 countries

Prof. Hanne Christensen, Professor of Neurology and Chair of the Stroke Action Plan for Europe says, “Stroke can be prevented and treated, but there is still a significant gap between knowledge and the delivery of stroke services. In early 2022 we [the SAP-E Steering Committee] launched the SST. This survey will enable us to monitor the progress of quality of care and outcomes. The yearly data collected from the SST will allow for benchmarking both over time and within countries, providing each country with the knowledge and data to facilitate the implementation of its national plan.”

Dr Francesca Romana Pezzella, Stroke Neurologist and Stroke Action Plan for Europe Co-Chair adds, “The recent successes of our National Coordinators is extremely encouraging. SAP-E gives us a unified approach for stroke treatment and management to help us tackle inequalities in stroke care across European countries. We have developed tools such as the National Stroke Plan Template, which will help National Coordinators support the development of country-specific care plans.”

Arlene Wilkie, SAFE Director General and SAP-E implementation Co-Chair says, “Stroke is the biggest cause of adult disability in Europe with impacts on all aspects of life – economic, social, medical, physical, and mental health. Together with ESO we have developed a number of documents and tools to improve stroke care, including an illustrated Fact Sheet on the basics of stroke and the Essentials of Stroke Care guidelines that give an overview of evidence-based interventions covering the entire chain of stroke care.”

It is estimated that over one million people in Europe have a stroke and 460,000 die as a result of a stroke every year and almost 10 million people are living with the impact of stroke. It is estimated that the number of people living with a stroke will rise by 26% within the next generation. Stroke causes large costs to healthcare budgets and societies. The costs related to stroke in Europe were recently estimated as high as €60 billion and are predicted to increase to rise to €86 billion, a 44% increase, by 2040.

The aim of the SAP-E is to improve the entire stroke care pathway, from prevention and early treatment, to support and after-care. It will improve outcomes for patients and carers and will be highly cost effective for all countries in Europe. The SAP-E will also help reduce the burden of other non-communicable diseases. For example, implementation of appropriate prevention strategies for stroke will also reduce the incidence of dementia, heart disease, diabetes and obesity, which will have a significant impact on wellbeing, life expectancy, and healthcare costs.


For more information about ESO, please visit
For more information about SAFE, please visit

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