Jul 22, 2022

Everyone has been touched by cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), be it directly or through knowing someone who has had a heart attack, stroke, thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, or any other disorders of the heart and blood vessels.

I want to get people talking about cardiovascular disease (CVD), the leading cause of death and disability in the world!

Marie-France Tschudin, President, Innovative Medicines International & Chief Commercial Officer

More than 18 million people die of CVD every year. It is the leading cause of death globally.1,2 In fact, CVD claims more lives than all cancers combined, and a staggering 34 people will have died from a heart attack or stroke in the last 60 seconds alone.3 Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) accounts for approximately 85% of these deaths.1


3D Illustration of ASCVD

ASCVD is an umbrella term used to describe a variety of diseases that are caused by the build-up of fatty deposits - or plaque - in arteries.4

Many people do not experience any symptoms until the plaque in the arteries unexpectedly ruptures. This may lead to a heart attack or stroke.4



lives taken globally each year by cardiovascular diseases. Making it the leading cause of death


of premature heart disease and strokes are preventable

These numbers are alarming but what’s equally as shocking is that 80% of premature heart disease and strokes are preventable.5 Marie-France Tschudin, President, Innovative Medicines International & Chief Commercial Officer, wanted to explore why this is still the reality for so many people and how we can tackle one of the world’s biggest healthcare challenges.

From the Heart

In the ‘From the Heart’ video series, Marie-France speaks with ShantaQuilette Carter-Williams, a mother and campaigner living with cardiovascular disease (CVD), and experts Prof. Rifat Atun, Neil Johnson, and Prof. Kausik Ray to investigate how we can tackle the world's leading cause of death and disability together, and put cardiovascular disease at the top of the healthcare agenda.

Through her conversations, Marie-France uncovers the incredible opportunity we have to act now by reframing the conversation around cardiovascular disease and highlighting the urgent need to invest in cardiovascular health and healthcare systems, to prevent CVDs and improve outcomes for those impacted.

About From the Heart

From the Heart is a collection of life experiences told by those living with and those tackling the global reality of CVD. In this series of intimate conversations between Marie-France Tschudin and leading voices advocating CVD awareness and change, we get an honest look into global healthcare systems, personal anecdotes, patient journeys and an insight into the non-clinical barriers that prevent people from receiving care and treatment they need.’



ShantaQuilette Carter-Williams, patient and CVD advocate

Through the From the Heart series, we meet and learn about ShantaQuilette Carter-Williams patient and CVD advocate, who courageously shares her story. Over this four-part series we hear about her nine year journey to being accurately diagnosed and treated for CVD.  Her story is an inspiration to us all to be proactive about our heart health. Afterall, as ShantaQuilette says, "You are the CEO of your life.’’ 

Transforming healthcare systems

In episode 1, Rifat Atun, Professor of Global Health Systems, Harvard talks about why healthcare systems are struggling to address the CVD crisis and shares his thoughts on what can be done to transform them, making them sustainable for the future.

Act now. Act decisively. And act at scale.

Rifat Atun, Professor of Global Health Systems, Harvard



What can we do?

CVD is nothing short of a major global health crisis. It’s a challenge of unprecedented magnitude and one that no individual can tackle alone. We need to take a holistic approach and work collectively with the entire healthcare community, including other companies, academia and governments. When we approach the problem as a united front, working together to pool knowledge and expertise, we may finally begin to curb the impact of society’s greatest health challenge.


  1. World Health Organization. Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) 2022. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cardiovascular-diseases-(cvds)  [Last accessed May 2022].
  2. Reference: Roth G et al. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2020 Dec 22;76(25):2982-3021.
  3. World Health Organization. World health statistics 2021: monitoring health for the SDGs, sustainable development goals. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/342703/9789240027053-eng.pdf [Last accessed May 2022].
  4. NIH. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute - Atherosclerosis. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/atherosclerosis [Last accessed May 2022].
  5. World Health Organization (WHO). Cardiovascular diseases – Data and Statistics. Available at: https://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/noncommunicable-diseases/cardiovascular-diseases/data-and-statistics [Last accessed May 2022].