VASCERN Patient Group (ePAG)


Patient empowerment is important in order to collect the most pertinent information and to allow patients to take part in making the management of their disease evolve in the most efficient manner.

The VASCERN Patient Group (ePAG, European Patient Advocacy Group) gathers Patient Representatives and Patient Organisations in Rare Multisystemic Vascular Diseases. It is one of the 24 ePAGs supported by EURORDIS and linked to the 24 European Reference Networks on rare diseases.


  • 1 ePAG Chair
  • 5 ePAG Co-chairs, who
    • make the link with the other ePAG Representatives and ePAG Member,
    • Participate in the corresponding RDWG monthly virtual meetings and activities (one per Rare Diseases Working Groups – RDWG)
    • and participate in the monthly ePAG virtual meetings.
  • ePAG Representatives, involved in the ePAG monthly virtual meetings and activities
  • Other ePAG Members (Patient Organisations).

The ePAG enables Patient representatives to work together on common issues and deliverables, as well as to be involved in all VASCERN activities.

Hereditary Haemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT)

HHT Patient Associations are also members of HHT Europe and EURORDIS.

Claudia CROCIONE, ePAG Co-chair for HHT is member of the HTT-WG.


HHT Europe
Associazione Italiana Teleangectasia Emorragica – HHT ONLUS                               Contact :

Means of ActionThe Objectives of HHT Europe are:
– To represent, protect and enforce rights and interests of people with HHT at a European level;
– Building a strong pan-European community of people living with HHT;
– Spreading awareness of HHT;
– Improving access to information, services, diagnosis treatment and care ;
– Promoting the exchange of good practices;
– Improvement of Treatments and knowledge of the disease in the medical comunity;
– Finding a cure.

The Association will use all means authorized by the law, which may contribute to the achievement of its goals, notably:
– Fostering, supporting and if necessary managing HHT Centres across Europe;
– Fostering the creation of Patient Associations in European countries that do not present one;
– Coordinating professional expertise and exchange within Europe and Internationally;
– Encouraging and fostering Joint clinical trials and research across Europe;
– Promoting educational programmes and training for Medical Staff and Patient Organizations;
– Organizing International Congresses;
– Promoting and managing contact between HHT Organizations;
– Collecting, disseminating and translating information on HHT;
– Other such things approved by the board that will further the objects of HHT Europe;
– Collecting data.

Substitute Co-chair

Morbus Osler, Germany

morbsThe German organisation for HHT, Morbus Osler Selbsthilfe e. V., is a patient-driven alliance of affected individuals with the support of medical fraternity, in the field of HHT.

Morbus Osler’s mission is to build a strong community of patients, witch are able to help other people living with HHT, to be their voice at the German level, and – directly or indirectly – to fight against the impact of HHT on their lives.

To this end, Morbus Osler Selbsthilfe e.V. undertakes activities on behalf of its members, notably in favour of:

  • Empowering HHT patient groups
  • Advocating HHT as a public health issue
  • Raising public HHT awareness, and also that of national and international HHT institutions
  • Improving access to information, treatment, care, and support for people living with HHT
  • Encouraging good practices in relation to these
  • Promoting scientific and clinical HHT research
  • Developing HHT treatments and orphan drugs
  • Improving quality of life through patient support, social, welfare and educational services


Associazione Fondazione Italiana HHT ‘Onilde Carini’, Italy

HHT Onilde Carini is a support and mutual help among patients with hemorrhagic telangiectasia. It is a means of spreading knowledge of the disease among patients, their families, and among physicians. It is supporting clinical and genetic research to promote the care and treatment of patients with HHT. See: leaflets

HHT Italy Newsletters & videos

HHT – Associazione Fondazione Italiana HHT “Onilde Carini”
Via San Giovanni n° 38 – 29100 Piacenza – Italy.
Phone: ++39 349 7181943
President: Andrea Giacomelli

Asociación HHT España, Spain

Our Association was formally constituted on April 2005, as “Asociación HHT España“. It is constituted by, Hereditary Haemorrhagic Telangiectasia patients, their families, friends, and some physicians and researchers involved directly in the disease. When inscribed in the register of associations at this time, the group was small. The board was formed by the president, the vicepresident and the treasurer, and around 20 associates. It is a national association, representing all the communities of Spain, and  associates from Latinoamerican countries.
It was declared of Public Utility, or Non Profit Organization, in 2011.
We belong to Eurordis, and also to HHT-Europe transnational group. We are linked to doctors and researchers, forming one unit: the Spanish HHT Unit, with three main parts:
Clinical part: physicians and specialists on HHT from the main Hospital, Sierrallana/Valdecilla, Cantabria (North Spain), but also from other more recently HP, in Madrid, Catalunya and Canary Islands.
Research: mainly conducted in the Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas in Madrid, belonging to the National Research Council of Spain, CSIC
Association, whose executive committee is now formed by the president, Mr Bienvenido Muñoz, the vicepresident, Mr Eder Castro, the secretary Mrs Ana-M. Carrera, the treasurer, Mr Manuel Machado and as additional member, Mrs, Rosa del Río. We have also a board of experts, or advisory board, formed by former president, vicepresident, and secretaries, by doctors coordinating the units of the Hospitals specialized in HHT, and by researchers of CSIC.
We celebrate national assemblies once a year, with associates, doctors and researchers. Last was held in Madrid, October 2015.
Information at:

Harteraad, Netherlands

The Diagnosegroep ROW (HHT) is part of Harteraad, the Dutch organization for patients with heart and vascular diseases. Every two years we organize together with the ROW-Centre a conference with approximatively 250-300 HHT-patients and their partners to give information about the outcome of the two-years international conference of the HHT Foundation. And every year we organize, also together, a conference for approx. 60 HHT-patients about subjects like stress, tiredness, anticoagulation, etc. in relation to HHT.
Two times per year we issue the ROW Newspaper with articles written by the physicians of the ROW-Centre or others, interviews with HHT-patients, etc.
And, of course, we publish as much as possible in order to make our general practitioners and unknown ROW-patients aware of the fact that nosebleedings could mean that this could be the rare and dangerous illness of Rendu-Osler-Weber. For many of our general practitioners still do not know this disease. For this reason we distribute a lot of booklets about ROW and even a medical brochure especially for general practitioners.



Amro, France

AMRO-HHT-France is the 25 year’s old French patient association devoted to HHT-Rendu-Osler disease with 500 individual members. A small team of administrators meets about 3 times a year. A general assembly takes place once a year.

Every year AMRO organized a one-day information meeting where patients and relatives may exchange with medical research staff, researchers, social workers,…,  on the evolution of knowledge, care taking, laws and regulations concerning HHT.

AMRO financially supports research via a 2-years-period call for project.

An AMRO representative participates to the national HHT-network meetings that brings together medical staff and academics involved in HHT treatment and research issued from the national Reference and Competence Centres. Another representative is member of the FAVAMulti Rare disease “filière” that is the national equivalent to VASCERN.

AMRO is member of the alliance Maladies rares and of HHT-Europe.


Telangiectasia Self Help Group, UK

Other HHT Patient Organisations
Ireland: Grace Nolan Foundation & HHT Ireland (Dara WOODS)
Sweden: under construction
Switzerland: under construction

Canada: HHT Canada THH
US: Cure HHT

Heritable Thoracic Aortic Diseases (HTAD)

HTAD Patient Associations are also members of EURORDIS and Marfan Europe Network.

Lise Murphy, ePAG Co-chair for HTAD is member of the HTAD-WG


Swedish Marfanorganisation

The Swedish Marfanorganisation has been on the go for 22 years and we still find many challenges for Marfan patients. What our members appreciate is our summer camps, our quarterly magazine with updates on the medical field and news from within the community as well as the opportunity to getting  in touch with others in the same situation. We try to facilitate that through facebook, calling new members and through personal meetings at our summer camps and annual meeting.

We have a big board to ensure that we have time to work with the various projects we are involved in. A major focus has been life style issues particularly to keep fit and being as healthy as we can possibly be. We had a yearlong project around that with many workshops and opportunities to meet and to learn. A book was the result of that: “Må bra med Marfan” available in Swedish as a pdf or paper  back.  On the webpage we also have the brochure  with facts ,”Marfan”  recently updated, all in Swedish so ok for the  Scandinavian countries.

We are happy to be in HTAD in Vascern. We are very much aware, however, that our syndrome originates  from the connective tissue. This is a fact that constantly has to be born in mind since we have many symptoms from various parts of our bodies, not only from our aorta.

Nationally we have patient representatives in the networks around the six university hospitals in Sweden. Networking is good for us!

More information at:


Magica was founded in 2006 by a 33 y.o. patient of CMGCV, Matteo, affected by Marfan Syndrome. After a check-up, while speaking with the director of the center Eloisa Arbustini, he had the idea to create an entity to sustain the families followed by the Center who suffered inherited cardiovascular diseases like him.

Magica’s main objectives are:

– To guarantee continuity of care over time both in terms of supporting the continuity of the clinical activity of the center and in terms of helping patients to sustain costs for clinical check-ups.
– To provide correct information on these disease to patients and to general practitioners.
– To promote solidarity both among patients and other charities creating charity networks.
– To foster the development of research on heritable cardiovascular diseases through voluntary donations.

Put your heart into the play with us

Maria Carla FAVINI
AssoMarfan, Italy



Association Belge du Syndrome de Marfan (ABSM), Belgique

Medium Sized Arteries (MSA)

MSA Patient Associations are also members of EURORDIS.

Vascular Ehlers Danlos Syndrome is the main disease included within the scope of the MSA-WG. The scope will include afterwards other disorders, namely: Kawasaki Disease, Coronary Arterial dissections (spontaneous), Fibromuscular dysplasia.


Ehlers-Danlos-Initiative e.V., Germany

The Society was founded in 1996 by a couple of parents and concerned people. Today we have more than 300 Families and Individuals as Members. We have a medical-Scientific committee, a strong group for adolescents and young adults and are represented nearly all over Germany. The main goals of our work are:

  • Rising awareness for the disease in the public, at medical professionals and researschers
  • Assisting EDS patients finding diagnosis and support/assistance/treatment
  • Supporting studies
  • Connecting with international patient organisations

All work is done by volunteers, no full-time employees.

Other MSA Patient Organisations

Denmark: Ehlers-Danlos foreningen
France: AFSED
Germany: Ehlers-Danlos-Selbsthilfe e.V.
Italy: AISED Ehlers-Danlos
Spain: ASEDH
Sweden: Ehlers-Danlos syndrom Riksförbund

Pediatric and Primary Lymphedema (PPL)

PPL Patient Associations are linked to the International Lymphoedema Framework (ILF).

Pernille Henriksen, ePAG Co-chair for PPL, is also member of the PPL-WG.


Danish patient organisation for lymphedema (DALYFO)

Established in 1992, DALYFO is a Danish association representing patients with primary and secondary lymphoedema. We have strong ties and collaborations with the other Nordic patient associations for lymphoedema and the Danish Lymphoedema Framework.

Deputy Co-chair

ANDLymph/ National Association of Sufferers of Lymphatic Disorders

ANDLymph/ National Association of Sufferers of Lymphatic Disorders  improves throughout Portugal knowledge of lymphatic disorders and related illnesses. The several actions that the Association intends to develop are intended to make available to sufferers and their families a multi-disciplinary network of support and quality care within an economically responsible framework, as well as developing synergies which encourage greater visibility and acceptance of lymphatic disorders in society and the community and are aimed at improving quality of life.

We are currently looking for other European PPL Patient Organisations Representatives, who would be involved in the VASCERN ePAG. 

Other PPL Patient Organisations

France: AVML
UK: British Lymphology SocietyLymphoedema Support Framework
Belgium: BeLymph
Netherlands: Dutch Lymphedema & Lipoedema Network (NLNet)


Vascular Anomalies (VASCA)

VASCA Patient Associations are also members of EURORDIS.

Caroline VAN DEN BOSCH, ePAG Co-chair for VASCA is also member of the VASCA-WG.


HEVAS, Netherlands
· Our medical advisors can be found here
· The specialised doctors working in our field can be found here

· The patient organisations HEVAS is working with in our national and/or European networks can be found here
amongst others:
– SKTN Stichting Klippel-Trénaunay Nederland (Klippel-Trenaunay the Netherlands)
– Nv WSWs Nederlandse vereniging voor mensen met een Wijnvlek of Sturge-Weber syndroom (Portwine stain and/or Sturge-Weber Syndrome)
· Other relevant organisations HEVAS is associated with:
– HEVAS is working together with VSOP since 2012. VSOP is the Dutch representative of 66 patient organisations of rare diseases and member of EURORDIS
– HEVAS is member of ISSVA: The International Society for the Study of Vascular Anomalies. The term anomalies encompasses hemangiomas and vascular malformations.
Substitute Co-chair

Maria Barea & Franziska Haiml
VASCAPA, Belgium

VASCAPA was founded on 5th May 2012 in Brussels, under the leadership of Prof. Boon and Prof. Vikkula.

The purpose of our association is :

  • to disseminate maximum information regarding vascular anomalies (tumour or malformation) to the general public
  • to refer people suffering from these diseases to specialized centres
  • to put in contact with patients willing to share their daily difficulties with others facing similar situations
  • to guide patients in their administrative procedures
  • to ensure readiness to listen, encourage, share
  • to create supports, information tools
  • to make known these rare diseases to health professionals
  • to stimulate research and reduce ignorance
  • to improve medical care
  • to ensure patients care even outside of Belgian and European borders

Our tools :

  • website : click here
  • email address : click here
  • informative folders
  • newsletter
  • individual support when visiting Prof. Boon

Petra BORGARDS & Elisabeth HUHN
Federal Association of Congentinal Vasuclar Malformations, Germany

FACAM is an association of patients, relatives, friends and physicians, who engage for better living conditions of patients suffering from vascular anomalies and her families. FACAM designs information opportunities that facilitate the everyday life with the disease in addition to medical care by specialists:
– Regular meetings of patients, physicians and interested people, where information and experiences can be exchanged and common leisure events were offered.
– Advice by telephone, mail, post deployment experiences, helpful addresses or contacts.
– Publishing a “magazine”, website and newsletter.

Fondazione Alessandra Bisceglia W ALE Onlus, Italy

I’m the President of the Alessandra Bisceglia’ Foundation whose aim is the study and treatment of vascular anomalies. We have two centres, “Stanze di Ale”, where we carry out free medical advice about vascular anomalies, we have several projects of assistance to families and patients (helpline, psychological support) and we fund research too. We believe in networking.

Other VASCA Patient Organisations

Finland: Suomen Klippel-Trenaunay ry

  • Governance: Patients are represented in VASCern governance as well as in the Patient-WG, which is expected to participate actively and give patients and families views. WG Members represent Patient Organisations and will mainstream information in order to maximise the interactions between the ERN and patient associations.
  • The Patient-WG will implement its own road map as there are common issues to be tackled and shared; inform the Board and Council of difficulties they see and be involved in Ethical issues, to balance patient and clinical needs appropriately.
  • Care: Promote, encourage a patient-centric approach in clinical care, service improvement, strategic development, decision-making, ensure the need of rare disease patients are considered and included in discussions and activities, Contribute to the development and dissemination of information to patients, from policy to good practices, care pathways and guidelines.
  • Research: Contribute to define research priority based on what is important to patients and families, ensure patients are embedded in the research activities, assessment of clinical trials and ethics committees, contribute to dissemination of research activities and outcomes, especially to patients
  • Evaluation: Ensure feedback, evaluation based on patient experience, reviewing the ERN performance by receiving and reviewing quality indicators, access times to diagnostic and treatment, clinical outcomes, evaluation of how the ERN acts based on these feedbacks, through the ePAG, Patient-WG, patient experience surveys, in order to redefine and prioritise ERN activities. To give as much information as possible to patients, a social forum should be established on the website. Patients should be aware of what should/should not be done for appropriate diagnosis and care.
  • As Expert patients, they are best placed to educate patients and families on the management of their diseases. They can identify and recommend expert centres or other HCPs.

Coming soon!

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