Tuesday 1st November 2016

Today, Heart Valve Voice launches its report, ‘Towards a Heart Healthy Future: a 2020 Vision for Heart Valve Disease’ at a parliamentary event attended by MPs, clinicians and patients from across the country.

In order to combat this growing issue, we have set out a number of recommendations to improve the diagnosis, treatment and care of heart valve disease in the face of significant challenges for the NHS and with an ageing population, including: the development of NICE heart valve disease guidelines as a priority, the introduction of effective and targeted education and awareness-raising campaigns for primary healthcare professionals and the public, routine use of the stethoscope in over 65s, improved access to echocardiography (ultrasound of the heart) for GPs and equal access to treatment for patients across the UK and compared to the rest of Europe.

“The UK’s ageing population, and the increased risk of developing heart valve disease with age mean that we are going to see a steep rise in the number of cases in the coming years,” said Mr Chris Young, Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Guys and St Thomas’. “We must work to set in place protocols across all levels of the healthcare system to make sure that these patients are not slipping through the net and are diagnosed early and reach the appropriate secondary care team for treatment. This in turn will provide patients with a longer, better quality of life and also reduce the long-term cost burden on the NHS.”

Wil Woan, CEO of Heart Valve Voice added, “This report sets out key recommendations to address these barriers which are present at every step of a patient’s treatment pathway.”