Wil Woan and MP Steve McCabe.jpg

Wil Woan and MP Steve McCabe

Friday 8th June 2018

From the 4-8 June, MedTech Europe organised MedTech Week to promote innovative and life-changing technologies across Europe. National medtech associations and organisations across the continent were encouraged to hold events and support the week through their communication channels.

MedTech Europe is an initiative that brings together professionals who are committed to supporting patients and people in need on the patient pathway. Their work in the medical industry ensures that people are provided with the most innovative technologies to help in the treatment of disease and illness and improve conditions for patients and employees in hospitals and at home.

As part of their support for MedTech week Heart Valve Voice UK celebrated innovation in the treatment of heart valve disease. CEO Wil Woan visited Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital in London alongside British MP Steve McCabe to observe some of the innovative treatments that the hospital is using to treat valve disease patients. These treatments mean that patients can be treated, recover and gain back their quality of life in far less time than the more traditional and more invasive treatment options.

Other hospitals in the UK are also making the investment into innovative techniques and technologies for the treatment of heart valve disease. For example, Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital clinicians have been performing the UK’s first totally keyhole (endoscopic) robotic mitral valve surgeries allowing patients to be released much sooner and with much less post-operative pain or risk of infection.

Patients are reaping the benefits of these innovative procedures and devices, like Geoffrey Pritchard. Geoffrey received a new innovative mitral valve device through minimally invasive surgery, meaning he was out of the hospital and back on the golf course in no time. Geoffrey, 76, was the first in the UK to receive the new device and is doing better than ever, “I’m really grateful that I was able to receive this minimally invasive procedure as opposed to open heart surgery,” said Geoffrey. “Not only did I recover quickly, but I can only imagine the cost savings of having patients like me in and out of treatment so quickly and feeling almost instantly better. It’s a shame all patients aren't provided with this option.”

“With approximately 1.5 million people over the age of 65 currently affected by heart valve disease in the UK, and with the number of people in this age bracket set to significantly increase over the coming years, how we test, trial and take up new technological innovation will be more important than ever,” said Tony Young, National Clinical Lead for Innovation at NHS England and Consultant Urological Surgeon at Southend University Hospital.

This is reflected across Europe with an ageing population and over 10 million people living with heart valve disease. Unfortunately access to the work of initiatives like MedTech and to innovation in healthcare is still an issue in the UK and in many parts of Europe. Short-sighted budget decisions leave little room for the introduction of innovative procedures and devices preventing patients from getting the best treatment options available.

“It is wonderful to see initiatives like MedTech Europe promoting innovation in healthcare,” said Diego Freri, Communications Lead for Cuore Italia. “While some parts of Europe are leading the way in innovation and heart valve disease treatment, the same can’t be said for everywhere. We need to ensure that there is more awareness about the need for timely and effective treatment for patients across Europe.”

With only 3.8% of over 60 year old Europeans knowing what aortic stenosis, the most common form of heart valve disease is, the work of MedTech and week’s like MedTech Week are great ways to raise the profile of the need for improved care options for patients across Europe.