Heart Valve Disease in Scotland Report
Thursday 2nd December 2021
Today Heart Valve Voice launch our State of the Nation: Heart Valve Disease in Scotland Report, which looks at the detection, diagnosis and treatment of heart valve disease in Scotland.
The report makes new recommendations to ramp up detection and diagnosis of heart valve disease in Scotland and improve patient access to care, setting out the following recommendations:
- An urgent review of heart valve centres across Scotland, to identify areas of expertise and construct an optimal patient pathway, with variation in access to echocardiography across Scotland addressed as a matter of urgency
- More standardised data needs to be collected on heart valve disease in Scotland to ensure there is a clearer picture of how the condition is currently being diagnosed, managed and treated
- Awareness of the signs and symptoms of heart valve disease amongst primary care healthcare professionals and the public must be improved through effective and targeted education
- All individuals over the age of 65 should have their hearts routinely checked with a stethoscope by a trained primary care healthcare professional
- Equally prioritising combatting heart valve disease along with other serious heart conditions
Professor Marc Dweck, Chair of Clinical Cardiology and consultant cardiologist at the University of Edinburgh, said: “In Scotland, we urgently need a nationwide register of heart valve disease so we can understand how patients with valve disease are being treated and whether they are getting access to the care they need. However, on a regional scale, we know that there are disparities, for example waiting lists for diagnostics in NHS Lothian vs. NHS Shetland are very different.
An echocardiogram is one of the most widely used diagnostic tests in cardiology, and allows us to understand whether the patient’s heart valves are working properly and, if not, how serious the problem is. It is the first step to effective treatment. That is why it is so important that patients everywhere have equitable and rapid access to this key diagnostic test.”
Today, Heart Valve Voice will take this report to Holyrood, and encourage policymakers to take on our recommendations and help us build a better future for valve disease patients in Scotland.
Heart Valve Voice Executive Director, Wil Woan, said “It is an unfortunate fact that far too many people in Scotland are not being diagnosed and treated quickly enough. We believe that it is critical that action is taken now to improve care and outcomes for patients. This report sets out a series of recommendations that we believe will lead to a better future for heart valve disease patients in Scotland. I would like to thank all the patients and clinicians who contributed towards the production of this report, and I very much hope that it plays a role in driving real change in Scotland.”