Valve For Life Partnership Comes At 'Critical Time'
Tuesday 8th December 2020
Heart Valve Voice’s new partnership with the UK Valve For Life initiative could not have come at a more critical time for valve disease patients, according to CEO, Wil Woan. The initiative is run by the European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions (EAPCI), and will be promoting transcatheter valve interventions, which could be crucial in rapidly reducing the waiting lists built up during the COVID-19 crisis.
EAPCI set up Valve For Life in 2015 with 4 main goals:
- Raising awareness of the importance of valvular heart disease in the general population.
- Facilitating access to novel therapies such as transcatheter heart valve interventions.
- Raising educational standards and reduce obstacles to therapy implementation.
- Diminishing age and gender recrimination in access to care.
The overall objectives of Valve For Life are to address inequalities in patient access and address the disparities between countries in Europe, as well as inform government officials, healthcare administrators and healthcare providers about the clinical and economic value in the transcatheter heart valve therapies in the management of valvular heart disease. By promoting synergies and collaboration between Cardiologists and Cardiovascular Surgeons, Valve For Life can improve access, education, and deliver optimal pathways for patients.
The initiative has already seen results in its two pilot countries. It was launched in Poland, in 2015, where the decision by the Polish Ministry of Health to allocate funds for an additional 100 interventions in 2016 meant that the campaign was able to achieve the 2020 20% growth rate in just its first year. In France, the number of TAVI procedures performed per million people has nearly doubled between 2015 (107) and 2018 (193). And in Portugal, there has been a 40% increase in TAVI procedures in the first 2 years.
The UK initiative will begin this year and will be headed up by Consultant Cardiologist Dr Dan Blackman. Dr Blackman said “I was honoured to be asked to lead the UK’s Valve for Life initiative and I’m delighted to have partnered with Heart Valve Voice on this. Valve For Life is a crucial campaign in reducing inequalities in access to treatment, both domestically and Europe wide. Together with Heart Valve Voice, we strengthen our power and reach and will be able to affect tremendous change. Work has already begun, and I look forward to working with Wil and the team at Heart Valve Voice in the future.”
The UK Valve for Life will work with patients and stakeholders at a local, regional and national level to improve awareness and increase access to transcatheter valvular therapies. Working with patients, we will promote stories and experiences that capture the cardiovascular landscape, raise awareness and provide comfort and confidence to valve disease patients. We will be working with the UK Parliament, conducting roundtables, asking questions in Parliament and working with policymakers to affect guideline change. We will also be working in the devolved authorities, to ensure access and reduce regional and national disparities in access.
Heart Valve Voice CEO Wil Woan said “The Valve for Life initiative comes at a critical time for our patients, with so many having had procedures postponed or having avoided hospitals for fear of contracting COVID-19. Transcatheter procedures involve much shorter hospital stays than open-heart surgery, so they can play an important role in reducing waiting lists and ensure heart valve disease patients have limited exposure to this virus. We have the chance to transform the treatment of our patients, which is why I am so looking forward to working with Dr Blackman and his team on this essential project.”