Heart valve disease currently affects over 1.5 million people in the UK, with that number set to exceed 3 million by 2056. Despite its prevalence, awareness of the signs and symptoms is still limited.
Heart Valve Voice is a dedicated heart valve disease charity formed by a collection of people with real experiences of heart valve disease, who aim to raise awareness of this important issue. Its ranks include a multi-disciplinary group of experts in the field (cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, GPs), cardiac patient societies and patients.
The key symptoms of heart valve disease are breathlessness, dizziness, chest pain and fatigue. Early detection of valve disease is key to good patient outcomes, so anyone with symptoms should contact their GP for a simple stethoscope check. When a patient develops severe heart valve disease it becomes life threatening, and they are at risk of heart failure, heart attack and stroke.
“Symptom recognition is critical to positive patient outcomes, so awareness is crucial,” says Consultant Cardiologist, Dr Dan Blackman. “We must also address inequalities in access to innovative treatments, such as TAVI, where we lag behind our European and transatlantic counterparts, if we are to achieve a best practice that delivers for every patient.”