Ed Harding and Suzanne Wait present at summit for the cardiovascular patient community

1 December 2021

On 23 November, HPP Managing Directors Ed Harding and Suzanne Wait participated in panel discussions at the inaugural Unite Summit, hosted by the Global Heart Hub. This virtual conference aimed to bring together and empower cardiovascular patients and patient advocates.

Ed and Suzanne took part in sessions that focused on key issues and advocacy challenges for specific cardiovascular conditions. Ed discussed heart failure with two other experts, Professor Salvatore Di Somma (Sapienza University of Rome) and Michael Hodin (Global Coalition on Aging), in a conversation moderated by Tamsin Rose (Friends of Europe, Africa-Europe Foundation). He covered the underrepresentation of heart failure in policy planning, stating, ‘It’s astonishing to think how few countries across Europe have strategies for heart failure. We have good evidence that national policymakers don’t really know what heart failure is and its relation to hospital admission.’ Ed stressed that by simply applying available heart failure guidelines, ‘we can reduce hospital admission by over 30%’. Population ageing was raised as an important factor behind the increasing prevalence of heart failure, compounded by the problem of scalability, with Ed highlighting that there ‘is a serious lack of specialist nurses and accreditation, and we are simply not ready to scale at the speed we need.’

Suzanne joined a concurrent discussion on heart valve disease, moderated by Nicola Bedlington (European Patients’ Forum) and featuring Professor Ruggero De Paulis (European Hospital) and Professor Philippe Pibarot (Université Laval). She provided some background on heart valve disease, which is less well known than other cardiovascular conditions, despite being described as the ‘next cardiac epidemic’. A recurring theme of the conversation was raising awareness of heart valve disease among patients and physicians – as it is often asymptomatic, patients are frequently referred to surgery too late. Speakers referenced Heart valve disease: working together to create a better patient journey, a report developed by HPP and the Global Heart Hub, which has had its findings published in the European Heart Journal.

Both discussions shed light on cardiovascular conditions that are undervalued by policymakers and are unknown by much of the public. Thanks to the Global Heart Hub for hosting an excellent summit – we look forward to next year!