Heart valve disease

Heart valve disease is a serious condition which can be fatal if left untreated, yet it tends to receive less attention than other cardiovascular diseases.

Heart valve disease

Heart valve disease is a serious condition which can be fatal if left untreated, yet it tends to receive less attention than other cardiovascular diseases.

Context

Prevalence of heart valve disease is growing rapidly, so addressing the existing gaps in care is an urgent priority across Europe.

Heart valve disease is a debilitating condition that occurs when there are structural or functional abnormalities in one or more of the four valves in the heart. If heart valve disease is detected and treated in a timely manner, people can recover and enjoy good quality of life. But there are significant gaps in detection, diagnosis and access to treatment. Many people live with their disease undetected for several years or receive treatment too late, which can lead to premature death.

The optimal care pathway for people with heart valve disease is complex and resource-intensive, but the cost of not managing the disease effectively is far higher – both in terms of the burden on the individual and the financial cost to the system. People whose heart valve disease is not managed appropriately may have to endure prolonged hospital stays, admission to intensive care units, rehospitalisation and rehabilitation – not to mention avoidable ill health and poor quality of life.

As our populations age, prevalence of heart valve disease is rising – it has been estimated that the number of people living with heart valve disease will double in the next two decades. Life-saving treatments are available, but too many cases of heart valve disease continue to go undetected for too long. It is imperative that actions are taken now to address the gaps in care, to improve detection and access to treatment and reduce the debilitating impact of heart valve disease on people’s lives.

What we achieved

In early 2020, the Global Heart Hub established a Heart Valve Disease Patient Council to bring a patient advocacy focus to heart valve disease. It then commissioned HPP to develop a report aiming to raise stakeholder awareness of heart valve disease across Europe.

We brought together a group of experts from across Europe to collaborate in the development of the report, which includes recommendations for action across the entire patient care pathway and also at specific stages of that pathway.

The report, Heart valve disease: working together to create a better patient journey, was published in December 2020, along with a two-page summary that was produced in English, Dutch, French, German, Italian and Spanish. HPP also produced a video in which several of the contributing experts share their perspectives on the importance of working together to improve care for people with heart valve disease.

The launch of the project was supported with a social media campaign using the hashtag #ValvesAtHeart. HPP produced graphics and sample posts for social media, which were made available via the Global Heart Hub website.

Key partners and stakeholders

Authors:

 

  • Suzanne Wait, HPP
  • Pooja Krishnaswamy, HPP
  • Britt Borregaard, Odense University Hospital, Denmark
  • Jens Näumann, Initiative Herzklappe, Germany
  • Keith Pearce, Wythenshawe Hospital, UK
  • Marta Sitges, Cardiovascular Institute, Hospital Clinic Universitat de Barcelona, Spain
  • Neil Johnson, The Global Heart Hub and Croí, Ireland
  • Paul Nolan, Galway University Hospital, Saolta University Healthcare Group, Ireland
  • Ruggero De Paulis, European Hospital, Unicamillus University, Italy
  • Wil Woan, Heart Valve Voice, the Global Heart Hub Heart Valve Disease Patient Council, UK
  • Wojtek Wojakowski, Medical University of Silesia, Poland

The authors would like to thank the following experts for their contributions:

 

  • Bart Meuris, University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium
  • Cormac O Dubhghaill, Harbour Medical Centre, Ireland
  • Matthew Fay, The Willows Medical Practice, UK
  • Rui Campante Teles, Hospital de Santa Cruz CHLO, Hospital da Luz, Portugal
  • William Wyns, The Lambe Institute for Translational Medicine, National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland
  • Christian Schaefer, International Self-Monitoring Association of Anticoagulated Patients (ISMAAP), Switzerland

Additional thanks to the members of the Global Heart Hub Heart Valve Disease Patient Council for their invaluable feedback and guidance.

This report was commissioned by the Global Heart Hub and written by The Health Policy Partnership, with co-authorship from an expert advisory group. The expert advisory group had full editorial control over content. The initiative was supported by a grant from Abbott, Edwards Lifesciences and Medtronic.