Heart Valve Voice’s Chair, Chris Young, welcomed Derek Thomas, MP for St Ives and the Isles of Scilly, to view a successful Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI) procedure in London on Wednesday 9th March.
TAVI is a less invasive method of replacing a diseased aortic heart valve. The new valve is implanted via a catheter introduced into the artery from a small nick in the groin. It is particularly suitable for older patients, who are considered to be at too high risk for surgery.
Mr. Thomas viewed a TAVI performed on an 81 year old man who had experienced breathlessness and chest pain, typical symptoms of the valve disease, aortic stenosis. Despite challenges with the patient’s anatomy, the procedure was completed in just 45 minutes. The patient returned to his bed in the cardiac ward and is expected to leave hospital within a few days.
Mr Thomas commented: “The opportunity to witness the TAVI procedure has helped me to fully grasp the incredible impact the procedure has for the patient. It is clear that patients’ outcomes are greatly improved and people are up and about much more quickly compared to more conventional procedures.
“However, it is also clear that more can be done to diagnose people earlier and it is important that barriers to treatment are removed.”
Chris Young explained to Mr. Thomas that if people are diagnosed promptly, procedures like TAVI and surgical valve replacement can help return patients to a good quality of life. However, he warned that the UK needs to wake up to the fact that, with a rapidly expanding ageing population, action is needed.
“Not only does access to treatment vary greatly across the country, but the UK lags well behind major European countries in treating the disease,” he said.
“We need to diagnose and treat more patients with heart valve disease now, otherwise we could be facing an epidemic in the foreseeable future.”
Member of Parliament for St Ives
About Heart Valve Voice
Heart Valve Voice is a patient-physician partnership offering a voice to people with those impacted by or working in the area of heart valve disease.
Formed in 2013, Heart Valve Voice aims to address the under-diagnosis and under-treatment of people with heart valve disease in the UK, by raising awareness and understanding of the disease to ensure patients receive the right treatment at the right time. For more information please visit: www.heartvalvevoice.co.uk
About heart valve disease
Heart valve disease is primarily a condition caused by either wear or disease of the heart valve(s), affecting the flow of blood through the heart. When diseased or defective, heart valves may not open or close properly and can interfere with the flow of blood. The most common valve problems involve the mitral and aortic valves, which are located on the left side of the heart.
Heart valve disease can be detected during a medical visit. A heart “murmur” or “click-murmur” heard through a physician’s stethoscope is usually the first indication of a valve disorder.
Without treatment, patients with severe disease face shortened life, and impairments in physical and social functioning and emotional well-being that contribute to poor quality of life.