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This Week: Heart Valve Voice and Valve for Life with University Hospitals Birmingham offering free heart checks
Via Callum for Heart Valve Voice
February 2022: UK heart valve disease charity, Heart Valve Voice, Valve for Life and University Hospital Birmingham (UHB) cardiology team are offering free heart checks from a pop-up bus in the central Birmingham in an attempt to address the decrease in diagnosis of heart valve disease.
On 24th February, from 10am to 3pm, the team will be at Edgbaston Street, near Bullring and Grand Central on a blue Medtronic Your Heart Matters bus. They will be offering advice to the people of Birmingham about heart valve disease, and there will be the opportunity to have a heart rhythm check and a stethoscope check (cardiac auscultation) that detects heart valve disease.
The team from UHB will include consultants, senior trainees, physiologists and specialist nurses who all care for patients with heart valve disease at UHB, as well as Heart Valve Voice patient advocates. On the day, anyone who is diagnosed with a heart murmur or irregular pulse will be given a letter to share with their GP for further investigations.
The team is collaborating with Valve for Life and Heart Valve Voice to empower patients to access healthcare and raise public awareness of these heart valve conditions.
Heart Valve Voice CEO, Wil Woan, said:
We are looking forward to providing education to the people of Birmingham and hope to raise awareness that a simple stethoscope check could identify important heart disease. On the day, trained cardiologists will be on hand to perform cardiac auscultation and give immediate feedback to members of the public, which could save lives.”
Heart valve disease affects 1.5million people in the UK and can be fatal if untreated. Most serious heart valve disorders can be detected by listening to the heart with a stethoscope. A trained health professional can detect a ‘heart murmur’ – an abnormal heart sound – by listening to the heart, and this may indicate a heart valve problem. A recent study found that there are approximately 300,000 people in the UK living with severe aortic stenosis. If left untreated, 50% of patients with severe aortic stenosis will die within two years.
Heart valve disease in the UK is often undetected because heart auscultation (listening to the heart) is performed less frequently than elsewhere in the world. This has been compounded by the impact of Covid-19 with fewer patients accessing face to face consultations and so less opportunity to detect heart valve disease with a stethoscope.
Steve McCabe, MP for Selly Oak and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Heart Valve Disease, said:
It is a sad fact that Covid has led to a decrease in diagnosis of this common, serious, but treatable condition. This is an opportunity for the people of Birmingham to talk to the team and have their heart checked by experts. As a treated heart valve disease patient, I am living proof that with timely diagnosis and treatment, patients can get back to a good quality of life. I encourage everyone to come down and support this event.”
One treatment for disease of the aortic heart valve is transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI). TAVI was developed as an alternative to open-heart surgery and involves putting a new heart valve in place using a less invasive (‘keyhole’) approach. It is most commonly performed under local anaesthetic through an artery in the top of the leg, and the benefits include a faster recovery time.
Find the Your Heart Matters bus at Edgbaston Street from 10am to 3pm on Thursday 24th February.