Eluned attended a Heart Valve Voice Assembly testing event that also marked the launch of a new report by the charity. Members were also tested for a heart murmur with a stethoscope, which in adults can indicate a problem with a heart valve.
Heart Valve Voice’s report, State of the Nation: Heart Valve Disease in Wales, brings together a wealth of evidence on the current provision for heart valve disease patients in Wales. It highlights the significant under-diagnosis and under-treatment of the condition when compared to the UK as a whole, and warns that the number of people with heart valve disease in Wales is estimated to rise by 37% in the next 40 years.
The report also outlines a series of recommendations to ensure patients are treated in line with best practice. In particular the report calls for:
- A reduction in waiting time for echocardiography to 6 weeks, in line with recommended standards and English targets
- The omission of heart valve disease in the Heart Disease Delivery Plan to be recognised and explained, and for future cardiac strategies to review the needs of heart valve disease patients
- Variation in access to best practice treatment to be addressed, particularly with respect to patients in North Wales
Assembly Members were joined at the event by patients and clinicians, who shared their experiences of heart valve disease care.
Commenting on the event Eluned said:
“I was delighted to attend the Heart Valve Voice testing event in the Senedd today. Through speaking to patients and clinicians I realise how crucial optimal care is, and how it can both significantly improve a patient’s quality of life and ensure both short and long term savings for the NHS.
“Given Wales’ ageing population it is vital that more people are aware of the symptoms of heart valve disease and have access to appropriate treatments. I welcome Heart Valve Voice’s new report: ‘State of the Nation’, as an important step forward for improving diagnosis and care.”
Heart Valve Voice Chief Executive Wil Woan added:
“Heart Valve Disease is a growing concern in Wales and we hope that this report highlights the need for policy makers to prioritise the condition within wider cardiac care.”
“We were delighted to have Eluned attend our testing session in the Welsh Assembly today. We look forward to working together to see the recommendations in the report implemented to improve the diagnosis, treatment and care of heart valve disease patients across Wales.”
About Heart Valve Voice
Heart Valve Voice is a patient-physician charity for people with heart valve disease. Heart Valve Voice’s mission is to improve the diagnosis, treatment and management of heart valve disease by raising awareness of its severity and the need for timely detection to ensure all patients receive the right treatment at the right time. ‘The more we listen, the more lives we save.’ For more information, visit www.heartvalvevoice.org and follow us on Twitter @heartvalvevoice and like our Facebook page.
About Heart Valve Disease
Heart valve disease is the name given to any malfunction or abnormality of one or more of the heart’s four valves, affecting the blood flow through the heart. The condition is usually caused by wear, disease or damage of the heart valve(s). Commonly reported signs and symptoms of heart valve disease include shortness of breath on exertion, chest tightness and/or pain, palpitations, fatigue, dizziness and fainting.
For more information, please contact:
Wil Woan, CEO Heart Valve Voice
 Office for National Statistics (2017), ‘National population projections: Summary results’. Available: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationprojections/compendium/nationalpopulationprojections/2016basedprojections/summaryresults#appendix-b-wales-charts
Kennedy A. et al (2016), ‘Large-scale community echocardiographic screening reveals a major burden of undiagnosed valvular heart disease in older people: The OxVALVE population cohort study’, European Heart Journal, vol 37, pp. 3515-3522a
 NHS England (2019), ‘The handbook to the NHS Constitution for England’.