Chesterfield MP, Toby Perkins, was delighted to attend UK charity, Heart Valve Voice’s testing and awareness raising event in Portcullis House on 19th April. During the event, Toby underwent a simple stethoscope check by a trained cardiologist, who explained what his results meant and why early detection of heart valve disease is so important. He also heard from patients from across the country, who have been treated for the condition and the impact that this has had on both them and their families.
In the UK, progress has been made over the past few years with regards to timely diagnosis and treatment of heart valve disease. However, much more work is needed to ensure that all patients across the UK receive optimal care. Heart valve disease can often go undiagnosed as there are not always symptoms or because people do not realise the symptoms they are experiencing could be something serious. For this reason, Heart Valve Voice believes that the NHS should offer regular stethoscope checks to all over 65s.
Heart valve disease is a progressive heart condition associated with ageing, whereby the heart valves become damaged through wear or disease and cease to work properly. It affects more than one million people across the UK and, if left untreated, can lead to heart failure and death. Despite this, there remains significant under-diagnosis of the condition in the UK and local variation in terms of diagnosis and access to effective treatments.
Commenting on the event, Wil Woan, Executive Director or Heart Valve Voice said: “Heart Valve Voice is on a mission to improve the diagnosis, treatment and management of heart valve disease in the UK. We know that regular stethoscope checks for over 65s could go a long way in helping to find those currently living with undiagnosed heart valve disease and give them the best chance of making a good recovery. Early detection is so important and that we are delighted that so many Parliamentarians, like Toby, have taken the time to find out more about our campaign.”
Toby welcomed the event and said: “The earlier heart valve disease is detected, the better the outcome for patients and their families. I will be doing what I can to ensure that the people of Chesterfield and Staveley become more aware of the symptoms of heart valve disease and I would encourage anyone experiencing these symptoms to see their doctor for a stethoscope check. I fully support Heart Valve Voice’s call for these quick and simple checks to be offered to all over 65s”.