Lib Dem MP Tom Brake called for greater awareness and improved treatment of heart valve disease during a heart check up in Parliament, organised by Heart Valve Voice, a charity aimed at raising awareness of heart valve disease. Heart Valve Voice used Tom in an example procedure, in which a nurse listened to his heart for a ‘murmur’, which if found, would be a preliminary sign of the disease. No murmur was detected.
If a murmur is detected during a test, an echocardiogram test will usually follow in order to confirm the diagnosis. Heart valve disease affects over a million citizens over 65 in the UK, yet only 7% of over 60s are familiar with the disease. A recent survey indicated that 72% of citizens over the age of 60 rarely, or never, have their hearts checked using a stethoscope by their doctor. When untreated, the disease is irreversible and can lead to heart failure and, ultimately, death. Heart Valve Voice is seeking more effective treatment and management of patients following diagnosis.
Tom, eager to support the awareness-raising campaign, said: “The simplicity of the preliminary procedure clearly shows that deaths can be prevented. By promoting the campaigns of Heart Valve Voice in educating the UK’s population on the disease, we can save millions of lives in the future. I will do my utmost to ensure that their message reaches as much of the nation as possible and also that my constituents are made aware that a simple procedure at their next check up, could indeed save their life.”
For more information, visit www.heartvalvevoice.com and follow them on Twitter @heartvalvevoice or like their Facebook page. ‘The more we listen, the more lives we save.’