Treatment horizons for heart valve disease
Heart valve disease is a growing concern in the UK, with prevalence expected to increase significantly in the next few years due to the ageing population. Early identification, referral and subsequent treatment are essential for patients with heart valve disease, because if left untreated, half of those patients will die within two years of developing symptoms.i
There are a variety of effective treatments available for heart valve disease patients, including valve repair or replacement. There are two types of valve for replacement, but more and more patients are opting for tissue heart valves. The drawback with this type of valve is that they wear out after 10 – 20 years (depending on the age of the patient). Occasionally, mechanical valves are used, which don’t wear out, but require the patient to take a lifelong blood-thinning medication.ii
Heart valve disease patients now live longer than ever before and want to continue to lead active lives, which has dictated the need for more resilient, longer-lasting tissue valves. This is particularly important for younger patients, who do not wish to undergo multiple valve replacements for the remainder of their lifetime. Major advances have been made in minimally invasive procedures such as transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), where a valve can be floated through the blood circulation system from a small cut in the groin or chest to the heart, often whilst the patient remains awake.iii These procedures are recommended for patients who are deemed too high risk to undergo open heart surgery. Tissue valves will eventually wear out through calcification (hardening), however, latest processes reduce calcification and potentially double the life expectancy of the valve.
When tissue valves fail, instead of patients requiring further open-heart surgery, this problem can increasingly be treated by floating the new valve through the circulation and locking it into the frame of the old valve, called valve-in-valve transcatheter aortic valve implantation (ViV-TAVI).
“These new innovations for heart valve disease are fantastic news for patients, who want to get back on their feet as quickly as possible and lead a healthy, active life post-treatment,” comments Mr Chris Young, Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Guys and St Thomas’. “With the introduction of longer-lasting valves, and the possibility of valve-in-valve treatment once the previous one reaches the end of its life-span, patients are being given the option of fewer procedures which are also minimally invasive.”
For more information about heart valve disease and the treatments available, please visit www.heartvalvevoice.org.
i Spaccarotella C et al. Pathophysiology of aortic stenosis and approach to treatment with percutaneous valve implantation. Circulation Journal. 2011;75:11-19.
ii American Heart Association. Type of replacement heart valves. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/HeartValveProblemsandDisease/Types-of-Replacement-Heart-Valves_UCM_451175_Article.jsp#.V8fu7igrLIU. Last accessed October 2016
iii Royal Brompton Hospital. TAVI for aortic stenosis. Available at: http://www.rbht.nhs.uk/patients/condition/transcatheter-aortic-valve-implantation/. Last accessed October 2016
All content on Silversurfers.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated at all as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Silversurfers will not be responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content on www.silversurfers.com and we are also not liable for the content of any external websites or links from or to Silversurfers to any other websites. Please always consult your own doctor if you’re in any way concerned about any aspect of your health.
Have you got a health question?
We've teamed up with AXA PPP healthcare to bring you articles, information and tips from their clinical teams on a wide range of health topics. And if you have a question of your own, their, "Ask the Expert" service allows you to ask the team of friendly, experienced nurses, pharmacists and midwives about any health topic and they'll get back to you with an answer as soon as they’re able.* So if you have something that’s been bothering you, whether it concerns you or someone close to you, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Click below to submit your query online.
* Nurses are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Midwives and pharmacists are available Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm; Saturday, 8am to 4pm; and Sunday, 8am to 12pm.
Actual response time will depend on the nature of your enquiry and availability of appropriately qualified experts but the team will always aim to get back to you within 24 hours.
Please note that our Expert Help services are there to offer health information and support. They do not diagnose or prescribe, and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice given in the context of an individual consultation.
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!