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14 December 2010
The UK is poorly prepared for a forthcoming 'epidemic' of valvular heart disease caused by an ageing population, says a new study.
Researchers say diagnosis and treatment for people with diseased heart valves, which typically occur later in life, is already inadequate with many referred too late for surgery. They say more specialist cardiac care is necessary to cope with increasing demand as more people live longer.
Our medical director, Professor Peter Weissberg, said: “As the population ages, heart disease caused by worn out heart valves is increasing.
Patients with all types of heart disease have a better chance of survival and quality of life
“The authors of this paper are right to point out that the NHS will need appropriately skilled health care professionals to identify and deal with patients of all ages - particularly the elderly - with valve disease.
“It is well established that patients with all types of heart disease have a better chance of survival and quality of life when managed by an expert cardiological team.
“It is essential that all hospitals maintain and indeed expand their expert cardiac services over the coming years to avoid the financial and health costs of not dealing with the changing pattern of heart disease in an expert and timely manner.”
The study was published in Heart journal.