A Message from the Chair of the Heart Valve Disease Patient Council regarding COVID-19

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The global COVID-19 crisis has put an enormous strain on health systems which face the battle of limiting the spread of Coronavirus whilst also providing the treatment and care that will save lives. As a result of this, healthcare systems across the world are having to change the way they work and what they prioritise, impacting patients presenting with many conditions, including heart valve disease.

As chair of the valve council of Global Heart Hub, my message to you is that, whilst there may be disruption and delays to appointments and treatments, urgent treatment for heart valve disease still needs to be undertaken.

Many of the indicators that suggest a patient requires early intervention are symptom driven, so it is crucial that you monitor your symptoms and report any deterioration to your nurse, case manager or GP. The members of Global Heart Hub’s valve disease council have resources to help you track your symptoms and I would encourage all valve disease patients to use these resources during this period.

During this crisis we have seen a concerning trend of cardiovascular patients with severe disease avoiding hospitals for fear of contracting COVID-19. By not receiving urgent treatment, they may be putting their lives at greater risk, whereas they may be better served taking all necessary precautions and putting themselves in the good hands of cardiac surgeons and cardiologists. We urge all patients to monitor their symptoms closely and report any deteriorations.

We are aware that this is a worrying period for patients globally and your concern about your treatment is only exacerbated by concerns about COVID-19 and isolation from your loved ones. The Global Heart Hub is here to support you through this challenging time. Each of our members is delivering a comprehensive agenda that provides information, support and comfort for patients. This is an unprecedented global challenge, but things will get better. The awareness, detection and treatment of the disease is progressing rapidly, so we can be optimistic about the future.

The founding principle of the Global Heart Hub is that through partnerships, sharing of information and leveraging patient voices we can help to deliver the best outcomes for patients globally. Now more than ever, we call on our supporters to partner with us to share credible, accurate and beneficial information for patients. If you are a former patient, we ask you to use your voice to support those people who await treatment. And if you are a patient with any concerns, please feel free to voice these to us so that we can support you at this challenging time.

It is important that, together, we make clear that when the COVID-19 crisis relents, heart valve disease patients around the world will need and should receive treatment. At this time, Global Heart Hub will be making the case to physicians and healthcare systems that valve disease patients should be treated as a matter of urgency. Our focus remains on delivering early intervention that returns patients to a good quality of life in optimal time. By ensuring that, we can reduce your risk of viruses and infections, help to give you back your quality of life and make sure that we contribute to rebuilding our communities following the crisis.

Wil Woan
CEO of Heart Valve Voice
Chair of the Heart Valve Disease Patient Council at the Global Heart Hub