Patient organisations and policy makers unite for a special event in Brussels

Heart Valve Disease in Europe: Creating a Better Patient Journey

A joint seminar, “Heart Valve Disease in Europe: Creating a Better Patient Journey”, will take place on April 27th in Brussels, hosted by the Global Heart Hub (the international alliance of patient organisations) and MEP Brando Benifei, Co-Chair of the MEP Heart Group.

This special event in Brussels will highlight the burden of heart valve disease in Europe and provide an opportunity for attendees to discuss recommendations for a better patient journey. Attendees include Members of the European Parliament; heart valve disease patients; patient organisations from across Europe including Meine Herzklappe, Austria; Initiative Herzklappe, Germany; Croí, Ireland; Cuore Italia, Italy; EcoSerce, Poland; AEPOVAC, Spain and Heart Valve Voice, UK; clinicians, researchers and representatives of civil society.

“Heart valve disease has been described as the next cardiac epidemic[1]. 13% of people over the age of 75 are thought to be living with heart valve disease in Europe, and this number is expected to double by 2040 and triple by 2060[2]. This special seminar is critical because, despite the burden and impact of heart valve disease, this condition has not been prioritised to the extent required in terms of early diagnosis, timely treatment and access to innovative treatment options,” says Neil Johnson, Executive Director, Global Heart Hub.

Speakers at the event include MEP Brando Benifei, Co-Chair of the MEP Heart Group; Vytenis Andriukaitis, former European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety; Dr. Marta Sitges, Cardiovascular Institute, Hospital Clinic and University of Barcelona, Spain; Prof. Ruggero De Paulis, European Hospital and UniCamillus University, Italy; Dr Suzanne Wait, Managing Director, Health Policy Partnership; and Jens Näumann, heart valve patient, Germany.

The focus of the seminar surrounds a patient journey report published by the Global Heart Hub in December 2020 in collaboration with The Health Policy Partnership. The first-in-Europe report on heart valve disease aims to raise stakeholder awareness and bring a patient advocacy focus to heart valve disease. It was developed under the guidance of a multidisciplinary advisory group, whose members included patient representatives and different healthcare professionals engaged in heart valve disease care from around Europe.

Contributor to the patient journey report, cardiologist Dr. Marta Sitges, comments: “The report, Heart valve disease: working together to create a better patient journey, takes a European perspective on what an optimal care pathway should look like for people with heart valve disease. Effective treatment for heart valve disease exists. It is therefore crucial for patients to enter appropriate care pathways as soon as possible to ensure they receive timely, best-practice care.”

MEP Brando Benifei adds: “In my work as co-chair of the MEP Heart Group, I have seen the positive efforts to address cardiovascular diseases at EU level. But people living with heart valve disease can often get left behind, and we need to remedy this. The Global Heart Hub has developed a clear plan for the heart valve disease patient care pathway. The patient journey report provides a brilliant map for patients from awareness through to diagnosis and treatment. The political world needs to draw on this example, to help empower patients and the people treating them.”

The seminar will take place on April 27th from 15:30-17:30 CET at TownHall Europe, Sq. de Meeûs 5, Brussels 1000, Belgium. For more, contact Read the report: Heart valve disease: working together to create a better patient journey

[1] d’Arcy J, Prendergast B, Chambers J, et al. 2011. Valvular heart disease: the next cardiac epidemic. Heart: 10.1136/hrt.2010.205096

[2] Nkomo VT, Gardin JM, Skelton TN, et al. 2006. Burden of valvular heart diseases: a population-based study. The Lancet 368(9540): 1005-11