NEW YORK, March 23, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- The Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) and the Global Heart Hub (GHH) have released the global position paper "Heart Valve Disease: Harnessing Innovation to Save Lives, Mitigate Costs, and Advance the Healthy Aging Agenda", which builds on a December 2022 roundtable of cross-sector experts and examines how behavior and policy change can best address HVD.
"The impacts of HVD are all the more tragic because they are largely avoidable," said Michael Hodin, CEO of the GCOA. "The prevalence and incidence is growing apace with the aging of our society. It's past time for societies and health systems to unleash the medical innovations that are now available and those still to come in future. In doing so, we will help achieve a healthier aging and align to economic benefits for all."
As population aging accelerates, HVD is growing as a life-threatening health challenge and a costly drain on health systems and public budgets. Yet the disease remains widely under-recognized due, at least in part, to ageist biases.
"HVD can be detected by a simple stethoscope examination and early diagnosis and treatment are central to positive aging," said Neil Johnson, Executive Director, GHH; Chief Executive, Croí, the West of Ireland Cardiac & Stroke Foundation & National Institute for Prevention and Cardiovascular Health. "Despite international best practice guidelines, significant improvements and rapid technological advances in treatment, there are huge variations, inequities, and deficits in the treatment care pathway from diagnosis to treatment across the world."
Aligned with the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing, the experts at the roundtable called on a multi-sector coalition of leaders and organizations to prioritize and strengthen responses to HVD and combat ageist stereotypes that constrain care, improve early detection and diagnosis, and ensure increased and widespread access to life-saving interventions. Greater urgency is needed to ensure that patients and families, health systems, and societies reap the benefits of recent life-saving innovations.
"We need to transform the relationship between people with HVD and their care teams," said Susan Strong, Founding President, Director of Patient Engagement, Heart Valve Voice US and HVD patient. "This should be a true partnership, empowering people to understand the disease, their treatment options, and long-term care plans."
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