More than 350 people took advantage of having their heart checked for free in Brighton earlier this week after University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust cardiologists and UK heart valve disease charity, Heart Valve Voice, teamed up to provide advice and expertise around heart disease.
A ‘Your Heart Matters’ bus parked up by Hove Lawns on Tuesday, offering people the opportunity to have a heart rhythm check and a stethoscope check which detects heart valve disease.
This event is part of a year-long campaign across 12 cities in the UK to raise awareness of heart valve disease.
Previously, over 1,000 hearts have been listened to, and over 100 undetected cardiac conditions have been found.
In Brighton 352 people had a check-up and 26 positive screenings for undetected cardiac conditions.
Anyone diagnosed with a heart murmur or irregular pulse was given a letter to share with their GP for further tests.
The team from UHSussex included consultants, senior trainees, physiologists and specialist nurses who all care for patients with heart valve disease.
One of the team, Dr James Cockburn, said: “It was fantastic to see so many people, especially when you consider the downpour in the afternoon. The response has been brilliant and we have been able to detect a number of cardiac conditions in people – and that is really important, to spot them early.
“It has been great to be out working with the people of the city.”
Callum Ferguson, for Heart Valve Voice, said: “Thank you to the fantastic team at University Hospitals Sussex for helping to deliver this incredible event. The discovery of 26 previously undetected cardiac conditions means those people are now on their journey towards timely diagnosis and treatment.
“Thank you the people of Brighton for welcoming us to their city, and supporting this initiative.”
Brighton was chosen as one of the cities as it has a worldwide reputation for providing world class cardiac care.
Structural intervention using new and novel key hole technologies is one of the major strengths of the Sussex Cardiac Centre, based in Brighton.
The Trust is involved in a number of clinical trials that have offered new and pioneering techniques to our local patients and in August last year UHSussex did the first fully mitral valve replacement using novel technology in the UK.
Heart valve disease affects 1.5million people in the UK and can be fatal if untreated. Most serious heart valve disorders can be detected by listening to the heart with a stethoscope. A trained health professional can detect a ‘heart murmur’- an abnormal heart sound – by listening to the heart, and this may indicate a heart valve problem. A recent study found that there are approximately 300,000 people in the UK living with severe aortic stenosis. If left untreated, 50% of patients with severe aortic stenosis will die within two years.
Heart valve disease in the UK is often undetected because heart auscultation (listening to the heart) is performed less frequently than elsewhere in the world. This has been compounded by the impact of COVID-19 with fewer patients accessing face to face consultations and so less opportunity to detect heart valve disease with a stethoscope.
One treatment for the disease of the aortic heart valve is transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI). TAVI was developed as an alternative to open-heart surgery and involves putting a new heart valve in place using a less invasive (‘keyhole’) approach. It is most commonly performed under local anaesthetic through an artery in the top of the leg, and the benefits include a faster recovery time. UHSussex is one of the place in the UK where this can take place.