Bill 66, a Private Member’s Bill introduced by Rudy Cuzzetto, MPP for Mississauga-Lakeshore, would proclaim February 22nd as Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day, and the second full week of September as Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week.
TORONTO – Rudy Cuzzetto, MPP for Mississauga-Lakeshore, introduced a Private Member’s Bill today which, if passed, would proclaim February 22nd as Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day, and the second full week of September as Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week.
Over one million Canadians are living with heart valve disease, including 1 in 8 over the age of 75. Given Ontario’s aging population, the incidence of heart valve disease is increasing. Cardiologists describe this as the next epidemic of heart disease.
“I know firsthand the importance of raising awareness about heart valve disease,” said Cuzzetto, who was diagnosed with a heart murmur at the age of 18, and later had a bicuspid aortic valve replaced with a mechanical valve. “Without getting my heart checked, I wouldn’t be here today.”
The mortality rate in untreated severe, symptomatic aortic stenosis (the most common form of heart valve disease) is between 25 and 50% per year. But when detected early by a simple stethoscope check, valve repairs and replacements can significantly improve length and quality of life.
Unfortunately, only about 26% of Canadians have had a stethoscope check in the past year. Symptoms vary widely between individuals, and are often dismissed as normal signs of aging. As a result, patients with heart valve disease are often underdiagnosed, undertreated, or referred for care too late.
“That’s why it’s so important to raise awareness about the risks and symptoms of heart valve disease,” said Cuzzetto. “And that’s what Bill 66 will do.”
“MPP Rudy Cuzetto has been a tireless advocate for raising awareness of heart valve disease and we are so grateful,” said Ellen Ross, Managing Director of Heart Valve Voice Canada. “An Act to Proclaim Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day and Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week will bolster Heart Valve Voice Canada’s mission to raise awareness about heart valve disease. With Ontario’s population growing older, the burden of heart valve disease is on the rise and early detection can save lives.”
Bill 66 will now proceed to second reading later this year.
-Heart valve disease occurs when one of the four heart valves cannot open properly to allow blood flow or cannot close properly to prevent the backflow of blood.
-Many patients with heart valve disease experience shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, heart arrhythmia, dizziness, fainting, swelling of the ankles, feet or abdomen or difficulties sleeping flat due to cough or congestion, but others do not have any symptoms.
Office of Rudy Cuzzetto, MPP