HVV Canada Pleased by Ontario’s Continued Investment in Cardiac Care; Calling for Government’s Acceptance of Ontario Health’s Recommendation to Broaden Access to Treatment

November 19, 2020

TORONTO, ONTARIO (November 19, 2020) – Heart Valve Voice (HVV) Canada is encouraged by the Government of Ontario’s continued investment in cardiac disease treatments and is now calling on the Province to further its commitment by accepting Ontario Health’s recommendation to publicly fund transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) in adults with severe Aortic Stenosis who are at low surgical risk.

TAVI is a minimally invasive procedure that inserts a replacement valve inside the patient’s natural valve, and because it is performed using minimally invasive techniques, many patients can experience a faster recovery than they would from a traditional, open-heart valve replacement.

The Government of Ontario made commitments in its provincial budget on November 5 to improve access to cardiac care, funding an additional 3,413 procedures this fiscal year, including treatments for heart valve disease. HVV Canada understands the Government’s investment includes a 20 per cent increase in funding for TAVI, marking the third consecutive year the Province has improved access to TAVI for Ontarians with Aortic Stenosis.

“This investment is a promising step to help reduce waitlists for heart valve disease treatments and other cardiac procedures in Ontario, which is increasingly important as COVID-19 continues to cause growing backlogs in surgeries and other procedures,” said Dr. Charles Peniston, Chair of HVV Canada’s Board of Directors. “We also know delays in receiving treatment due to limited funding and growing wait times are not limited to Ontario. We urge other provinces to follow suit to ensure equitable and timely access to care for heart valve disease patients all across Canada.”

HVV Canada also urges the Government of Ontario to accept Ontario Health’s recommendation to publicly fund TAVI for adults with severe Aortic Stenosis who are at low surgical risk. Currently, TAVI is funded for individuals with Aortic Stenosis who are at moderate-to-high risk. This current recommendation, which is under review by the Province, was based on guidance from the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee (OHTAC) and will serve to improve access. It will also provide patients, in consultation with their care teams, greater choice in their treatment options.

“As someone who had heart valve disease, I understand the importance of reducing wait times and improving the options patients have when it comes to our own personal health care journeys,” said Bryan Socransky, HVV Board member. “Time is of the essence with heart valve disease and ensuring that each individual has the chance to get back to a healthy and full life should be the priority, which is why we encourage the Government of Ontario to continue taking active measures to improve access to timely treatment.”

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