Early screening of heart valve disease saves public health care systems resources, but prevalent ageism delays diagnosis, limits care, and leads to avoidable costs and impacts on people’s lives.
• The risk of heart valve disease increases significantly after age 65 and reaches 12.5 percent after the age of 75. Age-specific mortality from heart valve disease rises exponentially at older ages, peaking at age 85. This makes heart valve disease an important challenge globally:
• Up to 2.5% of the general population and 13% of people over the age of 75 are thought to be living with heart valve disease. Heart Valve Disease prevalence is rising rapidly due to the ageing of the population. and it has been described as ‘the next cardiac epidemic’.
• It is estimated that the number of people living with heart valve disease will double by 2040 and triple by 2060. The rate of mortality in untreated, severe, symptomatic aortic stenosis, the most common type of heart valve disease, is between 25% and 50% per year.
This new position paper focuses on how behavior and policy change can best address heart valve disease.