New educational resource to help GPs detect aortic stenosis early

A new interactive educational resource for GPs has been launched to support the early detection of aortic stenosis.

The ‘Listen to the Heart’ website, which has been developed by Edwards Lifesciences, is the first resource of its kind, providing educational videos and content and enabling GPs to compare a normal heart sound to the sound of the murmur typically associated with aortic stenosis.

The site also provides a detailed image showing the ideal position of the stethoscope to hear such murmurs and allows GPs to request further free educational materials.

Edward Lifesciences

Edwards Lifesciences is the global leader in patient-focused medical innovations for structural heart disease, as well as critical care and surgical monitoring. The company collaborates with the world’s leading clinicians and researchers to address unmet healthcare needs and improve patient outcomes.

This article is funded by Edwards Lifesciences for GP Connect

Aortic stenosis is the most common type of heart valve disease in the elderly and can greatly reduce life expectancy. Approximately 1.5m people in the UK over the age of 65 are currently affected by the condition1 and over 12% of those over the age of 752.

If left untreated, patients with symptomatic AS have a greatly reduced life expectancy and quality of life. Survival rates at two years can be as low as 50%.3

Early diagnosis and referral is key to patients receiving appropriate treatment and GPs play a vital role in this process. The use of stethoscope examination for patients over 60 during routine consultations is important as it is one of the first key protocols in detecting the murmurs associated with heart valve disease.

Symptoms of AS include shortness of breath on exertion, angina and loss of consciousness. These can develop gradually and a patient will often adapt their lifestyle to manage them, or simply blame them on 'old age’ making diagnosis difficult.

With a growing ageing population in the UK, the number of people with moderate or severe heart valve disease is expected to rise to 3.3m by 2056, a 122% increase from today.1

Dr Yassir Javaid a GP in Northampton said: ‘Heart valve disease is a common and often missed chronic condition, and comorbidity is the norm. Understanding the differing ways that valve disease can present is critical to enable timely referral, which is the key to optimising outcomes.

‘It is great to see such an interactive resource which is aimed at providing GPs with vital information to recognise aortic stenosis and encourage early detection of heart valve disease.’

References

  1. d’Arcy JL, et al. Large-scale community echocardiographic screening reveals a major burden of undiagnosed valvular heart disease in older people: The OxVALVE Population Cohort Study. Eur Heart J 2016; 37: 3,515-22. First published online: 26 June 2016.
  2. Osnabrugge R, Mylotte D, Head S et al. Aortic stenosis in the elderly: disease prevalence and number of candidates for transcatheter aortic valve replacement: a meta-analysis and modeling study. J Am Coll Cardiol 2013; 62(11): 1002–12.
  3. Otto C. Timing of aortic valve surgery. Heart 2000; 84: 211–218.

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