Today’s the day to

Reach for the heart

Millions of people with heart valve disease go undiagnosed. You can help change that.

Heart valve disease at a glance

Published studies estimate that approximately 5 million people in the U.S. have heart valve disease. However, it may be as high as 8.7 million to 11.6 million.
Source: Alliance for Aging Research. The Silver Book: Valve Disease. 2018.

3 in 5 heart valve patients didn’t have or recognize their symptoms, and were only diagnosed after a regular check-up or unrelated doctor visit.

Left untreated, heart valve disease can progress and ultimately lead to death. Every year, 25,000 Americans die of heart valve disease.


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Recognize the symptoms and risk factors

Up to 50% of patients with severe aortic stenosis, a type of heart valve disease, will die within two years after symptoms begin if left untreated.

Most of your older patients are probably familiar with heart disease, but many have never even heard of heart valve disease. Because of this, they may confuse their symptoms as just a part of getting older and not bring them up with you. The longer it takes them to share their symptoms, the worse their heart valve disease can get. If patients know how to LISTEN to their heart, they may recognize the subtle symptoms sooner.

Patient getting an echocardiogram while doctor smiles at patient and loved one.

Help your patients
LISTEN to their hearts
and recognize the symptoms of heart valve disease

Yellow L on blue background with lightheaded icon.

Lightheaded, faint, or dizzy feelings

Yellow I on blue background with heart icon.

Irregular heartbeat, heart flutter, or chest pains

Yellow S on blue background with lungs short of breath icon.

Shortness of breath after light activity or while lying down

Yellow T on blue background with tiredness icon.

Tiredness, even if they've had plenty of sleep

Yellow E on blue background with swollen ankles icon.

Edema

Yellow N on blue background with magnifying glass, not feeling like yourself icon.

Not feeling like themselves (missing out on daily activities)

A man placing a hand over his wife's heart.

It’s also important to let your patients know what can put them at risk, like history of heart diseases and conditions, chronic kidney disease, and older age. As many as 1 in 2 people over 65 don't even know they have heart valve disease.

You can give patients an accurate diagnosis with an echo

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As you know, patients with heart valve disease may be asymptomatic, murmurs can be missed, and even detecting a murmur by itself isn’t enough to diagnose heart valve disease.

An echocardiogram is the standard diagnostic test and the only sure way to see if your patients have heart valve disease.

Make sure your patients understand that an echocardiogram is painless and non-invasive. Let them know that this simple heart ultrasound is nothing to be scared of and takes as little as 20 minutes.

Schedule routine echocardiograms

Let your diagnosed patients know that their heart valve disease can get worse over time, so it's important they have routine echocardiograms and follow-up appointments, especially if they're asymptomatic.

Severity:Mild

Every 3 to 5 years

Severity:Moderate

Every 1 to 2 years

Severity:Severe

Every 6 to 12 months*

*Every 1-2 years if you have mitral stenosis

The hearts behind heart valve disease

Although relatively unknown among the general public, heart valve disease affects millions of people. These are their stories.