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The Valve for Life social campaign was initiated in Poland in 2015 and was coordinated by Prof. Adam Witkowski (Institute of Cardiology, Warsaw) and Prof. Dariusz Dudek (Collegium Medicum of the Jagiellonian University, Krakow).
The campaign was dedicated to transcatheter aortic valve implantation and its aim was to increase the number of treatments performed in Poland. The campaign has helped to increase the number of TAVI treatments in Poland from 453 to over 800 within 1.5 years.
More patients who have been found not eligible to the standard cardiac surgeries because of high risk and advanced age received the chance to live, with a high quality of life. The campaign has been recognised as a model which other campaigns in European countries should follow. In addition,the logo developed by the Polish Team has been adopted as the official logo of the Valve for Life initiative around the world.
This year the second edition of the campaign was launched, with the involvement of the famous actress Emilia Krakowska. The Polish Cardiac Society prepared educational films about TAVI for patients and physicians.
There will also be meetings with seniors at the Third Age University and at medical conferences attended by cardiologists and cardiac surgeons, all of whom are world-class specialists. They will talk about the TAVI method, which makes it possible not only to improve the quality of life of the elderly, but also to reduce operational trauma and shorten the convalescence period after the procedure. The role of the Heart Team (CardioGroup) and the cooperation between cardiologists and cardiac surgeons will also be highlighted. By participating in debates and panel discussions, and in the media, representatives of the Polish Cardiac Society (PTK) will build public awareness about valvular heart disease, our ageing society, and the benefits of minimally invasive transcatheter treatments.
As a result of the Valve is Life campaign, and the broad exchange of opinions of cardiologists and cardiac surgeons, a unique common position of both groups of specialists in the field of diagnostics, methods of treatment and procedures in Poland was published in September 2017 in Kardiologia Polska [Polish Cardiology]. Doctors are confident that a significantly larger group of patients will receive a faster diagnosis of severe aortic stenosis, and the proposed algorithms in Poland and the new 2017 Valvular Heart Disease (Management of) ESC Clinical Practice Guidelines will allow for appropriate corrective measures, including TAVI (class I B after the CardioGroup decision). This shall increase the safety and efficacy of treatment by hybrid cardiologists and cardiac surgeons in Poland. It all brings us closer to Germany and the European model of treatment, and therefore to the goals set by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
Valve replacement (by means of cardiac surgery or the TAVI method) is the only effective, life-prolonging treatment for severe aortic stenosis. This treatment allows patients with very high operational risk to function well and avoid hospitalisation. Since 2002, there have been 300,000 treatments around the world. On the other hand, only 3,059 were performed in Poland since 2008. This is significant because according to the described numbers of treatments in Europe and the recommendations presented in the European Heart Journal (EHJ), approx. 2,000 treatments should be performed in Poland per year. In 2014, 12 treatments per 1 million inhabitants were performed in Poland, and the European average is 60-70 treatments per 1 million. The campaign is aiming to educate and draw the attention of older people and their families, doctors, decision makers, the Ministry of Health and the National Health Fund to the problem that these safer methods are still rarely practiced in Poland. Thanks to the campaign's efforts since 2015, the number of TAVI treatments has increased - in 2016, 22.5 TAVI procedures per 1 million inhabitants were conducted in our country, but much remains to be done.
The Valve for Life campaign is an initiative of the European Association for Percutaneous Cardiovascular Intervention (EAPCI), which is a registered branch of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The campaign is carried out by the European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions (EAPCI), the Polish Cardiac Society (PTK) and the Association of Cardiovascular Interventions of the Polish Cardiac Society (AISN PTK).
Author: Ewelina Myłek
Photos© : Eleven Zett Productions
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