Poland joined the Initiative Valve for Life in August 2015 as pilot country. It was selected on the basis of the infrastructure in place and the disparity of challenges faced in the access to transcatheter heart valve therapies for patients.
A government approved access to the transcatheter heart valve therapies is already in place in Poland. However, only limited funding is available for the respective therapies while the penetration level is low. Poland remains among the countries with the lowest level of implanted valves in Europe. In 2015 only 452 TAVI were conducted in 100 centers in Poland.
These are the challenges to be taken into consideration while conducting the Initiative in Poland.
Poland has made a number of significant achievements acknowledged by various stakeholders since the start of the initiative.
Poland has managed to conduct a very strong TAVI public campaign. First of all, it has performed an assessment of public awareness of TAVI and a new treatment for patients with severe aortic stenosis not suitable for cardiac surgery. VFL Poland has also created a dedicated website and a special television campaign with video spots. It has run dedicated pages on the Facebook.
Valve for Life Poland Country Champions, Prof Dariusz Dudek and Prof Adam Witkowski participated in different interviews on TAVI and programs in newspapers, radio and TV. The topic of TAVI and a new treatment for patients with severe aortic stenosis not suitable for cardiac surgery was addressed also during the local symposia for cardiologists, interventionalists and family doctors as well as during the THT Poland Congress.
In general, the campaign stats grouping television, radio, press, interviews, social media reached out to 6+ million people.VFL Poland has also focused its attention on reaching the governmental officials aiming to increase their awareness in situation around TAVI in Poland and ensuring their support. In October 2015 a meeting with a Minister of Health of Poland was organized which resulted in a number of positive changes. In particular, funding was successfully secured for the refund of 100 additional TAVI for 2016.
The aim is to raise the number of relevant procedures over the next five years to about 2 000 procedures annually.
Thanks to the campaign carried out in 2015, the number of TAVI procedures performed in Poland increased from 453 in 2014 to 672 in 2015 resulting in a substantial growth of TAVI penetration rate per million of inhabitants from 12 to 17 over 1.5 years of the project. In 2016, the number of TAVI procedures increased by +/-200 and the TAVI penetration rate rose to 22.6 per million of inhabitants.
Country Champions: Profs Dariusz Dudek and Adam WitkowskiLast update: December 2017
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