The influence and importance of heart valve disease has increased dramatically over the past two decades. The British Heart Valve Society was founded in 2010 to educate and support health care professionals involved in managing patients with heart valve disease in the United Kingdom, through increased awareness and knowledge. Multiple disciplines are involved in valve disease management and we offer membership to all those involved either in the scientific aspect or in clinical care. We are officially associated with the British Cardiovascular Society (BCS), endorsed by the Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland (SCTS) and affiliated with the British Journal of Cardiology. In addition to study days and specialised meetings during the year, each autumn we hold an annual conference and a Core Knowledge in valve disease training day – these meetings benefit from Royal College of Physicians’ Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points and British Society of Echocardiography re-accreditation points.
The three pillars of our work are as follows:
‘Educate’ We aim to educate all healthcare professionals involved in the care of patients with heart valve disease in order to improve patient care. Educational activities are hosted throughout the year and aimed at cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, general practitioners, cardiac physiologists and clinical scientists, nurse practitioners, cardiac pharmacists and all others involved in heart valve disease care. BHVS is also increasing the educational content it provides for patients.
‘Inform’ BHVS is a registered stakeholder in many national efforts to improve care for patients with heart valve disease, including the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). We work together with other professional societies and registered charities, as well as patient support groups, to inform policy decisions for both regional and national care.
‘Promote’ BHVS is dedicated to promoting awareness of heart valve disease. This is both to the multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals – that need to be vigilant in diagnosis and close monitoring – but also to senior decision-makers within medical specialties and the NHS. Timely repair or replacement of abnormal heart valves does not just improve quality of life by relieving symptoms but also often prolongs life; thus part of our work is to ensure that heart valve disease maintains a prominent position in policy decisions regarding funding and resource allocation.