We cordially welcome our global cardiovascular physicians and surgeons to this webinar to commemorate the Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day 2021 organized by PASCaTS & Global Heart Care in collaboration with German Heart Centre/Charité Berlin. The executive board of PASCaTS thanks Professor Volkmar Falk, Medical Director of German Heart Centre/Charité Berlin and the leadership of EACTS for supporting this initiative and to co-host the event. We are grateful to our faculty from Africa, China, Germany, India, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Spain, UK and USA for spending their precious time to share their know-how and clinical experiences with you.
COVID-19 has globally devastated many human lives, deranged the healthcare system and caused socio-economic crisis, on the other hand it has inspired us to scale up digital health technology programs for reshaping a holistic and resilient health systems. The outreach digital platform provides the healthcare providers and educators an uninterrupted working process for advocating heart valve disease awareness, sharing clinical experiences and scientific results of our works to optimize patient management. The objectives of the webinar are to advocate awareness of heart valve disease (congenital and acquired) world-wide and to learn how to optimize patients’ outcomes based on three synergistic columns: science, technology and practice: initiating and development of new knowledge (science), continuing development of technical tools (diagnostic and treatment) and translation/implementation of the knowledge and know-how (Practice).
The key feature of the webinar is an interactive multi-disciplinary forum that covers surgical and interventional procedures for congenital (including adults with congenital heart disease (ACHD), inflammatory and degenerative heart valve diseases. It will highlight state-of-the-art surgical and interventional techniques including minimally invasive cardiac surgery (MICS), transaortic valve implantation (TAVI), transpumonary valve implantation (TPVI) procedures, surgical reconstruction of congenital right ventricular (RVOTO - pulmonary stenosis) and left ventricular outflow tract obstructions (LVOTO - aortic valve stenosis) as well as complex valve repairs and replacements for inflammatory (rheumatic and infective endocarditis) and degenerative diseases. The risks associated with prosthetic heart valve implantation and anticoagulation in paediatric population with congenital and rheumatic heart valve diseases will be addressed.
The good news is that the prevalence of rheumatic heart valve disease (RHVD) has declined by 8.7% between 1990 and 2017 an impact of Millennium Development Goals (MGGs), while degenerative heart valve disease has increased by 45%. The recent data show that moderate or severe aortic valve disease is present in 4.2% to 10.7% and mitral valve disease in 5.1% of the population ages 65 and older.
We appreciate the remarkable progress made in global cardiovascular surgery in the past 50 years in the context of professional upskilling, innovations, access to complex cardiovascular care and quality care for universal health coverage, yet there is a regional disparity in access and affordability to care in low and middle income countries (LMICs) due to lack of experts in valve repairs and national health insurance scheme for achieving universal health coverage. International charity heart teams mostly from Europe and USA, recently from China exercising laudable global health diplomacy have responded to the emergency calls to provide cardiac surgery esp. congenital and rheumatic heart valve surgery, to the underserved communities, yet, they have impacted less than two per cent (2%) of 850,000 children with congenital and rheumatic heart diseases in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) waiting for surgery. They also did not meet the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendations of accomplishing a target level of 400 open heart surgeries (OHS) per one million population. Pan-African Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery (PASCaTS) is encouraging existing centres in SSA to try and achieve at least 40 OHS per million people. The webinar is going to be a platform that will inspire the participants to develop and strengthen the existing network for a mutual exchange of knowledge and cooperation between the medical industries, physicians, politics, civil society and heart valve patients. In conclusion, let’s work together to turn the global healthcare system, focused on heart valve disease management into a national asset for all citizens. The impact will balance public versus private interests to strengthen the health of the global community.