Structural heart disease (SHD) is a set of cardiovascular conditions that affect the structure of the valves, atria, ventricles and blood vessels in the heart. Left untreated, SHD has a high mortality rate and decreases quality of life for those living with the condition.

It’s estimated that 14 million people in Europe were living with SHD in 2020, and that by 2040, this will increase to 20 million. Despite this, only 1 in 8 people in Europe are aware of the condition.

Most types of SHD can be successfully treated, reducing hospitalisations by up to 50%. However, low levels of awareness, pervasive ageism and a lack of regular heart checks are acting as significant barriers to early detection and treatment.

In this report, supported by Edwards Lifesciences, ILC-UK consider the impact of SHD in an ageing society. We set out the health and economic case for governments to invest in SHD, followed by the key barriers that contribute to suboptimal detection and treatment. We then present our recommendations, which have been informed by our expert stakeholder interviews, for how governments, healthcare systems and patients can address these issues.

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