The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Free heart checks in Leeds City Centre for Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week

13 September 2021

The cardiology team from Leeds Teaching Hospitals is offering free heart checks from a pop up bus in the city to mark Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week.

On Wednesday 15 September from 10:30am - 3:30pm, the team will be based near Kirkgate Market in Leeds City Centre on a blue Medtronic ‘Your Heart Matters’ branded bus. They will be offering advice to the people of Leeds about heart valve disease, and there will be the opportunity to have a heart rhythm check and a stethoscope check (cardiac auscultation) which detects heart valve disease.

Medtronic blue busThe team from Leeds Teaching Hospitals will include consultants, senior trainees, physiologists and specialist nurses who all care for patients with heart valve disease at Leeds General Infirmary. On the day, anyone who is diagnosed with a heart murmur or irregular pulse will be given a letter to share with their GP for further investigations.

The team is collaborating with Medtronic, a medical devices manufacturer, and Heart Valve Voice, the UK’s dedicated heart valve disease charity, to empower patients to access healthcare and raise public awareness of these heart valve conditions.

Dr Chris Malkin, Consultant Cardiologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We are looking forward to providing education to the people of Leeds and hope to raise awareness that a simple stethoscope check could identify important heart disease. Our trained cardiologists will be on hand to perform cardiac auscultation and give immediate feedback to members of the public, which could save lives.”

The event is being run as part of Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week, which aims to raise awareness of the symptoms of valve disease and encourage anyone who feels breathless, dizzy or fatigued during their everyday lives to go to their GP and ask for a simple stethoscope check.

Heart valve disease affects 1.5million people in the UK and can be fatal if untreated. Most serious heart valve disorders can be detected by listening to the heart with a stethoscope. A trained health professional can detect a ‘heart murmur’- an abnormal heart sound - by listening to the heart and this may indicate a heart valve problem.

Heart valve disease in the UK is often undetected because heart auscultation (listening to the heart) is performed less frequently than elsewhere in the world. This has been compounded by the impact of COVID-19 with fewer patients accessing face to face consultations and so less opportunity to detect heart valve disease with a stethoscope.

One treatment for disease of the aortic heart valve is transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI). The team in Leeds run the largest TAVI service outside London and they have performed more than 2000 cases. TAVI was developed as an alternative to open heart surgery and involves putting a new heart valve in place using a less invasive (‘keyhole’) approach. It is most commonly performed under local anaesthetic through an artery in the top of the leg and the benefits include a faster recovery time.