Structural Heart Diseases (SHDs) are structural abnormalities of the heart leading to impaired functioning. They are forms of cardiovascular disease and include heart valve diseases such as aortic stenosis and mitral or tricuspid regurgitation that require valve repair or replacement. The disease is linked to functional decline and mostly affects the elderly. Congenital structural heart disease also exists and occur when heart’s valves do not develop before birth. Sometimes the defect keeps the valve from closing completely, which means blood can flow back into the heart. The prevalence is smaller than the SHDs linked to functional decline. This is why the information on this website is mostly focused on age-related SHDs linked to functional decline.
It is estimated that SHDs currently affect 14 million people in Europe, a significant proportion of whom also suffer from suspected heart failure. In the last 20 years the number of hospitalisations due to SHD has doubled. With Europe’s ageing population, this means that in 2040 more than 20 million people will suffer from this disease.
The heart has four valves that keep blood flowing in one direction through the heart. These are the aortic, mitral, tricuspid and pulmonary valves. Heart valve disease happens when at least one of the four valves fails to work as it should. The most common forms of heart valve disease in Europe are mitral valve regurgitation, aortic stenosis, and tricuspid valve disease.
- Eurostat (2017) People in the EU – population projections, http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php?title=People_in_the_EU_-_population_projections [retrieved on: 25/July/2018]
- The old age dependency ration is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 years and over to the number of persons aged 15-64, expressed as a percentage.
- Eurostat (2017) Baseline projections: demographic balances and indicators, http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/submitViewTableAction.do [retrieved on 31/July/2018]
- Figures extrapolated based on projected demographic figures from Eurostat and the burden of Structural Heart Diseases provided in the OxVALVE Population Cohort Study.
- WHO Europe (2020) http://www.euro.who.int/fr/health-topics/health-emergencies/-coronavirus-covid-19/weekly-surveillance-report
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