Steve McCabe MP
Ambassador, Heart Valve Voice
Almost seven years ago, MP, Steve McCabe had open heart surgery to repair his mitral valve.
The surgery was intense; hours in the operating theatre, vast volumes of anaesthetic and time spent on a ventilator. “When I eventually came round, I wasn’t actually sure if I’d survived,” he says.
After the major surgery, he was in intensive care for three days and on a recovery ward for another two weeks. “It was a long and arduous process, and, despite being quite a determined character, I have to confess there were periods when I began to doubt that I’d ever be OK again.”
Even though Steve lives a full and active life now, he says: “After my treatment, I had a long recovery time, which meant I had to be off work for six months. I wish I had been more aware of the treatment options available and chosen a less invasive procedure.”
Early diagnosis and patient education is key
Steve stresses the importance of early diagnosis of heart valve disease, which can be achieved simply by listening to the heart with a stethoscope.
Untreated, heart valve disease can progress to heart failure and ultimately death but, identified early enough, it is treatable, and a less-invasive treatment procedures may be appropriate.
I am living proof that, with early diagnosis and proper treatment, these conditions needn’t be debilitating.
“As someone who has experienced heart valve disease, I know first-hand the importance of receiving timely treatment and how this can return people to a good quality of life, so it is important that this can be provided across the whole country.”
But do people know enough about the need for diagnosis or the options available to them? Steve feels more must be done. “I believe we must continue to work together to ensure that people living with these conditions have access to the care and support they need,” says Steve.
“It is vital that people are better educated on the condition, are aware of the symptoms and know what treatments options are available to ensure more lives are saved.”
Innovations in treatment
“I am living proof that, with early diagnosis and proper treatment, these conditions needn’t be debilitating. My advice to patients would be to speak to your clinician about the treatment options available so that you can make an informed choice.”
To find out more about heart valve disease, read more on Heart Valve Voice