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Image relating to Heart Valve Clinical Nurse Specialist Lauren takes research results to Parliament

Heart Valve Clinical Nurse Specialist Lauren takes research results to Parliament

Heart Valve Clinical Nurse Specialist Lauren Deegan has taken her work to improve things for patients direct to the Houses of Parliament.

Lauren, who has been in her role at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust for two-and-a-half years, is on a panel of heart valve disease experts.

They have been looking at why women with aortic stenosis, where blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta is restricted, are less likely to receive treatment than men.

Their findings and recommendations were presented to MPs via the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Women’s Health.

“I jumped at the chance to get involved,” said Lauren, who is joined on the group by Consultant Cardiologists and patients.

“Because men are more likely to have cardiovascular disease and heart attacks, they’re already in the cardiology system which increases chances for valve disease diagnosis.

“Anecdotally, what we found is women will put their symptoms down to old age and are less likely to present to their doctor.

“But when they do go, sometimes the GP will contribute the symptoms to something else and are not always listening to the heart.

“We want to raise awareness because when female patients do get treatment, especially by keyhole transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI), their outcomes are actually better than men’s.”

Symptoms of aortic stenosis include shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness and chest pain.

Among the suggestions put forward were yearly heart checks, a Government awareness campaign, increased education for clinicians and dedicated valve clinics in hospitals to improve referral to treatment time.

Lauren added: “This was an initial meeting so we are now awaiting feedback from the MPs.

“Each one of us got to have a say so I highlighted the importance of my role as the valve nurse specialist because a part of that is raising awareness and being a point of contact for patients.

“It was quite overwhelming but very exciting. I was quite emotional when I first got to the Houses of Parliament but just felt really proud as I was the only nurse asked to be involved.

“It was nice to be there as a representative of UHCW and to see the work I’ve been doing recognised externally.”

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