PATIENTS are being sought for a study into aortic stenosis, a serious heart condition in which the aortic valve becomes narrowed, restricting blood flow to the body.
People with aortic stenosis, predominantly a condition of older people, can develop symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain or dizziness.
However, these often take years to develop, even in patients with severe valve narrowing.
If these symptoms develop, doctors recommend prompt replacement of the valve, but in patients without symptoms, doctors usually monitor the situation through heart scans and reviewing patients regularly.
In recent years this approach has been questioned and some specialists believe it may be better to replace the valve earlier, before symptoms develop. However, there is little evidence currently to support this approach.
The patients are being recruited for the government-funded EASY-AS trial, which is testing whether it is better to replace the aortic valve early before symptoms develop, or wait and replace the valve only after symptoms present.
The trial is taking place in most states and territories. The average age of participants is about 75 years.
The 2021 report Our Hidden Ageing: Time to Listen to the Heart by the Baker Institute, suggested cases of aortic stenosis in Australia are increasing and predicted to reach over 260,000 by 2051.
Dianne Whitehall was diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis in 2021 and referred to her local cardiologist, Tony Mylius.
"At my first consultation, Dr Mylius and I discussed the options for rectifying the issue and after a very comprehensive explanation of the EASY-AS trial we agreed that I would participate," she said
Dr Mylius referred Ms Whitehall to Professor Graham Hillis at the EASY-AS site at Royal Perth Hospital.
"After my consultation with Professor Hillis, I was placed into the EASY-AS trial and closely monitored for the next two years by the knowledgeable and friendly team."
Ms Whitehall eventually developed symptoms and underwent an aortic valve replacement.
"Being part of the trial required close communication with all professionals concerned and gave me peace of mind," she said.
"The EASY-AS team at RPH and Dr Mylius provided exceptional care during the trial and ongoing support since the surgery."
Funding for the trial is from the federal government's Medical Research Future Fund.
For more information about EASY-AS, email email@example.com
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