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The OxVALVE population cohort study (OxVALVE-PCS)—population screening for undiagnosed valvular heart disease in the elderly: study design and objectives

Abstract

Introduction Valvular heart disease (VHD) is an increasingly important cardiac condition, driven by an ageing population and lack of progress in the development of medical therapies. There is a dearth of accurate information to guide decision-makers in the development of strategies to combat VHD, and no population-based study has been performed specifically to investigate its contemporary epidemiology. This document describes the design and methodology of the OxVALVE population cohort study (OxVALVE-PCS), which was conceived to address this need.

Methods and analysis Participants aged 65 years and older attending a participating general practice in Oxfordshire, UK, are invited to attend a screening examination. Exclusion criteria include previously diagnosed VHD, inability to provide consent, terminal illness or excessive frailty. Demographics, a focused cardiovascular history and vital signs are recorded at the initial screening examination, accompanied by an echocardiogram. Any finding of significant VHD triggers a separate, more formal echocardiographic assessment (including acquisition of a three-dimensional dataset) and collection of blood samples for future genetic and biomarker analysis. Participants provide consent for longitudinal follow-up and enrolment in future cohort substudies. We also assess the acceptability of community-based echocardiographic examination and compare self-assessed quality of life between those with and without VHD.

Conclusions OxVALVE-PCS will provide contemporary epidemiological data concerning the community prevalence of undiagnosed VHD, facilitate accurate deployment of scarce resources to meet the anticipated increase in demand for VHD-associated healthcare and create a series of subcohorts with carefully defined genotypes and echocardiographic phenotypes for long overdue clinical studies.

Ethics and dissemination This study was approved by the local research ethics committee (Southampton, UK; REC Ref: 09/H0502/58).

Results Results will be submitted for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

  • Valvular Disease

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 3.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

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