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Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week (February 26 - March 3)

Described as ‘the next cardiac epidemic’,1 heart valve disease (HVD) impacts over half a million Australians,2 yet public awareness remains insufficient. An estimated 250,000 Australians are living with this condition without even realising it.2 A national survey* sponsored by hearts4heart revealed that over a quarter (28%) of all Australians, approximately 5.6 million people, have never heard of HVD and its impact and challenges.

Hearts4heart is launching Heart Valve Disease (HVD) Awareness Week, which aims to:

  1. improve recognition of the risks and symptoms specific to HVD,
  2. encourage people at risk of HVD, including those age 65 and older, and anyone experiencing symptoms, to speak with their GP about getting their heart checked including a stethoscope check
  3. increase early detection and treatment,
  4. and ultimately save lives.

The campaign creates an opportunity to encourage crucial conversations about the importance of reform in diagnosis, treatment, and long-term management of HVD and how it is addressed in Australia.

What is Heart Valve Disease?

Heart Valve Disease (HVD) is a health condition where the valves in your heart, which control blood flow, don’t work properly. This can cause symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, and swelling in the legs. Essentially, HVD makes it harder for your heart to pump blood effectively.

When left untreated, HVD can harm the heart’s valves, potentially causing heart failure, strokes, and irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia).

However, timely detection and appropriate treatment can extend life expectancy and enhance the quality of life for those facing HVD. Therefore, it is crucial to prioritise education and awareness campaigns to address this health issue.

Could you be at risk of HVD?

People of all ages can develop HVD, but the following factors increase risk.2

  • Over age 65
  • Family history of heart valve disease
  • Pre-existing heart conditions
  • High blood pressure
  • Have had open heart surgery
  • Smoker
  • Have had certain infections, such as rheumatic fever or endocarditis

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can include any of the following:1

  • Shortness of breath, especially during physical activity
  • Fatigue
  • Palpitations (feeling your heart racing or pounding)
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Swelling of the ankles, feet, abdomen or chest
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting or near-fainting
  • A heart murmur (abnormal sound heard when listening to the heart with a stethoscope)
  • Unexplained weight loss

Concerningly, symptoms are often dismissed as a “normal part of ageing”, leading to delayed diagnosis and treatment. And some people with the disease experience no symptoms at all.1

Don’t leave it to chance, check your heart in advance.

Want to check out your heart health?


Hearts4heart is proud to support free heart screening events that will take place during Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week at select hospitals in New South Wales and Victoria.

The current hospitals participating are:


  • Melbourne Cardiac Services, Heidelberg

    Suite 7, 214 Burgundy Street, Heidelberg, VIC
    • Tuesday 27th February, 9am – 5pm
  • North East Family Medicine, Wangaratta

    Suite 1/90-100 Ovens Street, Wangaratta, VIC
    • Friday 1st March, 9am – 5pm

New South Wales

  • St Vincent’s Private Hospital, Sydney

    406 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, NSW
    • Wednesday 28th February, 8am – 2pm
    • Thursday 29th February, 10am – 4pm
  • Bankstown Sports Club, Sydney

    8 Greenfield Parade, Bankstown, NSW
    • Monday 26th February – Friday 1st March, 11am – 2pm
  • The Cardiac Centre, Bowral

    3/28 Wingecarribee St, Bowral NSW 2576, Australia
    • Thursday 7th March, 10am – 4pm

If you’re over 65, or experiencing any of the above, don’t put your heart health on hold.

Speak to your GP and get your heart checked.

Click here to download our Heart Valve Disease Symptom tracker

Click here to download our Treating Heart Valve Disease Booklet

Click here to download our checklist Heart Valve Diagnosis & Treatment Booklet

Click here to download our Heart Valve Disease & Treatment Doctor Guide

Click here to download our Heart Valve Doctor Consultation Guide

We always appreciate people helping us spread the word. If you would like to get involved in Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week, please email [email protected] for more information and shareable social media assets.

*The YouGov study surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,023 Australians aged 18 years and older in between 23rd to 27th November 2023. The survey was conducted using an online survey administered to members of the YouGov Plc Australian panel of 71,000+ individuals who have agreed to take part in surveys. After the survey’s completion, the data was weighted by age, gender, and region to reflect the latest ABS population estimates.


  1. Global Heart Hub. (2021). Heart Valve Disease: working together to create a better patient journey.
  2. Baker Institute. (2021). Our hidden ageing: time to listen to the heart.

Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week is proudly supported by: