Welcome. Healthtalkonline, an award-winning charity website, lets you share in other people's experiences of health and illness. This information is based on qualitative research into patient experiences led by experts at the University of Oxford.
Heart disease includes a variety of conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels in the heart. We have interviewed a wide range of people with personal experience of heart disease, so that you can share in their stories. All of the topics covered in this section are listed below and in the menu on the left.
Heart attack (myocardial infarction) occurs when an artery carrying blood to the heart muscle is blocked. We interviewed 37 people about their experiences of this condition.
In heart failure the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. We interviewed 42 people about their experiences of this condition.
High blood pressure
In high blood pressure (hypertension) the blood pressure is consistently higher than normal. We interviewed 18 people about their experiences of this condition.
Parents of children with congenital heart disease
Congenital heart disease includes a range of conditions affecting the heart from birth. In partnership with the British Heart Foundation we interviewed the parents of 30 children with congenital heart disease about their experiences during their child's early years.
Screening for unrecognised heart valve disease
Heart valve disease or valvular heart disease is the name given to problems with one or more of the heart’s four valves. In a heart which is working normally, valves keep blood flowing in the right direction and entering or leaving the heart’s chambers only at the right time. Heart valve disease can develop before birth, in which case it is called ‘congenital’. It can also be caused by the effects of certain infections, such as rheumatic fever, or by age-related “wear and tear”.
Symptoms of heart valve disease vary from person to person, and are usually not obvious until the disease is quite advanced and needs medical or surgical treatment. This means we do not know how many people are living with heart valve disease without realising they have it, or what happens to them in the longer term.
We interviewed 18 people who were taking part in a new research study which is screening people aged over 65 to find out how common heart valve disease is. 7 of these people were interviewed a second time after they had been for a follow up appointment. At present, screening for heart valve disease is not available to everyone throughout the UK.