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.

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Journal article


Open Heart

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Valvular Disease