A short film (“Today is a Good Day”), which showcases the work of Aortic Dissection Awareness UK & Ireland, has won the Rare Disease Film Festival’s Peoples’ Choice award. According to Rare Disease UK, the organisers of the event, the film festival is the UK’s first-ever film event to be dedicated to raising awareness of rare diseases
Gareth Owens, chair of Aortic Dissection Awareness UK & Ireland, says that winning the award is “a real boost for our campaign”. He adds: “Ours was one of 50 films in the festival and we were up against many that had been professionally-produced, so it was amazing to be shortlisted and then to emerge as the overall winner in the online peoples’ vote. This win is a credit to our inspiring story and to David [Gareth’s son], our amateur film-maker.” The film charts the work of the patient association from its beginnings in 2016 until the present day.
With this film, the patient association are seeking to address the problem of lack of awareness surrounding aortic dissection. Gareth explains that even many medical professionals are unaware of the signs and symptoms of the condition, which leads to misdiagnosis when patients present in emergency departments. This misdiagnosis, he notes, has “usually fatal” consequences for the patient.
Furthermore, according to Gareth, the patient association hopes that the film will encourage those who treat aortic dissection, such as vascular and cardiothoracic surgeons, to educate emergency departments and primary care practices about “the time-critical nature of an aortic dissection diagnosis” and to “set-up optimised pathways to their operating rooms, so that more people have the chance of life-saving surgery”. “This is what our Think Aorta campaign, which has now reached every emergency department in the UK and USA, is about,” Gareth explains.
Aortic dissection, according to the patient association, affects about 4,000 people a year in the UK and only 1,200 of these survive long enough to be admitted to hospital. Market intelligence from BIBA MedTech Insights shows that, last year, about one in 10 of all aortic procedures performed in the UK (9,933 overall) were for aortic dissections. Of these, 63.5% were for type A dissections and 36.5% were for type B dissections (both acute and chronic). The predominant approach for treating type A dissections was open repair while endovascular repair was the predominant approach for type B dissections (for both acute and chronic dissections). However, the difference between open and endovascular repair procedures was much greater for type A dissections than for type B dissections. See Figure 1.
For more information about the Think Aorta campaign, visit: www.thinkaorta.org
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