Heart Failure awareness survey: Great Britain 2014 

The Pumping Marvellous Foundation
The Pumping Marvellous Foundation – the UK’s heart failure charity

 

TNS UK Limited, March 2014. 11,000 members of the public aged 50+ years old in Europe

Question 1: Describing heart failure

Which of the below descriptions do you believe best describes heart failure? Please select only one option.

  • When the heart is starved of blood and oxygen, usually by a clot, which stops blood flowing to parts of the body (atherosclerosis)
  • A pain or discomfort in the chest, sometimes spreading to the arm, neck, stomach or jaw (heart attack)
  • When a blockage in the blood vessels causes the heart muscles to die and limits blood flow to the brain and other parts of the body (stroke)
  • When the heart cannot pump enough blood around the body (heart failure)
  • When the heart’s electrical system causes the heart to stop beating (arrythmia)
  • When the heart suddenly stops working (cardiac arrest)

Results

i   16% (163 out of 1000) confuse a heart attack with heart failure

ii   Almost 8 in 10 (79%) people could not correctly describe heart failure

iii   Only 21% could correctly identify the true definition for heart failure, a serious condition when the heart cannot pump enough blood around the body

 

Question 2: Distinguishing symptoms of old age from symptoms of heart failure

Of the list of physical symptoms below, please indicate those which you believe are signs of NORMAL AGING.

  • Shortness of breath (during activity, at rest or while laying down)  (heart failure)
  • Difficulty moving properly (for example walking up stairs) (heart failure)
  • Forgetfulness (old age)
  • Hair loss (old age)
  • Loss of height (old age)
  • Swollen ankles (heart failure)

Result

i   85% (854 out of 1000) of people mistook at least one of the potential symptoms of heart failure  for the normal signs of ageing

 

Question 3: Identifying 3 symptoms of heart failure

Of the list of physical symptoms below, please indicate which you believe are symptoms of heart failure.

  • Sharp pain in the arm
  • Shortness of breath (during activity, at rest or while laying down) (heart failure)
  • Difficulty moving properly (for example walking up stairs) (heart failure)
  • Sharp pain in the chest
  • Swollen ankles (heart failure)
  • Fainting

Results

i   95% (947 out of 1000) of respondents could not correctly identify the three common symptoms of heart failure

ii   Only 1 in 20 people (5%) could correctly identify the three common symptoms of heart failure

 

Question 4: Identifying common causes of heart failure 

A number of conditions and lifestyle habits can contribute to the development of heart failure. Please select from the list below which conditions and lifestyle habits are common causes of heart failure. Please indicate three only.

  • An overactive thyroid (heart failure)
  • Weak heart muscle (heart failure)
  • Heart attack (heart failure)
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Depression
  • Chronic indigestion

Results

i   87% (871 out of 1000) of respondents could not correctly identify three common causes of heart failure

ii   Only around 1 in 10 people (13%) could correctly identify three common causes of heart failure

 

Question 5: How quickly respondents would seek medical advice for the symptoms of heart failure

How quickly would you seek medical advice if you experienced tiredness, swollen ankles and weight gain of up to 2kg in 48 hours? Please choose one option from the below:

  • 1-2 days
  • 3-5 days
  • A week
  • 1-3 weeks
  • 1 month
  • Never

Results

i   1 in 4 people (24%) would wait a week or more to seek  medical advice, or would not seek medical advice at all, when experiencing the symptoms of heart failure

i   58% (583 out of 1000) people would wait 1-2 days before seeking medical  advice for symptoms of heart failure (tiredness, swollen ankles and weight gain of up to 2kg in 48 hours)

 

Question 6: Experience of heart failure

Do you, or does someone you know have heart failure?

  • Yes, I have
  • Yes, I know someone who has heart failure, I am their primary carer
  • Yes, I know someone who has heart failure, I am not their carer
  • Yes, I knew someone who had heart failure, they passed away
  • No

Results

i   44% of respondents suffer or know someone who is suffering/has suffered from heart failure, yet fewer than 1 in 10 of them (7%) could spot three common signs and symptoms of the disease

ii   7% (74 out of 1000) respondents indicated that they had heart failure

iii   2% (21 out of 1000) people are primary carers for someone who has heart failure

 

Question 7: Awareness of morbidity of heart failure

Based on the background information provided and your knowledge of heart failure, which of the below do you think is the correct life time risk of developing heart failure? Please select one option

  • 1 in 500 people aged 70-80 yrs
  • 1 in 50 people aged 70-80 yrs
  • 1 in 5 people aged 70-80 yrs (correct)

Results

i   Only around a third (34%/ 344 out of 1000) of people could correctly identify the risk of developing heart failure

ii   Only 34% are aware of the risk of developing heart failure

 

Question 8: Awareness of severity of an acute episode of heart failure

Acute heart failure is when the symptoms of heart failure (e.g. shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, weakness) occur very suddenly. Please select which one of the below statements you think is accurate.

  • 9 out of 10 patients survive for at least 1 year following their first acute heart failure episode
  • 1 in 100 patients will die within 1 year of their first acute heart failure episode
  • 1 in 25 patients will die within 1 year of their first acute heart failure episode
  • 1 in 3 patients will die within 1 year of their acute first heart failure episode (correct)

Results

i   87% are unaware of the severity of acute heart failure

 

Question 9: Awareness of mortality rate for heart failure

Of the following medical conditions, from which do you think are patients likely to live longest after diagnosis? Please choose only one option:

  • Stroke
  • Advanced bowel or breast cancer
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure

Results

i    14% of people thought patients with heart failure live longer than those with advanced breast or bowel cancer, heart attack or stroke, yet heart failure is more deadly than all these conditions

ii   41% (412 of 1000) believe stroke patients live longest

iii   5% (48 of 1000) believe advanced bowel or breast cancer patients live longest

iv   40% (403 of 1000) believe heart attack patients live longest

v   14% (137 of 1000) believe heart failure patients live longest

 

Question 10: Perception of seriousness of heart failure

Of the following medical conditions, which are you most afraid of experiencing? Please choose only one option (opinion based):

  • Stroke
  • Advanced bowel or breast cancer
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure

Results

i   Despite the fact that survival rates are poorer for heart failure, the majority of respondents were more likely to be afraid of experiencing a stroke (36%) advanced bowel or breast cancer (43%) or a heart attack (14%) than of experiencing heart failure (7%)

Our opinion around the findings of this survey are positive in the fact that we only really assumed that there was an issue but this demonstrates concrete evidence that it is so important to build awareness of Heart Failure which continues to afflict millions of people. The lack of investment in the condition from all stakeholders has led to a “laissez faire” and often “left down to local iniative strategy” which in this day an age of joined up strategic health care planning is unacceptable. The Pumping Marvellous Foundation will continue to push for

i   Awareness of the condition and it’s profile to the general public

ii   Work with healthcare proffesionals and help put the very best resources in their hands to deliver not only parity of care but the right care

iii   Continue to build and influence for an affective care model where access to the best care is available and consistent.

iv   Ensure heart failure patients and their families as the key stakeholder have a bigger say in the development of how they are cared for

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