Heart Failure – A UK Ticking Time Bomb


Leading heart failure charity, The Pumping Marvellous Foundation, calls for greater awareness of heart failure, one of the UK’s largest killers

Hapton, Lancashire May 9th, 2014 –Awareness of heart failure by the British public is alarmingly low, despite over 800,000 people living with the condition in the UK[i], and it causing 2-3 times as many deaths as some advanced cancers.[ii] However, with greater understanding of the disease by the public and healthcare professionals, there is hope for better outcomes, but more attention must be paid to recognise the signs and symptoms allowing for immediate care.

Over 1 in 5 people over the age of 40 will develop heart failure in their lifetime[iii]but in a recent survey almost 80% of the British public could not correctly define heart failure[iv], with many people mistaking the symptoms as a normal sign of aging. Despite the fact that 44% of respondents suffer, or know someone suffering with heart failure[v], less than 1 in 10 of them could spot three common signs and symptoms of the disease[vi].

“It is unbelievable that with so many people living in the UK with heart failure, awareness of the condition is incredibly low. This is shocking considering heart failure is a major and growing public health problem. The only way we can start to tackle and manage the condition, is by raising awareness and coming together to better improve the lives of those living with it,” explains Nick Hartshorne Evans, Founder and CE of The Pumping Marvellous Foundation.

Even though heart failure is a complex clinical syndrome, characterised by the reduced ability of the heart to pump blood around the body, a recent audit by National Institute for Cardiovascular Outcomes Research (NICOR) and the British Society of Heart Failure (BSH) showed that good clinical management, by heart failure and cardiology specialists, continues to result in significantly better outcomes for patients[vii]. However, patients must be identified quickly and have access to these services.

“Heart failure is a chronic, life-long and often life limiting syndrome. Worsening heart failure not only results in debilitating symptoms such as breathlessness, but also leads to long periods of time spent in hospital – resulting in people being away from their homes, families and communities for increasing periods of time.

Raising awareness and improving understanding of heart failure in the public, in patients who have this syndrome and in their carers will lead to earlier diagnosis and better outcomes for patients living with this problem.” explains Dargoi Satchi, Heart Failure Specialist Cardiology Consultant of the University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust.

Ends – For more information please contact the Pumping Marvellous Foundation +44 7854 407050 or hearts@pumpingmarvellous.org

Heart failure at a glance:

  • Heart Failure is a complex clinical syndrome characterised by the reduced ability of the heart to pump blood around the body
  • It is thought that around 70% of all heart failure cases are caused by coronary heart disease[viii]
  • Heart failure constitutes a large burden on the NHS, accounting for one million inpatient bed-days – 2% of the NHS total – and 5% of all emergency hospital admissions[ix],[x]
  • There were almost 44,000 hospital admissions for acute heart failure in 2012/13[xi]
  • It is estimated that around 800,000 people in the UK suffer from heart failure, a number which will continue to rise due to an ageing population, improved survival rates following a heart attack, and more effective treatments[xii]
  • Heart failure patients can also experience poor quality of life, experiencing pain, shortness of breath and fatigue[xiii]
  • Heart failure patients also often suffer from mental health problems, with studies showing that over half report low mood, and more than a third suffer from major depression[xiv]
  • The signs and symptoms of heart failure include[xv]:

o   Difficulty breathing (dyspnea)

o   Swollen limbs due to build-up of fluid

o   Severe fatigue

o   Coughing / wheezing

o   Nausea

o   Weight gain due to fluid build-up

About The Pumping Marvellous Foundation

The Pumping Marvellous Foundation is the UK’s Heart Failure Charity which represents heart failure patients, their carers and families by advocating for parity of care ensuring access to the latest therapies along with helping them self-manage their condition to improve their quality of life through peer to peer coaching and support.

Notes to the editor:

In March 2014 Novartis Pharmaceuticals Ltd conducted a survey among 1000 adults aged 50 years old and above from across Great Britain to find out about their awareness and knowledge of heart failure. The survey data was shared with Pumping Marvellous who has referenced some of the findings within this report. Novartis Pharmaceuticals have provided a grant for a heart failure GP toolkit, but have not provided any funding to Pumping Marvellous related to this press release.

References

[i] NICOR. National heart failure audit April 2012 – March 2013. 2013.

[ii] Stewart S et al. More ‘malignant’ than cancer? Five-year survival following a first admission for heart failure. European Journal Heart Failure. 2001;3:315-322.

[iii] Go A et al; American Heart Association Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee. Executive summary: heart disease and stroke statistics—2013 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2013;127(1):e6-e245.

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

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

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

[vii] NICOR. National heart failure audit April 2012 – March 2013. 2013.

[viii] NICOR. National heart failure audit April 2012 – March 2013. 2013.

[ix] NICOR. National heart failure audit April 2012 – March 2013. 2013.

[x] Sutherland K. Bridging the quality gap: Heart failure. The Health Foundation. 2010.  https://www.health.org.uk/public/cms/75/76/313/583/Bridging%20the%20quality%20gap%20Heart%20Failure.pdf?realName=cXqFcz.pdf. Accessed: August 2013

[xi] NICOR. National heart failure audit April 2012 – March 2013. 2013.

[xii] NICOR. National heart failure audit April 2012 – March 2013. 2013.

[xiii] NICOR. National heart failure audit April 2012 – March 2013. 2013

[xiv] NICOR. National heart failure audit April 2012 – March 2013. 2013.

[xv] Mosterd A, Hoes, A, Clinical epidemiology of heart failure, Heart 2007;93:1137-1146

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