One in five people will develop heart failure but it can be prevented
Sophia Antipolis, 30 November 2015: The world’s top heart failure doctors have pledged united action to improve patient outcomes and reduce the burden of heart failure on society. Leaders from the Heart Failure Association (HFA) of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and 36 National Heart Failure Societies formalised the promise by signing a Declaration [http://www.escardio.org/The-ESC/Communities/Heart-Failure-Association-%28HFA%29/Global-Heart-Failure-Awareness-Programme].
Heart failure affects 26 million people worldwide. It is estimated that one in five people in developed countries will get heart failure.
Survival rates for patients with heart failure are worse than those for bowel, breast or prostate cancer. Up to 45% of patients admitted to hospital with heart failure die within 1 year of admission and the majority die within 5 years. But the condition can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle.
“Preventing heart failure must be a strategic health priority in all countries,” said HFA president Professor Gerasimos Filippatos. “The unanimous support for the declaration shows the widespread commitment of heart failure leaders to tackling heart failure.”
Heart failure leaders agreed to:
- Raise global awareness about heart failure and make it a universal health priority
- Promote prevention by encouraging healthy lifestyles
- Train health care professionals to achieve earlier diagnosis and intervention
- Expand the specialisation of heart failure amongst cardiologists and nurses
- Clarify the patient pathway for earlier detection and structured follow-up
- Support strategic and political initiatives to improve heart failure care at national level
The document was signed at the 5th National Heart Failure Societies’ Presidents’ Summit on 24 October in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The event was also attended by Slovenia’s deputy minister for health Dr Nina Pirnat.
“We need to have political backing for our campaign; this is essential to achieve the financial support and health policy legislation needed to implement strategies that address heart failure,” said Professor Mitja Lainscak, coordinator of the declaration.
The statement supports the HFA’s Global Heart Failure Awareness Programme which seeks to engage politicians, regulators, health care professionals, patients and the public to improve awareness and prevention of the condition.
Professor Lainscak said: “We know how to prevent heart failure, and how to improve the quality of life and survival chances of patients with heart failure. As the world’s largest heart failure organisation, the HFA will work with our partners to reduce unnecessary suffering and improve quality of life.”
About heart failure
Heart failure is a serious condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the needs of the body. Although often life threatening, the typical symptoms of heart failure (breathlessness, swollen limbs and fatigue) are usually less dramatic than those associated with a heart attack.
Statistics about heart failure are available in the HFA White Paper “Heart failure: preventing disease and death worldwide” (PDF)
For practical information about heart failure aimed at patients, families and caregivers, visit the HFA’s
The Heart Failure Association (HFA) is a registered branch of the ESC. Its aim is to improve quality of life and longevity, through better prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart failure, including the establishment of networks for its management, education and research.
ESC Press Office
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European Society of Cardiology
The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) represents more than 90 000 cardiology professionals across Europe and the Mediterranean. Its mission is to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in Europe.