Statement from the BSH - Let’s focus on heart failure for World Heart Day 2020

Statement from the British Society for Heart Failure (BSH)
Let’s focus on heart failure for World Heart Day 2020

  • Heart Failure/ heart damage is occurring in at least 10 per cent of those who are hospitalised with COVID-19
  • BSH to collaborate on an exemplar report utilising heart failure as a blueprint for examination of the indirect effects of the pandemic on patients with long term conditions

“We are seeing a rise in people with heart failure due to COVID-19. Patients hospitalised with COVID-19 are at increased risk, with heart failure or heart damage occurring in at least 10 per cent of those who are hospitalised.”1

Tuesday 29 September 2020. World Heart Day: There are approximately 1 million people with heart failure in the UK, 200,000 are diagnosed each year and it does not discriminate. NHS England has recognised those with heart failure as a group highly vulnerable to risk of severe infection from SARS-Cov-2 and a group we must support better to improve their outcomes:

“Heart failure is a complex long term condition, rarely existing in isolation, the management of which requires specialist advice and guidance. Whilst it remains a burdensome, debilitating and potentially life threatening condition, it is possible to live well with heart failure. This is an important aim of the care we provide as heart failure specialists” said Dr Simon Williams, Consultant Cardiologist, Wythenshawe Hospital, and Chair of the British Society for Heart Failure.

“We need to ensure that vulnerable patients with multiple health problems including heart failure are better protected through the pandemic and beyond. The British Society for Heart Failure is in a position to tackle these issues and to demonstrate how improving lives for people with heart failure can be the blueprint for other long term conditions.” Dr Williams continued.

“As the UK’s professional association of heart failure clinicians, we have taken the decision to collaborate with respected thinkers in healthcare on a report that will examine the indirect effects of the pandemic on patients with long term conditions such as heart failure. We will focus on the early needs of the patient, the patient journey, aspects of inclusion and our role in advising and guiding treatment plans to support the patient and the wider clinical community responsible for care of that patient.”

Carys Barton, Heart Failure Nurse Consultant, Imperial College Healthcare Trust and Chair of the BSH Nurse Forum commented: “There are currently even greater pressures on our health service and it is vital that we avoid unnecessary and emergency hospital admissions. The clinical community should reflect on the importance of recognising people affected with heart failure as early as possible to be able to improve patient outcomes. With increased public awareness those experiencing key symptoms of heart failure are able to recognise these and speak to a clinician such as their General Practitioner. This will ensure the recommended blood test is undertaken and onward referral to specialists for clinical assessment who can initiate the appropriate treatments promptly, thus avoiding these hospital admissions and supporting people with heart failure in living better for longer.”

About the British Society for Heart Failure (BSH):

The BSH aims to increase knowledge and promote research about the diagnosis, causes, management and consequences of heart failure amongst healthcare professionals with the intention of delaying or preventing the onset of heart failure and improving care and outcomes for patients with heart failure. To provide expert advice on request to healthcare professionals, patient or government organisations, including the National Health Service, when appropriate. BSH is a registered Charity (number 1075720) and registered Company (number 3767312)

BSH is on Twitter. Please follow @BSHeartFailure

For health correspondents: To learn more about heart failure, please visit website:


  1. Professor Martin Cowie, Comment, The Telegraph 23 September 2020