The British Journal of Cardiology is pleased to support the British Society of Heart Failure’s (BSH’s) important new campaign ‘Freedom from failure’. Its aim, according to the society, is to create “a movement to embed heart failure as a serious but treatable long-term condition into the consciousness of the public, policymakers and ultimately, healthcare systems”.
The campaign wants healthcare professionals to help increase public awareness of the most common heart failure symptoms – failure to breathe, fatigue, fluid build up – so medical advice is sought early to improve outcomes from the disease. A recent NICE Impact report1 showed 80% of heart failure is diagnosed in hospital but 40% of people had symptoms that should have triggered an earlier assessment in primary care. This suggests that many people who are living with undiagnosed heart failure are only seeking medical help as an emergency admission into hospital.
Materials to educate the public about self-recognition of symptoms and seek early medical help are available at the campaign website https://www.bsh.org.uk/the-f-word/ and on social media @BSHeartfailure #theFWord #Freedomfromfailure.
BSH Chair, Dr Simon Williams (Consultant Cardiologist, Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester) commented: “Heart failure is arguably the biggest success story of modern day medicine, we have made extraordinary progress over the last two decades. And whilst it remains a burdensome, often debilitating condition, with appropriate management it is possible for people to live well with heart failure. Outcomes can be dramatically improved through earlier, faster diagnosis and expediting optimal treatment onto guideline recommended therapies”.
There are currently approximately one million people with heart failure in the UK, with a further 200,000 newly diagnosed every year. The risk of death from heart failure is higher than for many cancers and the BSH wants heart failure to be recognised, detected and treated with the same urgency.