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Heart failure

Don’t miss the warning signs

BSH board of trustees (pictured above):
Dr Sue Piper, Councillor; Professor Paul Kalra, past chair; Professor Roy Gardner, Chair Elect; Dr Carol Whelan, Councillor; Dr Simon Williams, Chair; Ms Carys Barton, Chair BSH Nurse Forum; Dr Stephen Pettit, Treasurer; Dr Lisa Anderson, Deputy Chair; and Ms Janine Beezer, Councillor

Lynn Mackay-Thomas

Chief Executive Officer, British Society for Heart Failure

“During this pandemic we have seen a reduction in the numbers of patients being admitted to hospital with heart related issues; perhaps preferring to isolate at home and hiding symptoms.”

“Heart failure can develop as a consequence of the heart muscle damage, sometimes caused by a heart attack; what we are already seeing is increasing numbers of new patients with heart failure but what we cannot know is what future repercussions may result from reduced intervention during this period. We can, however, expect this pattern to continue.” says Dr Simon Williams, Chair of the British Society for Heart Failure.

Heart failure is a condition that patients need to live with for the remainder of their lives. Early detection and accurate diagnosis in primary care, prior to presenting at hospital, are essential. With the right support from people around them, it is possible for patients to live well with heart failure. There are incredible life gains to be had with new and emerging treatments and our specialists are here to guide and educate on heart failure management.

COVID-19 catalysing innovative solutions

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing problems in the system and, as such, is changing the way we practice medicine, catalysing new and innovative solutions. As the professional association representing heart failure specialists, we are very proud of how our teams have found ways to address some of the issues.

We can win the fight against heart failure.

Our health professionals have flexed and adapted to change, supporting the national effort at the front line while also striving to keep patients with heart failure safe and well at home. However, we can do much better for our heart failure patients and their families.

We need strong leadership and clear guidance from our heart failure specialists

For the delivery of improved care throughout the system, we need strong leadership and clear guidance from our heart failure specialists to support all health professionals across the patient pathway.

Many patients have been too frightened of contracting COVID-19 to go to hospital; too frightened to tell anyone about their symptoms, or perhaps confused their symptoms with those of the virus or a consequence of the virus. We urge you not to miss the warning signs; please tell your GP practice if you have symptoms of breathlessness, fatigue or unusual swelling of limbs or abdomen.

Your GP can order a simple diagnostic blood test called NTproBNP and, if concerned, refer you for specialist diagnosis and management plan.

The earlier we see you, the better your outlook

One in five people will develop heart failure in their lifetime – we all need to be far more aware of heart failure and its symptoms by ensuring:

  • Early and accurate diagnosis;
  • Accountability throughout the patient journey;
  • Guidance from our experts.

We can win the fight against heart failure.

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