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Home » Cardiology » How pop-up heart health checks in the community can save lives

Nick Hartshorne-Evans

Founder and Chief Executive, Pumping Marvellous Foundation

A local community heart check programme is using pioneering testing technology to identify ‘at-risk’ patients and ensure they have early access to healthcare interventions.

In the UK, it is estimated that up to 1 million people are living with heart failure (HF) with approximately 200,000 people diagnosed every year. It is also thought that 300,000 could be living with unidentified heart failure. However, the condition is treatable if found early, with speedier diagnoses leading to better outcomes.

Left too late, it can be fatal or severely reduce quality of life, placing a significant and avoidable burden on the NHS.

Free testing for speedier interventions

To raise awareness, patient-led HF charity Pumping Marvellous Foundation has launched the BEAT HF Healthy Heart Bus initiative. This is a programme of 12 events offering free heart health checks in communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

With LumiraDx, we can analyse blood from a simple finger prick test … in just 12 minutes.

“Think of it as a complimentary ‘heart MOT’” says Nick Hartshorne-Evans, Pumping Marvellous Foundation’s Founder and Chief Executive. “We want to educate people about their cardiovascular health and find those who are at risk of HF,” he explains. “Intervening early — rather than treating them in hospital when their condition becomes acute — is better for them and prevents pressure building on the healthcare system.”

Advanced point-of-care testing technology

Each BEAT HF Healthy Heart Bus event is managed by local hospital trusts, GP primary care networks, local council teams and other third-sector organisations. It offers members of the public blood pressure, atrial fibrillation and heart murmur checks. Plus, it aims to help people understand HF symptoms through the acronym ‘BEAT’ (if you’re Breathless, Exhausted and have Ankle swelling, it’s Time to speak to your GP).

Every event features pioneering point-of-care testing technology developed in the UK by LumiraDx. “Previously, a phlebotomist blood test would be needed to rule out HF, with blood samples sent away to a lab for 24 or 48 hours,” explains Hartshorne-Evans. “However, with LumiraDx, we can analyse blood from a simple finger prick test … in just 12 minutes, which indicates if further investigations are necessary. It’s speedy, efficient and offers those who need it a quicker way into the healthcare system.”

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