Professional training

We need

  • Dedicated training for all relevant professionals to ensure they are able to recognise the symptoms of heart failure. This includes: GPs, community and hospital nurses, emergency workers, geriatricians, internists, intensive care physicians and cardiologists
  • Rapid assessment protocols in hospitals to ensure any patient presenting with “red flag” symptoms of heart failure receives immediate attention from a cardiologist, regardless of where they are admitted
  • Incentives for GPs and community healthcare professionals to encourage their patients with conditions that place them at high risk of heart failure to adopt healthy lifestyles and medications that may help prevent heart failure.

Why

  • Signs and symptoms of heart failure often go unrecognised by healthcare professionals, especially GPs.
  • Symptoms such as tiredness and shortness of breath may be dismissed as inevitable signs of ageing,1 or consequences of other conditions, such as diabetes or other heart disease.2
  • Patients with heart failureoften present with co-morbidities and are not always admitted to a cardiology ward.3 As a result, it may take a while until they see a cardiologist and an accurate diagnosis of heart failure is made, causing them significant distress.

Examples of what has been done:

  • Ponikowski P, Anker S, AlHabib K, et al. Heart failure: preventing disease and death worldwide. : European Society of Cardiology., 2014.

  • Cowie MR, Anker SD, Cleland JG, et al. Improving care for patients with acute heart failure Before, during and after hospitalization. Heart Failure Association of the ESC 2014.

  • Wise J. Acute heart failure patients should be seen by specialist teams, says NICE. BMJ 2014;348.

  • McMurray JJ, Adamopoulos S, Anker SD, et al. ESC Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic heart failure 2012. European journal of heart failure 2012;14(8):803-69.

  • World Heart Federation. Global CVD Roadmaps - reducing cardiovascular premature mortality through secondary prevention interventions. Secondary Global CVD Roadmaps - reducing cardiovascular premature mortality through secondary prevention interventions 2015. http://www.cvdroadmaps.org/roadmap/a-roadmap-for-reducing-cardiovascular-premature-mortality-through-secondary#map-count-9.