Don't Fail on Heart Failure

Tuesday 18 June 2013


On Tuesday 18 June 2013 we delivered our heart failure pledge to the Department of Health in Westminster and launched the 'Don't Fail on Heart Failure' report at a parliamentary briefing for MPs.


The UK compares poorly to other European countries in the care of heart failure patients. Proven therapies that can massively improve quality of life and reduce the high rate of death among heart failure patients are used much less in the UK than in our comparable European neighbours. The underuse of these treatments consigns many UK heart failure patients to a palliative care programme with too little done to prevent deaths and reverse poor quality of life.

The therapies under the spotlight are both endorsed by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) and long-established in cardiac care. Cardiac resynchronisation therapy corrects a heart rhythm disorder that causes or contributes to over 20% of all heart failure; often resulting in dramatic reduction of symptoms and corresponding improvements in quality of life. Heart failure patients are also at higher risk of death from sudden cardiac arrest which can be prevented with an ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator). In heart failure patients, appropriate ICD use reduces deaths by 29%. The two therapies can even be combined in a single system and procedure; called CRT-D, this combined approach reduces deaths among heart failure patients by a staggering 42%.


Heart failure means that someone’s heart cannot pump sufficient blood to meet their body’s needs. It impedes the ability to work and carry out basic daily activities. The costs to the NHS of heart failure are dramatic. Heart failure accounts for 2% of all NHS hospital bed days and 5% of all emergency hospital admissions. 


It represents a huge burden for sufferers in terms of mortality and quality of life. Many are no longer able to perform simple exercises like walking upstairs or getting out of bed. If untreated, more than a third of patients will die within one year of diagnosis.


We have teamed up with the Cardiomyopathy Association and Pumping Marvellous in the campaign. At a parliamentary briefing, on Tuesday 18 June, we as part of 'Don't Fail on Heart Failure' launched a damning new report, and called for action from MPs to reverse the current situation. Over 20 MPs attended the briefing, and their signatures were the first on the 'Heart Failure Pledge' that will be delivered to the Department of Health, calling for better care of UK heart failure patients and improve access to appropriate medical care. 


We are urging parliamentarians to write to health ministers, the NICE and the NHS Commissioning Board, supporting improved patient access to the medical technology for treating heart failure, including implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) and cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT devices).


Did you know?


  • Untreated, heart failure has a survival rate similar to cancer - and more than a third of patients with heart failure will die within one year of diagnosis

  • Heart failure prevents people from working and carrying out basic activities without becoming breathless
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) and cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT) devices cut death rates by 25% (ICD alone) and 45% (ICD and CRT combined) compared to the best alternative medical therapy


Download full report

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+44 (0) 1789 867 501info@heartrhythmalliance.org


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