This week I am hosting a reception in Parliament with two charities: Pumping Marvellous and the Cardiomyopathy Association. As part of the Don’t Fail on Heart Failure campaign, we will be briefing Parliamentary colleagues on heart failure, the condition whereby someone’s heart is unable to pump sufficient blood to meet their body’s needs. Causes can range from hypertension to a heart attack to a virus.
Patients suffering heart failure develop increasing breathlessness and fatigue when carrying out daily activities – and ultimately at rest. Ability to work is greatly impaired along with health.
Janey, who lives near my Harrow constituency, describes how “Usual tasks others take for granted such as doing the washing, hanging it up, cooking dinner, going to the shops for groceries and changing bed sheets can be a struggle”.
Heart failure affects more than 600,000 people in the UK – almost 1,000 in the average Parliamentary constituency. Untreated, it has a survival rate similar to cancer - and over a third die within a year of diagnosis
Heart failure also imposes huge direct costs on all taxpayers. It accounts for 5% of all emergency hospital admissions and 2% of all NHS hospital bed days.
NICE currently recommends both ICDs and CRT-Ds for the treatment of patients with heart problems. New research into 12,000 patients reveals the scale of the benefits. Patients who received CRT-Ds and ICD implants had a death rate 25% to 45% lower than those who instead took the best available drugs.