Heart failure has worse survival rates than breast, prostate and bladder cancer.26 Mortality rates remain significant, particularly in areas of social deprivation.27
These statistics paint a bleak outlook for heart failure patients. More than half of heart failure patients won’t survive for five years after their diagnosis and just under three quarters won’t survive past ten years.11

With heart failure admissions rising by a third over the past five years,28 it is critical that early and accurate diagnosis in primary care is prioritised to prevent avoidable deaths from heart failure.

The key to reducing mortality, morbidity and costs associated with heart failure is early, accurate diagnosis and appropriate management.17 Although there is no cure for heart failure, timely diagnosis means that patients can access treatment to help them manage their symptoms, improving their quality of life.11

However, with three quarters (74.8%) of patients initially diagnosed on their first hospital admission in 2018/191 and just over one in 10 readmitted within three months (13.6%),1 it is clear that opportunities for early intervention are being missed. Almost one in five (18.6%) patients who were admitted to hospital for heart failure died within six months of their admission in 2018/19,1 rising to almost one quarter (24%) within a year.1 Mortality rates one-year post-diagnosis also vary significantly based on geography, creating a postcode lottery for patients. At one CCG in Essex the mortality rate a year after admission was as high as 30.7%1 in 2018/19 while one East London CCG was at 14.3%, significantly under the national average.
“It is vital that all primary care and hospital trusts in the UK have access to the blood test NT-proBNP to ensure timely referral to specialists who can diagnose heart failure. Once diagnosed, specialists can expedite access to therapies that make a real difference to people’s symptoms, these therapies not only improve quality of life but also enable patients to live longer. A blood test is cost effective, easy to obtain and quick to process with potential to significantly impact the life of someone with heart failure and the lives of their families.”

Carys Barton, Heart failure nurse consultant, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
Dan’s story
Dan, from Nottingham, who was 35 years old at the time of diagnosis, has had a very difficult experience being diagnosed with heart failure. After six months of symptoms, and trips to the GP, he collapsed at home and had to be admitted to hospital with dilated cardiomyopathy. The experience has taken a toll on his wellbeing, both mentally and professionally. After being misdiagnosed with depression and anxiety in the first place, he ended up suffering from these conditions as a result of the stress of heart failure symptoms.
“I went to hell. I literally went to hell. It was the worst time of my life,” he says. “I believed that I was suffering from anxiety, stress and depression, and I think I began to take on those symptoms. I was experiencing panic attacks and I was so desperate to find out what was wrong I even spoke to the Samaritans. It got that bad that I was looking for answers.”