Key Findings
Quality of life
A delayed heart failure diagnosis has a significant impact on patients’ quality of life. As well as it being a debilitating physical condition, heart failure has an emotional, social and economic impact on those who live with it, as well as patients’ families and carers.2
Thinking about the length of time it took for them to receive a final diagnosis, 69% of patients said they were left feeling anxious or worried, while 19.4% were angered by the situation and 12.2% were embarrassed.2
Almost half (46.9%) of patients said their emotional wellbeing or mental health was impacted,2 rising to 54.1% amongst women.2 Over 30% of patients also agreed it had negatively impacted on their relationships with friends,2 or their children and wider family.2
Patients also suffered job losses and changes in income. 43.8% said their ability to work had been negatively affected,2 while 30.2% suffered financial losses.2 The delay in diagnosis also impacted on future plans, with 32% agreeing that their career development had been hindered.2

Men and women are affected by a late diagnosis in different ways. The number of women who agreed it had negatively impacted on their relationship with their friends rose to 35.6% compared with 27% of men,2 while 47% said it affected their ability to work.2 Men, however, were more likely to say they had suffered financial losses (31.7%)2 and that their career development had been hindered (33.1%).2
Beverly’s story
Beverly, from south west London, was 50 years old when she was diagnosed. She suffered a heart attack out of the blue, and was told she had heart failure while being treated for the heart attack.

Beverly’s experience of diagnosis was “very distressing”. Her consultant told her that she had “the heart of an 80 year old” and that “one in three patients are dead within a year, even with all the treatment we have available”.
“It would have been nice to have had some knowledge of heart failure because it changed my life dramatically,” she says. “It really did have a massive impact on the way my life was. I was no longer able to work, no longer able to walk up the road, I couldn't go anywhere on my own. I had to have someone with me at all times for quite a long time. So, for me, it changed my life dramatically.”