Tullamore Hospital mark European Heart Failure Awareness week

Heart Failure Awareness Week took place from Monday 29th April to Sunday 5th May 2024 and the staff of Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore along with the Irish Association of Heart Failure Nurses (IAHFN) were busy raising awareness amongst hospital staff and the general public. Heart Failure can be an alarming diagnosis. Many people do not understand the term whilst many more underestimate their individual risk which can affect as many as 1 in 5 of us during our lifetime.

Heart failure occurs when the heart cannot pump sufficient blood to meet the needs of the body. Common causes include coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, abnormalities of the heartbeat, faulty valves and diseases of the heart muscle. Heart failure can also happen as a result of numerous other factors and conditions that can impair the efficiency of the heart in circulating blood.

Symptoms of heart failure include:

  • breathlessness on exertion or at rest
  • swollen legs
  • tiredness

Heart Failure is common, affecting 90,000 of the Irish population with 90,000 undiagnosed living in the community. The chance of developing heart failure rises as we age to > 10% of those aged > 75yrs, but it is a condition that can affect anyone at any age. It is a serious condition, left untreated heart failure can be as deadly as some cancers- but there is good treatment out there.

The key to better outcomes is in early diagnosis in order to begin treatment as soon as possible. Effective treatments help to improve survival and quality of life for affected individuals. Heart failure rates are set to double by 2040 and this has prompted a global call to action to reduce the rates of people dying from heart failure in the first year of diagnosis by 25% in the next 25 years.

Sharon Maher, Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Cardiology MRHT said, “This year for European Heart Failure Awareness week we focused on promoting Heart Failure both internally amongst our colleagues with a really well attended Cardiology Study Day Titled: Healthy Heart: The interdisciplinary management of Chest Pain and Heart Failure. As part of this study day we invited a patient Nicholas Hines who came back to speak to us post heart transplant over Christmas and is doing really well. Nicholas is one of 9 people who got a heart transplant last year in Ireland. He spoke through his living experience of heart failure, his moving story really brought home to all of us as health professionals the importance of early detection”

“We also held an information stand in our main foyer for members of the general public to educate and inform” she adds. The message of the IAHFN #BumpUpThePump campaign is in keeping with campaign of the European Heart Failure Association theme “Detect the undetected: FIND ME”. The #BumpUpThePump campaign aims to promote public awareness of heart failure risk factors, heart failure symptoms and prompts anyone concerned to attend their GP for an assessment.

Cardiology Day 2

The president of the IAHFN, Mairead Lehane said “There is only one failure in heart failure and that is failure to act. Do not delay seeking help if you experience breathlessness, fatigue or leg swelling. The earlier you are diagnosed, the earlier treatment may begin which will increase your chance of better outcomes…. with effective treatment you can live well with heart failure.”