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Prof. Dahlstrom reports on the Heart Failure Awareness Day! 

The 1st Heart Failure Awareness Day was held in May 2010

Topics: Heart Failure (HF)
Date: 30 Jun 2010
 U. Dahlstrom

The Heart Failure awareness day is designed to raise awareness about the importance of recognising HF, getting an accurate diagnosis and receiving optimal treatment.
With this annual weekend HFA is highlighting the need for more Heart Failure patients to be managed in dedicated HF clinics as opposed to the primary care setting.

The events to mark this first weekend took place in 21 countries. One important aim of the Heart Failure awareness day is to identify people who may not know they were suffering from HF. In all participating countries, the public were asked to consider the following question:  “Do you have unexplained shortness of breath, swollen ankles?”

For anyone answering positively, a four step plan is offered:

  • The first step is to get further information, from the Heart Failure Matters website.
  • The second if they are still concerned is to contact their GP.
  • The third is to have a proper diagnosis, which should include blood tests for measuring biomarkers (such as brain natriuretic peptide) and if positive echocardiography to evaluate cardiac function.
  • The fourth is to get treatment – guidelines say that HF patients should be treated with beta-blockers and ACE-inhibitors.

What made the success of the Heart Failure awareness day?

Heart Failure Awareness Day  During this week end, HF clinics opened their doors to the general public and organised lectures on  what is Heart Failure, how it can be diagnosed and treated, highlighting the importance of healthy diets.

Debates about the need for HF-clinics were organised, as well as fitness demonstrations highlighting the fact that people who have HF can still be active and benefit from exercise. Furthermore the general public were offered case echocardiography and blood pressure measurements (important when discussing HF). Competitions, questionnaires and quiz were also arranged.

The media coverage was quite high, there were many articles in different newspapers, radio and television programmes broadcasted the different events, billboards were placed in major cities and the ESC sent out a Press Release announcing the event.

The Heart Failure Association provided materials to all countries such as a poster template, so that organisers could translate it into their own language, whilst using the same visual identity for the event across Europe. The national logotype could be added besides the ESC and HFA logotypes.

The five best programmes this year were awarded with a 5000 Euros Grant offered by the Heart Failure Association. This first year the 5 best programmes came from Serbia, Lithuania, Great Britain, Estonia and Slovakia.

The first European HF awareness day was a great success highlighting our HF patients to the public. They really deserved that.

Next year we hope for more events during this weekend in more countries in Europe!


Prof. Ulf Dahlstrom, FESC
Coordinator of the HFA Committee on National Heart Failure Societies.