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HFA Certification in Heart Failure

Certification organised by the Heart Failure Association (HFA)

The HFA Certification programme seeks to set a standard for competency and excellence in the field of heart failure across Europe and beyond. It has been meticulously developed to accurately reflect and clearly defined assessment goals and evaluate the necessary knowledge, skills and clinical competencies that are required for heart failure cardiology practice.

The HFA Certification programme is designed for professionals specialising in heart failure. 

The programme is set out in one part:

  • the  exam - intended to test the theoretical knowledge of the candidate.



The HFA written examination is open to doctor with national board certification in cardiology (diploma) or  doctor in cardiology specialist training (fellows).

The HFA Certification is not a compulsory or regulatory certificate of competence or excellence. Individuals' rights to report and sign clinical studies in individual countries remain to be defined by national laws and regulations.

Exam format

The HFA examination is a multiple-choice written examination in English.

The examination consists of 100 questions and runs over three hours, with no break.  

Questions are designed to assess the candidate's knowledge:

  • Based on a clinical scenario
  • Five options with only one single best answer. 
  • No negative marking

Questions are drawn from the entire spectrum of heart failure reflecting the ESC Core Curriculum for the Cardiologist.    

Exam date and delivery

The HFA examination is usually delivered twice a year, using an online proctoring platform (CYIM/ProctorU®).

This provides candidates with the safety and convenience of an online platform while retaining the integrity and quality of an on-site supervised exam.

The online format of the HFA exam is:

  • Accessible anywhere in the world.
  • Taken on the candidate’s own device (computer only) and monitored by a human proctor online through ProctorU®.

Please find more information here.  

Exam preparation

The HFA exam is designed to test a wide range of heart failure knowledge aligned with the Heart Failure Specialist Curriculum

There is no single source from which all questions are developed, and candidates are encouraged to read widely, including but not limited to:

Test yourself with sample questions from past HFA Certification exams

Exam results

The passing score of the exam is established using referenced methodologies, that are widely used in  certification. The passing score links the score required to pass the exam to the minimum level of knowledge required for heart failure practice.

Following the exam, psychometric analysis of the questions is conducted and items that do not meet psychometric standards are removed from the exam. In addition, any items that have been flagged during the exam administration are reviewed and if these items are deemed to be defective for any reason they are removed from the exam.

Results are subjected to multiple levels of verification prior to being reported to candidates.

Examination results are communicated to candidates in the eight weeks after the examination.

Candidates will receive an email containing their results letter on the date of the result release. Successful candidates for the exam will also receive a certificate of completion of the written exam.

Candidate’s results are also made available through the candidate’s My ESC account.  


ESC/HFA aims to deliver examinations of the highest quality and provide the best level of service for all candidates. To ensure that all candidates are assessed fairly, there is a procedure to allow candidates to appeal against their exam results.

Please find more information here.

Policies for online proctoring examinations

For more information, please refer to the ESC online proctoring examination terms & conditions

Certification result and list of certified candidates

Candidates will be granted certification in heart failure once they have completed the exam part of the programme. The certification is valid for life. 

HFA is pleased to list all their heart failure certified candidates.