NICE calls for heart failure patients to receive specialist care in hospital

8 October 2014        

Doctor examining a patient

New guidance has been published calling on hospitals to provide specialist care for patients with sudden and potentially life-threatening heart failure.

The recommendations, published by the National Institute for Health Care Excellence, aim to ensure all patients admitted to hospital with acute heart failure are seen by a specialist consultant-led heart failure team for appropriate diagnostic testing and treatment. 

NICE hopes the new measures will improve survival rates and quality of life for patients suffering with this debilitating condition.

Heart failure happens when the heart muscle cannot pump enough blood to meet the needs of the body.

Acute heart failure occurs suddenly, often following a heart attack, unlike chronic heart failure which develops slowly, worsening over time.

Providing specialist diagnosis, treatment and care is vital if lives are to be saved and the quality of life improved for heart failure patients.

Dr Mike Knapton 

Associate Medical Director

Dr Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Every year thousands of people in the UK are dealt the devastating news that they have heart failure.”

“This crippling illness can cause breathlessness, swelling and fatigue, leaving patients with a long and difficult fight for life. In severe cases, it can be fatal.”

“Providing specialist diagnosis, treatment and care is vital if lives are to be saved and the quality of life improved for heart failure patients.”

"We fully support this change in NICE guidance and for over ten years the BHF has, and continues to, support Heart Failure Specialist Nurses in hospitals and the community.”

"We urge health providers across the UK to implement these changes immediately to ensure patients with acute heart failure have the best possible chance of survival.”

Find out more about our Mending Broken Hearts Appeal to help find a cure for heart failure.