Heart failure survival rates show no improvement

30 January 2017        

Category: Research

A mouse heart shown under a microscope with a purple stain

Researchers have found that survival rates for people suffering from heart failure have not improved since 1998.

The research team at the University of Oxford looked at routinely collected medical records from 54,313 patients with heart failure and found 81.3 per cent survived for one year, 51.5 per cent survived for two years, and 29.5 per cent survived for 10 years, following diagnosis with the condition.

However, between 1998 and 2012, survival rates for people aged over 45 with heart failure showed no improvement, in contrast to cancer survival rates in the UK which have doubled in the last 40 years.

What is heart failure?

Heart failure is a disabling condition and severe heart failure can have a worse life expectancy than many cancers. It is most commonly caused following a heart attack when the heart muscle suffers irreparable damage and can no longer pump blood efficiently around the body.

In severe cases people with heart failure are left unable to perform regular day to day activities like walking upstairs or are left breathless, even when resting.

Half a million people affected

Our cardiac nurse, Chris Allen, said: “Heart failure is a cruel and debilitating illness affecting more than half a million people across the UK. The number of heart failure hospital visits has increased by more than a third in the last ten years as more people are diagnosed with the condition, with sufferers in severe cases often having poorer survival rates than many cancers.

 “Currently, heart failure is incurable and difficult to treat, which may explain why survival rates for the condition are not improving. This study helps to highlight the urgent need to better manage patients so they survive longer following their  diagnosis."

Research is the answer

Through our research, the BHF is committed to finding a cure for heart failure using regenerative medicine and helping to prevent the debilitating symptoms and loss of life that heart failure can cause.

Every pound donated offers the people affected new hope that a cure will be found.