New guidelines for growing number of Australians with heart failure

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New Heart Failure Guidelines to be released in Brisbane today by the Heart Foundation and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSANZ) will provide Australian health professionals with the latest evidence in the prevention, diagnosis and management of adults with heart failure.

The guidelines are written for practising clinicians across all disciplines and include a new focus on managing co-morbidities and other conditions in the treatment of heart failure patients, including those undergoing chemotherapy treatments. 

An estimated 480,000 people in Australia aged 18 years or over have heart failure, and heart failure contributed to one in eight deaths in 2016.  

Heart Foundation chief medical adviser, cardiologist Professor Garry Jennings, said the guidelines - updated for the first time in seven years - assist the prevention of heart failure by including new advice on targets for type 2 diabetes medications and improvements in the criteria to diagnose heart failure.

“The guidelines provide new advice on the better management of people living with heart failure through new evidence on medications, implantable cardioverter defibrillators, cardiotoxicity advice, and atrial fibrillation ablation techniques,” Professor Jennings said.

“There is also new advice on non-pharmacological care for heart failure patients, including telephone support, nurse-led care, exercise, and palliative care.

“The number of people being diagnosed and living longer with heart failure is increasing. So is the number of heart failure patients with one or more co-morbidities, such as atrial fibrillation, which lead to an increased risk of death and a reduced quality of life.”

Other comorbidities addressed in the guidelines include hypertension, ischaemic heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, obesity, airways disease, gout, arthritis, depression, and anaemia. 

“By improving outcomes for heart failure patients with co-morbidities, we aim to reduce hospital re-admissions. Avoiding these crises will help patient survival and quality of life.”

Heart failure is a complex clinical syndrome, with typical symptoms and signs that generally occur on exertion but can also occur at rest. The most common causes of heart failure include coronary heart disease, previous heart attack, high blood pressure and cardiomyopathy. 

Survival rates for heart failure are poor and can vary depending on the type of heart failure, with only 50% of patients diagnosed with chronic heart failure surviving five years later.

The National Heart Foundation and Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand: Australian clinical guidelines for the management of heart failure 2018 will be launched at the 66th Annual Scientific Meeting of CSANZ 2018 in Brisbane. 

The National Heart Foundation of Australia and Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand: Guidelines for the prevention, detection and management of heart failure in Australia 2018 are available here. 

About the guidelines

The Heart Foundation’s ethical rules forbid industry involvement in the development of clinical guidelines. To maintain the independence of the process, the heart failure guidelines are funded solely by the Heart Foundation and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand, with no financial contribution from industry.

An expert working group was appointed to develop the guidelines and comprised cardiologists, nurses, general practitioners, a clinical pharmacologist and general physician, an electrophysiologist, an exercise health and professional epidemiologist, and a consumer representative.

For more information or interviews, please contact:

Karen Kissane, Director, Media Relations and Corporate Communications, Heart Foundation

M: 0478 483 777 E: karen.kissane@heartfoundation.org.au

Fleur Jacobs, National Media Adviser, Heart Foundation
M: 0427 591 638 E: fleur.jacobs@heartfoundation.org.au