Heart Failure Society of America Kicks Off 2004 National Heart Failure Awareness Campaign

Dallas, TX (January 2004) - Heart failure affects nearly five million Americans and causes or contributes to a quarter of a million deaths each year. However, many individuals present with symptoms that are mistaken for signs of aging or other conditions. The good news: for the millions of Americans affected by heart failure tremendous medical progress has been made, to prolong and improve quality of life, to significantly slow the progression of the disease, and to keep people out of the hospital, the Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA), a non-profit organization, is committed to raising awareness of heart failure. The 5th National Heart Failure Awareness Week, February 8-14, 2004 provides a perfect opportunity for the HFSA to educate both the medical community and patients with this condition.

The focus for the HFSA is twofold: (1) educate the primary care provider, and (2 ) to increase awareness among individuals affected by heart failure and those who are at risk.

  1. To educate the primary care provider, the HFSA will kick off the 2004 Heart Failure Awareness Week with a CME symposium in Dallas, TX, on Saturday, February 7th, 2004. This conference provides basic information on diagnosis and treatment of heart failure for primary care providers who manage care for 80% of heart failure patients. The conference will be audio and videotaped. The audio tape will be mass produced and distributed to primary care providers through the US. The videotape will be shown as a web cast on the HFSA web site. Both are available for CME credit.

  2. Throughout the country, local community events will be held during national Heart Failure Awareness week. Examples include health fairs, educational programs for patients, their families and individuals at risk, CME programs for health care professionals, BP screening, and distribution of educational materials about heart failure.

Additional HFSA educational activities for awareness include: (1) radio public service announcements to be distributed to radio stations and aired in February, targeting patients, their families and individuals at risk (2) An educational program on heart failure produced by the Discovery Channel which will air this spring, nationally and internationally.

"The prevalence of heart failure in the U.S. is expected to dramatically increase throughout the next few years," said Barry H. Greenberg, MD Chairman - HFSA Education Committee.

"Improved management of patients with heart failure is critical in light of the extreme economic burden on medicare, unacceptably high mortality and severe impact on the quality of life."

Heart failure is responsible for more hospitalizations than all forms of cancer combined and is the only major cardiovascular disease on the rise. The number of deaths in the U.S. from this disease has more than doubled since 1979. Each year, 400,000 to 700,000 new heart failure cases are diagnosed. Unfortunately, millions of Americans are living with heart failure but may be unaware of their condition.

"Early identification and prevention allow for optimal management of heart failure. It is essential for people to know the symptoms, and address concerns with their physician," said Barry Greenberg, MD. "At the same time, it is necessary for primary care physicians to know and recognize early symptoms of heart failure so treatment can begin in the early stages to prevent progression and allow patients to enjoy a more normal life style and life expectancy.

Additional information about heart failure and educational materials available can be found at the HFSA web site, www.hfsa.org.

Support for Heart Failure Awareness 2004 was provided by funds from the 2004-05 HFSA Heart Failure Awareness Roundtable: AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, The Guidant Foundation, Medtronic, Novartis, Pfizer, and Scios.

The Heart Failure Society of America, Inc. (HFSA), a non-profit professional organization, represents the first organized effort by heart failure experts from the Americas to provide a forum for all those interested in heart function, and heart failure research, patient care and health care delivery. The goals of the organization are to promote research related to heart failure and provide a forum for presentation of that research; educate both physicians and caregivers to enable them to diagnose and treat heart failure more effectively; encourage preventive measures to reduce the incidence of heart failure; enhance the quality of life for those with heart failure; and promote and facilitate the formal training of physicians, scientists and allied health care providers in the field of heart failure.

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