It’s time to put heart failure on the map to help Canadians better understand this incurable condition
Dorval, Quebec, January 12, 2016 – Novartis, the Heart and Stroke Foundation and Regis Philbin have an important message for Canadians: Heart failure is a condition that 1 in 5 of us will develop during our lifetime.1 An awareness campaign is being launched on the heels of a recent national survey that found that heart failure is not a top of mind health concern and more than half of Canadians believe one or more of three major misconceptions about the condition. They mistakenly believe heart failure is:
When the heart stops beating (51%)
A silent killer with no symptoms (52%)
Not preventable (54%)2
The survey results also showed that three in five Canadians (59%) mistakenly think that there is a cure for heart failure and one quarter (23%) think that heart failure is another term for heart attack.2 Regis Philbin, the long-time host of the talk show "Live with Regis and Kelly" and the quiz show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" is encouraging Canadians to know more about what heart failure is, how to recognize the symptoms and help those who live with it. Mr. Philbin knows the impact heart disease can have on an individual’s life. When facing a serious risk for a heart attack, he underwent triple bypass surgery in May 2007.
"Heart failure is often gravely misunderstood by many of my patients, so the survey findings are not surprising," says Dr. Heather Ross, Cardiologist, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre and Medical Director, Cardiac Transplant Program, University Health Network (UHN). "The condition leaves the heart too weak to pump an adequate amount of blood throughout the body. Reduced cardiac function is often a pre-cursor to heart failure, which can occur most commonly following a heart attack or other illnesses affecting the heart, or by damage sustained more gradually due to high blood pressure or coronary artery disease. The good news is treatment options to improve symptoms and limit hospitalizations are available today. The best prevention practice remains healthy eating and daily exercise," she says.
"The misconceptions that this survey highlights show us that Canadians are in need of clear information about this very serious condition that is on the rise in this country. There are more than 600,000 Canadians living with heart failure, and each year 50,000 new patients are diagnosed," said Dr. Gavin Arthur, Senior Manager for Promote Recovery at the Heart and Stroke Foundation. "Heart failure causes symptoms for patients that greatly impact their quality of life3 and is a leading cause of hospitalizations.4 While not curable, steps can be taken to help prevent heart failure and to treat it."5
The cost of managing moderate and severe heart failure patients in Canada amounts to $2.89 billion annually.6 Progression of symptoms can be slowed with appropriate medical therapy and lifestyle modifications, both of which can prolong and improve quality of life. There is a critical need for better ways to treat and support these patients.
About heart failure
Heart failure is a condition that develops after the heart becomes damaged or weakened by diseases of the heart including heart attacks and other medical conditions. Heart failure occurs when the pumping action of the heart is not strong enough to move blood around, especially during increased activity or under stress. In addition, the heart muscle may not relax properly to accommodate the flow of blood back from the lungs to the heart. These abnormalities in heart function can cause fluid to back up in the lungs and in other parts of the body such as the ankles. Congestion in the lungs and lack of oxygen may cause tiredness and shortness of breath. It is estimated about 600,000 Canadians are living with heart failure and it is on the rise as more people survive heart attacks and other acute heart conditions. As people with damaged hearts are living longer, they become more susceptible to heart failure. Heart failure is a serious condition and there is no cure. However, with lifestyle changes and treatment options, the condition can be managed well. Learning about heart failure is an important first step in managing the condition.7
With support from Novartis, the Heart and Stroke Foundation has recently developed a web-based information hub for people who have (or at risk for) heart failure, including videos and downloadable information on understanding and living with heart failure. www.heartandstroke.ca/heartfailure
About the survey
The findings on heart failure knowledge of Canadians come from a survey of the Canadian general population conducted in July 2015 on Vision Critical’s online panel, the Angus Reid Forum. Data were collected online from 1,201 English- and French-speaking Canadians age 18 and older via a quantitative survey using the Angus Reid Forum. Results have been weighted to the Canadian general population by age, gender and region using census data from Statistics Canada. The margin of error is ±2.8%, 19 times out of 20.2
About The Peter Munk Cardiac Centre The Peter Munk Cardiac Centre is the premier cardiac centre in Canada. Since it opened in 1997, the Centre has saved and improved the lives of cardiac and vascular patients from around the world. Each year, approximately 55,000 patients receive innovative and compassionate care from multidisciplinary teams in the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, and the Centre trains more cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons and vascular surgeons than any other hospital in Canada. The Centre is based at the Toronto General Hospital and the Toronto Western Hospital - members of University Health Network. www.petermunkcardiaccentre.ca
About Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc.
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., a leader in the healthcare field, is committed to the discovery, development and marketing of innovative products to improve the well-being of all Canadians. In 2014, the company invested $76 million in research and development in Canada. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. employs approximately 700 people in Canada. For further information, please consult www.novartis.ca.
Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, eye care and cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2014, the Group achieved net sales of USD 58.0 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.9 billion (USD 9.6 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges). Novartis Group companies employ approximately 120,000 full-time-equivalent associates. Novartis products are available in more than 180 countries around the world. For more information, please visit www.novartis.com.
Lloyd-Jones DM et al. Lifetime risk for developing congestive heart failure: the Framingham Heart Study. Circulation 2002;106:3068–72
Vision Critical, Heart Failure Research, August 21, 2015