Global treatments for heart failure

University of Glasgow researchers have been instrumental in proving the value, through landmark clinical trials of three of the four classes of drug used to reduce mortality, reduce hospitalisation rates and improve quality of life for patients with heart failure. 

Approximately 26 million people worldwide live with heart failure -- a complex syndrome in which the heart is unable to pump sufficient blood to meet the demands of the body. The incidence of heart failure increases with age; it is a progressive condition leading to a significant disability and reduced quality of life. More than 50% of patients die within 5 years of diagnosis.

The condition represents a substantial economic burden to health services, with nearly 17 million people living with a heart failure diagnosis in the UK, USA and Europe. Drugs can limit progression of the disease and patients are typically treated with multiple drugs that are prescribed for the rest of their lives.

In 2010/2011 the cost of heart failure management in the NHS exceeded £2 billion; approximately 70% of this expenditure was due to hospitalisation costs.

The Glasgow-led trials led directly to revision of clinical guidelines on heart failure management globally by providing the key evidence base for recommendations issued by the world’s most influential associations for the management of heart failure -- the European Society of Cardiology, the American College of Cardiology Foundation and the American Heart Association, which together number almost 150,000 specialists worldwide.

Glasgow researchers have also established heart failure as a healthcare priority in the UK, encouraging the introduction of specialist heart failure nurses that are saving the NHS an estimated £8 million per year. Collectively, these advances have transformed the treatment and survival rates of heart failure patients worldwide.

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