Heart Failure- Scope of the problem

Heart failure is a significant public health issue, and will become a major problem with the increasing aging population. The prevalence of heart failure is often underestimated. Studies incorporating echocardi-ography indicate that there is a large pool of patients with asymptomatic LV dysfunction, which is an important precursor of heart failure. These often have not been factored into the existing statistics of heart failure, which still stand at 1-2 % of adult population. The prevalence of heart failure is even higher in elderly population. The prevalence of heart failure among that age of 65 is about 6-8%. It is also an irony that the highly successful treatment of acute myocardial infarction today has created a pool of survivors who are likely to develop heart failure in later years. 15% of AMI survivors will suffer from heart failure within 5 years. Coronary artery disease is the single most important cause of heart failure (over 50%). The effective medical treatment of heart failure with ACE inhibitors, betablockers and spironolactone can be view as prolonging the lives of large number of patients who will eventually still succumb to heart failure.

Heart Failure Awareness Week 14-20 Oct 2002

National Heart Centre (NHC), Singapore's designated national specialty centre in cardiovascular care, will officially launch its Heart Failure Awareness Week at the National Heart Centre today.
The Awareness Week, which strives to better inform Singaporeans of the causes, symptoms and treatment of heart failure through the media and two forums organised by NHC, will commence during the week of 14 - 20 October 2002.
A medical forum on heart failure for Family Practitioners will be held on the 19th of October at the Ritz Carlton-Millenia, while a public forum cum health screening will be held on the 20th of October at the National Heart Centre.
Associate Professor Koh Tian Hai, Acting Director of National Heart Centre said: "With an estimated 80,000 Singaporeans suffering from heart failure, the awareness week hopes to highlight this growing epidemic and helps Singaporeans to identify the symptoms so as to ensure appropriate and timely management of this disease."
Said heart failure specialist, consultant cardiologist at NHC, Dr Bernard Kwok: "The symptoms of heart failure are often misinterpreted as they include symptoms such as lethargy and shortness of breath. It is therefore important for people to identify these symptoms for early treatment."
NHC's Heart Failure Awareness Week also marks the launch of NHC's Heart Failure Programme (HFP). This programme, carried out by a team of health care specialists, provides tailored and comprehensive care through a structured outpatient programme to prolong survival, improve the quality of life and reduce the chances of rehospitalisation.
NHC also presented two patients who have survived heart failure with the help of state-of-the-art treatment. One of the patients, Mdm Toh, suffered a viral infection of the heart and would have lost her life, if not for the aid of a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD). She is now awaiting a heart transplant. The second patient, Mr Eng, underwent successful bi-ventricular pacemaker implantation and is now able to travel overseas, something he was unable to do previously.