A top Scottish cardiologist has been appointed Chair of the British Society for Heart Failure (BSH), aiming to offer patients better life quality and longevity.
Professor Roy Gardner, a Consultant Cardiologist at NHS Golden Jubilee in Clydebank, believes more can be done to help save the lives of people suffering from heart failure.
Having specialised in the field for 14 years and built world class expertise in advanced heart failure, complex device implantation and biomarkers, heart failure treatment has come a long way since one of the most famous and celebrated Scots, Robert Burns, died of it 1796 at the age of just 37*.
As we celebrate Robert Burns Day today (25 January), almost 1 million people in the UK live with heart failure and, for them, early diagnosis and access to the range of treatments now available for heart failure is crucial.
For half the people with heart failure it is a terminal condition with death occurring between 2-5 years after diagnosis and Professor Gardner and the BSH are leading the campaign to raise awareness of early diagnosis to make people more informed and aware of symptoms and life-saving treatment that is available to prevent more deaths.
Professor Gardner, of the Scottish National Advanced Heart Failure Service (SNAHFS) based at the Golden Jubilee, said: “It is a real honour to lead the UK’s professional association for heart failure care for the next 2 years – particularly at a time when the condition is the most common reason for people over the age of 65 being admitted to hospital.
“It also conveys a worse prognosis than most types of cancer and should be recognised, detected and treated with the same urgency.
“Consequently, it is more important than ever to raise awareness of this important condition, as we now have a number of very effective therapies that can make patients feel better and live longer.
“Indeed, we have many patients who have enjoyed a good quality of life for many years having had access to the fantastic array of treatments we have available to us at the Golden Jubilee – from the latest medication, defibrillators and pacemakers, to heart transplantation.
“We are also conducting a number of clinical trials evaluating potential heart failure treatments of the future.”
The BSH is a leader in heart failure awareness, education, policy and research and Professor Gardner has been an elected member of the BSH Board since 2013.
In that time he has supported and led the Society’s aims of increasing knowledge about the diagnosis, causes and management of heart failure, as well as developing a skilled heart failure workforce to improve outcomes for patients.
Professor Gardner was also a leading author and taskforce co-ordinator of the 2021 European Society of Cardiology guidelines for the management of acute and chronic heart failure.
The guidelines will enable healthcare professionals to diagnose and treat heart failure better and include access to medications, devices, self-care information, cardiac transplantation and palliative care for patients.
The BSH ‘Freedom from Failure – The F Word campaign’ is raising awareness of heart failure to encourage checking for symptoms (fighting for breath, fatigue and fluid build-up) and seeking medical help early.
Professor Gardner added: “If we want to eliminate heart failure as a leading cause of death in the UK we need to educate everyone to recognise the symptoms and seek help urgently.
“There has been incredible progress in recent years in regards to treating heart failure and I believe through early diagnosis, specialist referral and the right treatment at the right time, we will help many more people live better and longer.”
NHS Golden Jubilee is home to the Regional Advanced Heart Failure Service for the West of Scotland, the Scottish National Advanced Heart Failure Service, and the Golden Jubilee Research Institute.
Since 2008, 164 heart transplants have been performed at the Jubilee for people with advanced heart failure.
Thousands of other patients have been supported in living with heart failure through investigations, medication, devices, psychology, and the benefits of access to a specialist heart failure team.
Many patients have enrolled in clinical trials to support the advancement of heart failure treatments and the goal of fighting heart failure.
Professor Gardner is also an expert advisor to organisations such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and to international heart failure societies.
He is also the author of the Oxford Textbook of Heart Failure and Oxford Specialist Handbook of Heart Failure.
About the British Society for Heart Failure (BSH): The British Society for Heart Failure was established in 1998. The BSH aims to increase knowledge and promote research about the diagnosis, causes, management and consequences of heart failure amongst healthcare professionals, with the intention of delaying or preventing the onset of heart failure and improving care for patients with heart failure.
To provide expert advice to healthcare professionals, patient or government organisations, including the National Health Service, when appropriate and as requested.
For more information on BSH, visit: https://www.bsh.org.uk/
To find out more about the F Word campaign, visit: https://www.bsh.org.uk/the-f-word/