What is Heart Failure (HF)?

Heart failure or  HF means that your heart is failing to pump as efficiently as it should in order to supply the body with the oxygen and nutrients that it needs.

HFrEF (Heart Failure with Reduced Ejection Fraction) means that the bottom left chamber of the heart which sends the blood around the body is failing to pump effectively.

HFpEF (Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction) means that the heart is failing to fill efficiently therefore it fails to send enough blood to meet the body’s needs.

What are the Common Symptoms of Heart Failure (HF)?

Breathless upon activity or waking during the night breathless

Extreme fatigue
and lethargy

Swelling in feet, ankles,
legs or tummy

weight gain

What are the Common Causes of Heart Failure (HF)?

Coronary Heart Disease

heart disease

heart attack

Prolonged high
blood pressure

Irregular heart rhythms –
such as atrial fibrillation

Cardiomyopathies – conditions affecting the heart muscle


Congenital heart

Faulty heart valves

A virus or infection


Overactive thyroid

Reaction to some cancer drugs

Excess alcohol intake

Recreational drug use

Facts & Figures

Over 900,000 people are affected by Heart Failure (HF) in the UK1

Leading cause
of hospitalisation in people 65 years or older in the UK2

Costs the NHS
over £2 billion
per year3

One in five people will deal with heart failure sometime in their life4

Worse prognosis than most forms of common cancers5

Positive Steps

A simple blood test and rapid access to heart scans means getting to specialists quicker

Getting the appropriate medications and cardiac devices leads to a marked reduction in hospitalisation and death6

Having a heart failure specialist nurse ensures patients get appropriate treatment and care7

Having a patient to patient support network ensures patients are able to self-manage their condition better8


1. National Heart Failure Audit 2015/2016 NICOR and the British Society of Heart Failure, July 2017. Available at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/nicor/audits/heartfailure/reports
2. NICE Quality Standards Acute Heart Failure (QS103). Available at: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qs103
3. Cook.C. et al (2014) The Global Economic Burden of Heart Failure International Journal of Cardiology 171(3). Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24398230
4. Anh L. Bui et al (2011) Epidemiology & Risk Profile of Heart Failure Nature Reviews Cardiology 8 30-41
5. Mamas.A. (2017) Do Patients Have Worse Outcomes in Heart Failure Than Cancer, European Journal of Heart Failure 19 1095-1104
6. National Heart Failure Audit 2015/2016 NICOR and the British Society of Heart Failure, July 2017. Available at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/nicor/audits/heartfailure/reports
7. The Development and Impact of the BHF and Big Lottery Fund Heart Failure Specialist Nurse Services in England: Final Report, University of York, April 2008. Available at: https://www.bhf. org.uk/publications/about-bhf/g234-heart-failure-nurse-services-in-england—full-final-report-2008
8. NICE (2010) Chronic Heart Failure in Adults: Management (CG108). Available: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg108
British Society of Heart Failure website – www.bsh.org.uk


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