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Adult awareness of heart failure unchanged in a decade

Campaigns on the risks of heart failure have failed to raise public awareness among adults, according to researchers.
Heart failure_tile_iStock.jpg

Campaigns on the risks of heart failure have failed to raise public awareness among adults, according to researchers.

In Germany, analysts reviewed questionnaires completed in 2007, 2012 and 2015 about the causes, presentation, prognosis and treatment of heart failure. The study was the largest of its kind, with a total of 3,061 adults taking part.

Relationships between respondents' sociodemographic data and their knowledge of heart failure were explored and recorded, alongside their preferred sources of health information.

Older people preferred written information or advice from their GP, while younger people relied most often on the internet.

Despite a decade of campaigns, investigators found overall awareness of heart failure had not increased, while knowledge about how to treat the condition had actually

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Campaigns on the risks of heart failure have failed to raise public awareness among adults, according to researchers.


Only a quarter of respondents knew that the prognosis of heart failure is as serious 
as that of malignant cancers. Picture: iStock

In Germany, analysts reviewed questionnaires completed in 2007, 2012 and 2015 about the causes, presentation, prognosis and treatment of heart failure. The study was the largest of its kind, with a total of 3,061 adults taking part. 

Relationships between respondents' sociodemographic data and their knowledge of heart failure were explored and recorded, alongside their preferred sources of health information.

Older people preferred written information or advice from their GP, while younger people relied most often on the internet.

Despite a decade of campaigns, investigators found overall awareness of heart failure had not increased, while knowledge about how to treat the condition had actually fallen.

Poor knowledge 

In 2007, 68% percent of respondents knew that heart failure was a weakness of the heart. When asked if they were aware of the three major symptoms of heart failure, 79% knew about shortness of breath, 74% reduced exercise tolerance, and 52% leg edema, but only 40% knew all three symptoms.

Although 34% of respondents were directly or indirectly affected by heart failure, they demonstrated poor knowledge about severity and prognosis.

Only a quarter of respondents knew that the prognosis of heart failure is as serious as that of malignant cancers.

'Heart failure is an illness on the rise. Its early recognition and treatment are essential for a better prognosis. That is why we have to raise awareness about heart failure in the general public,' said study author Hans-Dirk Düngen.


Düngen H-D et al (2017), Heart failure awareness survey in Germany: general knowledge on heart failure remains poor, ESC Heart Failure. doi:http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ehf2.12144/abstract

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