Professor Roy Gardner, a consultant cardiologist at NHS Golden Jubilee in Clydebank, believes more can be done to help save the lives of people with heart failure.
For half the people with heart failure it is a terminal condition with death occurring between 2-5 years after diagnosis.
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 two 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.”
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.”