UK charity puts the spotlight on a simple blood test during European Heart Failure Awareness week 7-13th May 2018
One Simple Blood Test
The Pumping Marvellous Foundation, the UK’s only heart failure patient support charity is spotlighting a simple blood test for a quick diagnosis of heart failure. The “One Simple Blood Test” campaign demonstrates the importance of a faster diagnosis in heart failure. Although widely available it is underutilised in Primary Care. Heart failure is a serious cardiovascular condition, affecting approximately 900,000 people in the UK.
During heart failure awareness week the Pumping Marvellous Foundation spotlights the problem of heart failure not being detected quickly enough because a “Simple Blood Test” is not being used appropriately to coincide with European Heart Failure Awareness Week. The Pumping Marvellous Foundation aims to raise awareness of the impact of heart failure by demonstrating that the speed of the diagnosis is crucial to patient outcomes. Typical symptoms of heart failure include severe breathlessness, chronic fatigue and fluid build in the ankles, legs and abdomen as the heart cannot get rid of it in the body.
Evidence demonstrates the need for a fast diagnosis in heart failure. By using a combination of a “Simple Blood Test” which is called “Natriuretic Peptide Testing” and an echocardiogram, heart failure can be diagnosed quickly meaning patients are treated and cared for by heart failure specialists improving patient prognosis and quality of life. Delays in diagnosing heart failure in primary care can lead to unnecessary costly hospital admissions, a worse prognosis and quality of life for the patient.
Natriuretic peptides are commissioned in primary care by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). In a recent survey conducted by the Pumping Marvellous Foundation, 22% of areas had no access to natriuretic peptide testing, and even where the test was available it did not appear to be used properly.
Heart Failure is a common condition where the heart fails to pump as efficiently as it should, in order to supply the body with the oxygen and nutrients it needs. Heart failure affects approximately 900,000 people in the UK and is a leading cause of hospitalisations among people over 65 years of age.Five year survival is worse than breast and prostate cancerand 30-40% of those diagnosed with heart failure die in the first year. It can, however, affect people of any age.
Professor Martin Cowie, Professor of Cardiology at the Royal Brompton Hospital said: “We have known for many years that there is a simple blood test that can help rule out the life-threatening condition of heart failure. NICE approved its use across the NHS in 2010 so the postcode lottery must end now. It is vital that this simple test is used for anyone who may have this condition; the right diagnosis quickly unlocks early treatment – with huge benefits for the patient.”
“Patients with heart failure experience unpleasant symptoms such as feeling out of breath but, once a diagnosis is made, treatment can be very effective. As a GP, if I suspect a patient has heart failure, I can do a simple blood test to check the level of a protein which goes up when the heart is working too hard. If the test is high, I can refer my patient to have a scan and review by a heart failure specialist to make the diagnosis. The blood test is really key to diagnosing heart failure – then we can get on with treating the patient.” explains Dr Clare Taylor MBE, General Practitioner and NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer, University of Oxford.
Nick Hartshorne-Evans, Heart Failure Patient, Founder and CEO of the Pumping Marvellous Foundation explains “We know how important this simple blood test is in playing its role in diagnosing heart failure. It ensures the person follows the right path to treatment and care by specialists. All the evidence then points to a higher chance of a better prognosis and quality of life for this serious life threatening condition. Speed is the essence.”
Please download our “Simple Blood Test” campaign materials here. For public use from 12:00 6th May:
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD OUR ‘ONE SIMPLE BLOOD TEST’ VIDEO HERE
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