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Heart failure increasing in the UK

Heart failure increasing in the UK

Publication date: Wednesday, 13 December 2017
Contributor(s): Jeremy Bray

Between 2002 and 2014, the number of new cases of heart failure in the UK increased by 12% – from 170,727 to 190,798 cases, according to the most comprehensive review of heart failure statistics in the UK. The number of new heart failure cases in 2014 was similar to the combined number of new cases of breast, prostate, lung and bowel cancer (189,136 cases in 2014).

The study is the largest investigation of heart failure incidence to link data from primary and secondary care to capture the full burden of heart disease, and distinguish between new and existing cases of heart failure. It reviews the medical records of more than 3.9 million patients between January 2002 and December 2014, including people newly diagnosed and people living with heart failure during that period.

New cases of heart failure are increasing as a result of population ageing and growth, with prevalence rates remaining stable. The number of existing chronic heart failure cases has increased substantially (by 23% – from 750127 to 920616 cases), which is likely to be a result of people living longer after heart failure.

Although the results illustrate the successes of prevention measures, such as public health measures to reduce common cardiovascular risk factors (such as smoking cessation or improved diet), and improvements in clinical care (including better management of heart attacks, hypertension or diabetes), they also demonstrate the vast impending burden for healthcare resources in the UK.

Professor Kazem Rahimi (The George Institute for Global Health, University of Oxford) said, “Our findings have important implications for healthcare resource planning and prevention strategies, as the number of people affected by heart failure grows and places an ever-greater burden on health services. To counter this, we need stronger public health action in disease prevention, improved resource planning, and efficient and effective care for newly-diagnosed patients and those surviving heart failure.”


The study highlights the importance of effective primary care strategies for prevention, diagnosis and management of this growing disease.

Conrad N et al. Temporal trends and patterns in heart failure incidence: a population-based study of 4 million individuals. Lancet 2017; http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/ S0140-6736(17)32520-5

Topics covered:
Category: Evidence in Practice
Edition: Volume 2, Number 12, BJPCN Online 2017
Contributor(s): Jeremy Bray

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