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Hospital team in global race to beat heart failure

Whether its running, cycling or swimming, UHNM’s heart failure team are counting every step to help raise awareness of heart failure, a life-threatening condition. Pictured: Sister Sarah McDermott – Senior Heart Failure Clinical Nurse Specialist, Susan Plant- Healthcare Support Worker, Dr Simon Duckett- Consultant Cardiologist, Dr Anik Appaji- Consultant Cardiologist and Sister Susan Anderson- Senior Heart Failure Clinical Nurse Specialist

UHNM’s heart failure team are running, cycling and swimming to help raise awareness of heart failure. Their activities form part of a global ‘race to beat heart failure’ initiative, led by charity Pumping Marvellous. The team will be helping to add miles to the campaign, as well as fundraising along the way.

Sarah McDermott, Senior Heart Failure Clinical Nurse Specialist at UHNM, said: “Heart failure is not widely understood or in the public consciousness in the same way that cancer is, even though it can be as serious as some cancers. This lack of knowledge and awareness can lead to delays in diagnosis, but it is actually more common than many people realise. One in four people will have to deal with heart failure at some point in their lives and prognosis can be worse than most forms of common cancer like breast or prostate.

“Sadly, at the moment between 30-40% of people die within 12 months of a diagnosis – but our message is that heart failure is treatable and that the earlier it’s identified, the more we can do. People can live better lives for longer if we take action.”

Heart failure occurs when the heart becomes weak or stiff, potentially leading to a reduction in ability to pump blood around the body.

The condition affects up to 1 million people in the UK and approximately 64 million people globally.

Since it started on 20 March 2021, 427 people from teams across the world have taken part in the race, completing 35,000 miles of activity. Participants can track their progress on a map, along with their team and the overall collective miles completed. Different events are planned throughout the year, with stages between locations and prizes for winning individuals and teams. The race will finish on 19 March 2022.

UHNM’s team are also working closely with the British Society for Heart Failure (BSH), who have now launched their 'Freedom From Failure - The F Word' campaign.

Sister Sarah McDermott – Senior Heart Failure Clinical Nurse Specialist

Sarah said: “This campaign is really important because it focuses on raising awareness amongst both the general public and healthcare professionals. It’s very important to be aware of the symptoms of heart failure, which can include fighting for breath, fatigue and fluid build-up. If someone has any of these symptoms, they should see their GP and ask for an ‘NTproBNP’ blood test.

“Treatments have improved over the last twenty years, with advances in medications, devices and surgical interventions and we know that with prompt diagnosis and specialist care, we can extend and improve the length and quality of life for patients with heart failure.”

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