News | Heart Failure | September 29, 2015

American Heart Association Launches National Initiative to Combat Heart Failure

New association report projects nearly 40 percent diagnosis increase, doubling of associated costs within 15 years

American Heart Association, AHA, heart failure, HF, Rise Above Heart Failure initiative, report

September 29, 2015 — A new report from the American Heart Association (AHA) projects that the number of Americans diagnosed with heart failure (HF) will increase nearly 40 percent within 15 years, and the associated costs will nearly double. With these numbers in mind, the AHA announced the launch of the national Rise Above Heart Failure initiative.  

The goals for the initiative are to reduce HF hospitalizations by 10 percent and increase awareness and understanding of the condition by 10 percent by 2020.

HF, also known as congestive heart failure, is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. It is one of the most common heart diseases in the United States, with more than 870,000 new cases reported annually and one in nine deaths including HF as a contributing cause. There are ways to manage and treat the condition, yet about half of those with HF die within five years of being diagnosed.

According to the association's 2015 Impact of Heart Failure Report, by 2030 the number of people diagnosed with HF is expected to increase from about 6 million to nearly 8 million. Total medical costs to treat the condition are projected to increase from $14.3 billion in 2015 to $29.2 billion in 2030. Additionally, indirect costs of HF — including work loss, household productivity losses and premature mortality losses — are projected to increase from $8.2 billion in 2015 to $12.3 billion in 2030.

"Heart failure is one of the most misunderstood health issues facing our country today, yet its impact is undeniable," said Nancy Brown, chief executive officer of the American Heart Association. "We've made significant progress in many areas of cardiovascular disease, and now more than ever, it's important to set this target on heart failure and activate together to help all Americans rise above this potentially deadly condition."

Through Rise Above Heart Failure, nationally supported by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., the AHA plans to:

  • Increase awareness of heart failure and its symptoms and treatments;
  • Promote a heart failure dialogue and inspire people living with heart failure and their loved ones to take a more active role in their care;
  • Encourage all people to make small changes that can lead to healthier lifestyles; and
  • Bring together an alliance of influential organizations to collectively support the goal of reducing the impact of heart failure.

"By having clear goals, we can implement strategies and programs that can help change the trajectory of heart failure," said Clyde W. Yancy, M.D., a past president of the American Heart Association and chief of cardiology and Magerstadt Professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. "None of us can do this alone, it will take a commitment of individuals and public and private organizations working together to rise above the staggering impact of heart failure."

Yancy moderated a forum of public health leaders meeting at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to present the findings of the AHA report and announce the formation of the Rise Above Heart Failure Alliance. The alliance will include key thought leaders in healthcare, patient advocacy, industry and government who will come together to further assess the current burden of HF. The alliance will also develop strategies to address the issue, such as policy changes, healthcare system improvements, and patient awareness and empowerment initiatives.

Panelists at the National Press Club event included:

  • Janet Wright, M.D., executive director, Million Hearts, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services;
  • Michele Blair, chief executive officer, Heart Failure Society of America; and
  • Ryan Olohan, national industry director, healthcare, Google

For more information:

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