It’s time to shine a spotlight on heart failure

The burden of heart failure (HF) is a heavy one. The disease affects approximately 64 million people worldwide1 and can be as life-threatening as some of the most common cancers in both men (prostate and bladder cancer) and women (breast cancer).2

What is heart failure?

HF is a disease in which the heart cannot pump enough blood around the body.3 It is a chronic and degenerative disease; approximately half of patients will die within five years of diagnosis.4 Despite the seriousness, common symptoms are not always easily recognised – they include shortness of breath, persistent coughing, persistant fatigue and weakness, ankle swelling, and impaired thinking.5

According to the Heart Failure Gap Review, a global survey we published jointly with the World Heart Federation (WHF) earlier this year, 55% of people could not identify the correct definition of heart failure from a list of possible descriptions of cardiovascular diseases.6 This is comparatively low awareness among the public for a disease that one in five individuals aged 40 will develop in their lifetime.7

These compelling statistics are the catalyst for our new partnership with WHF, the leading voice in cardiovascular (CV) health globally, to drive global action to prevent, control and reduce the global burden of CV disease and its associated risks and complications. Through ongoing initiatives, we will work together to increase awareness of the condition and advance evidence-based policy solutions designed to improve HF prevention, diagnosis and management.

It’s clear from the Heart Failure Gap Review that we must shine a spotlight on the reality of HF. With WHF, we will encourage and drive toward meaningful solutions that aim to elevate HF as a global health priority, enhance prevention and diagnosis capabilities, and improve HF patient management.

Helen Yeh Vice President, Biopharmaceuticals Medical, Cardiovascular Renal and Metabolism, AstraZeneca

It has been well established that a lack of knowledge and poor communication are key barriers to the management of HF and its symptoms.8 That goes for everyone: carers, family members and clinical providers, not just the patients themselves. It’s paramount to include all of them in any conversation for an effective and comprehensive HF management program.

Spotlight on heart failure


To unite patients, public and clinical providers around HF, we are launching Spotlight On Heart Failure with the support of WHF. This initiative will educate the public about the signs and symptoms of HF and encourage healthcare professionals to initiate discussions with at-risk patient groups.

Some of the driving aims of Spotlight On Heart Failure are to:

  • Reduce the number of new heart failure cases
  • Reduce the number of deaths caused by heart failure
  • Reduce the frequency of hospitalisation for people living with heart failure
  • Improve the lives of people suffering from heart failure and those who care for them

The website features personal accounts of those at risk of or living with HF, the caregivers who look after them and healthcare professionals. This provides a well-rounded insight into what can be done for patients today to slow disease progression and increase quality of life tomorrow.


The impact of heart failure on overall health, quality of life and long-term survival can be severe, despite the advances in treatment and prevention.[9] WHF has an ambitious objective of reducing the global burden of HF, and our partnership with AstraZeneca is helping us improve the health of people living with HF.

Jean-Luc Eiselé Chief Executive Officer, World Heart Federation

Taking action on heart failure

We at AstraZeneca and WHF will use Spotlight On Heart Failure to introduce positive changes in this disease area with the goal of minimising the burden worldwide. Additional partnership efforts include our support of WHF’s Use Heart to Fight COVID-19 initiative, launched earlier this year to address the vulnerability of people with HF and other CV, renal and metabolic (CVRM) conditions during the pandemic. Together, these efforts lay the groundwork for a brighter future – for improved medical care at the professional level, and for additional resources for patients and their families at the personal level. With a Spotlight On Heart Failure, we can help change the outlook for millions of people affected by HF.


1. Vos T et al. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 328 diseases and injuries for 195 countries, 1990–2016: A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. The Lancet 2017; 390(10100):1211–59.

2. Mamas MA et al. Do patients have worse outcomes in heart failure than in cancer? A primary care-based cohort study with 10-year follow-up in Scotland. Eur J Heart Fail 2017; 19(9):1095–104.

3. Mayo Clinic. Heart failure; 2020/05/29 [cited 2020 Jun 26]. Available from: URL:

4. Mozaffarian D et al. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics-2016 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association. Circulation 2016; 133(4):e38-360.

5. American Heart Association. Warning Signs of Heart Failure [cited 2020 07 Aug]. Available from: URL:

6. World Heart Federation. Accelerate Change Together: Heart Failure Gap Review; 2020 [cited 2020 Aug 6]. Available from: URL:

7. Savarese G, Lund LH. Global Public Health Burden of Heart Failure. Cardiac Failure Review 2017; 03(01):7.

8. Trivedi RB et al. Comparing the Barriers and Facilitators of Heart Failure Management as Perceived by Patients, Caregivers, and Clinical Providers. The Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing 2019; 34(5):399–409.

9. Mozaffarian D et al. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics-2016 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association. Circulation 2016; 133(4):e38-360.

Veeva ID: Z4-23025 | Date of Preparation: July 2020