American Heart Association Declares "Failure Is NOT An Option" Urging Action In The Fight Against Heart Failure

NEW YORK, Feb. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- To combat the increasing epidemic of heart failure, the American Heart Association is launching the Failure Is NOT An Option awareness and education campaign.

Developed with the American College of Emergency Physicians and the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses and sponsored by Scios Inc., the program for patients, their families and friends, the general public and healthcare professionals encourages:

   *  Prevention and early recognition of heart failure symptoms
   *  Discussion between patients and healthcare professionals about their
      risk for heart failure
   *  Earlier and more aggressive disease management, including treatment
      for those with heart failure

Clyde W. Yancy, M.D., national spokesperson for Failure Is NOT An Option, said results of a recent Harris Interactive national survey show the need for heart failure to achieve a "fair share of voice" on the national health agenda.

  According to the survey commissioned by the American Heart Association:
   *  87 percent of adults incorrectly believe that chest pain -- the most
      recognizable symptom of heart attack -- is a key symptom of heart
   *  79 percent incorrectly defined heart failure as the same as a heart
   *  57 percent incorrectly believe heart failure means the heart has
   *  among adults who have experienced heart failure symptoms 60 percent
      have never even seen a cardiologist

"More than 52,000 people die from heart failure each year," said Yancy, professor of medicine and cardiology and director of the Congestive Heart Failure/Heart Transplant Program at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. "Often, the condition goes unnoticed for so long, patients find themselves gasping for breath in the emergency room before they are diagnosed. But that does not have to be the case because heart failure can be managed if detected and treated early."

Heart failure, which affects about 5 million Americans, is a relentless, chronic, progressive condition in which the heart can't pump enough blood to the body's other organs. It is not a heart attack and does not mean the heart has stopped working.

Award-winning actor Hector Elizondo, who has a family history of heart disease and heart failure risk factors, will lead the launch of Failure Is NOT An Option(SM) through radio and television public service announcements and media appearances.

"I know what I'm up against when it comes to heart failure, and I want to make sure everyone else has the same level of awareness to recognize symptoms, seek treatment early and ensure that failure does not become an option," Elizondo said.

Symptoms may include shortness of breath; swelling of the ankles, legs, feet, abdomen or lower back; weakness or tiredness; coughing when lying down; sudden increases or decreases in weight; sleep disturbances; difficulty concentrating or impaired thinking; and changes in eating habits.

The American Heart Association urges anyone with these symptoms, or who knows someone who has them, to seek treatment immediately with a healthcare professional.

The campaign offers healthcare professionals disease management tools and patient education materials. Patients and family members have access to a user-friendly Web site ( ) that includes relevant educational brochures.

"We want to give patients and families a better understanding of heart failure so they can recognize symptoms earlier and seek treatment sooner," Yancy said.

For more information about Failure Is NOT An Option, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit . The site also can be accessed through the Web sites of the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses and Scios Inc.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a national voluntary health organization whose mission is to reduce disability and death from cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Learn more about Failure Is NOT An Option(SM) at or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA-1. The American Heart Association has committed an advisory group to focus on heart failure. The group includes volunteers who are leading thought leaders from around the country. The group is to direct the American Heart Association and its division, the American Stroke Association, on issues related to heart failure, including continuing medical education for professionals and guidance, review and decision-making on programs or products geared towards professionals or patients.

About The American College of Emergency Physicians

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) exists to support quality emergency medical care and to promote the interests of emergency physicians. ACEP was founded in 1968. Today ACEP represents more than 22,000 members and is the emergency medicine specialty society recognized by organized medicine. ACEP has 53 chapters to represent members at the local level, plus 25 sections of membership to represent emergency physician special interests. Visit ACEP at .

About The American Association of Heart Failure Nurses (AAHFN)

AAHFN is a national nonprofit professional nursing association whose mission is to optimize successful outcomes for heart failure patients by uniting healthcare professionals, patients and families in support and advancement of heart failure practice, education and research. AAHFN is dedicated to promoting the highest of quality treatment for patients with heart failure. It provides support to nurses and other healthcare providers across the continuum of care to enhance the quality of patients' lives and term of survival. AAHFN offers educational opportunities and other benefits for nurses specializing in heart failure practice.

About Scios Inc.

Scios, a Johnson & Johnson company, ( ) is a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Fremont, Calif. Scios is developing novel treatments for cardiovascular and inflammatory disease. The company's disease-based technology platform integrates expertise in protein biology with computational and medicinal chemistry to identify novel targets and rationally design small molecule compounds for markets with unmet medical needs.

About the Harris Interactive(R) Poll

Harris Interactive Inc. ( ), is a Rochester, N.Y.-based global marketing research company that conducts The Harris Poll(R).

The survey was conducted for the American Heart Association by telephone between January 7 and 10, 2005 among a nationwide cross section of 1,080 U.S. adults aged 18 and older, of whom 559 have experienced at least one symptom of heart failure.

In theory, the overall sample has a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Sampling error for the adults who have experienced at least one symptom of heart failure is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Disclosure: Dr. Yancy is an advisory board member for a variety of heart failure-related companies, including Scios, Medtronic and GlaxoSmithKline. He serves on speakers' bureaus for Scios, Novartis, Medtronic and GlaxoSmithKline.

American Heart Association

CONTACT: Darlene Hawkes Yblood of American Heart Association,+1-817-706-3314, or ; or Emily Faucette of WeissCommPartners, +1-415-595-9407, or , for American HeartAssociation

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