The Heart Failure Society Of America (HFSA) Release: New Guidelines Released For Heart Failure Treatment

Published: Feb 16, 2006

MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) announced new guidelines today on living with and treating heart failure. The guidelines emphasize self-care and include information on new medical devices and the incidence and treatment of heart failure in specific demographic populations. They are available at http://www.hfsa.org.

"These guidelines are a great resource for primary care physicians," said Gary Francis, MD, HFSA President and Head, Clinical Cardiology Section, Cleveland Clinic. "They will help physicians recognize early HF signs and symptoms and provide information regarding new treatments. The new guidelines also focus on the treatment of HF in patients with coexisting non-cardiac medical conditions, for example, diabetes and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)."

Knowledge about heart failure is changing rapidly as new treatments and information about patient self-care become available. Guidelines provide "one stop shopping" for healthcare providers. They can be particularly important for the primary care physicians who treat and care for 80% of individuals diagnosed with heart failure.

The HFSA guidelines are being launched in conjunction with National Heart Failure Awareness Week, February 12-18, 2006. National Heart Failure Awareness Week draws attention to heart failure -- one of the few cardiovascular diseases on the rise. Houston, Texas, will host Awareness Week activities including HFSA's 5th Annual Update for the Primary Care Symposium -- a CME physician education program -- and other related events. As part of the Houston activities, Mayor Bill White has signed a proclamation recognizing National Heart Failure Awareness Week.

HFSA's new guidelines are seen as a "living document" and will be continually updated as new information about the treatment of heart failure becomes available.

"New guidelines on heart failure are absolutely critical," Dr. Francis said. "There is always new information, so there is a need to continually update physicians."

Special Populations and Devices Among Guideline Subjects

There are risk factors that predispose people to developing heart failure, and the latest research shows certain factors are prevalent among different ethnic groups. "Hypertension is prominent in the African-American community," said Francis. "Diabetes mellitus, also a cause of heart failure, is quite prevalent in the Hispanic community." The HFSA guidelines also address and recommend the use of a combination of isosorbide dinitrate and hydralazine, which has been demonstrated to be highly effective in the treatment of heart failure in African Americans.

Additionally, the guidelines discuss use of the newest medical devices in treatment of the condition. "Use of new devices has witnessed an explosive growth," said Francis. "We're using more defibrillators now. We're using more biventricular pacemakers. We are likely going to see these new devices used in the earlier stages of heart failure."

About Heart Failure

Heart failure is a progressive condition in which the heart muscle weakens after it is injured from a heart attack, high blood pressure and many other conditions. Virtually any form of heart disease can lead to heart failure. The disorder is characterized by structural and functional impairment of the heart. In many cases the heart's ability to pump is markedly diminished. Symptoms can be subtle and include shortness of breath and fatigue.

Heart failure is one of the few cardiovascular disorders on the rise. An estimated 400,000 to 700,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization in individuals 65 years and older.

About the Heart Failure Society of America

The Heart Failure Society of America was founded in 1994 and is the first organized effort of heart failure experts from the Americas to provide a forum for all those interested in heart failure research and patient care. The Society also serves as a resource for governmental agencies (FDA, NIH, NHLBI, CMS), private industry, and health care providers. Additional information on HFSA and Heart Failure Awareness Week can be found at http://www.hfsa.org and http://www.abouthf.org.

Heart Failure Society of America

CONTACT: Laura Mongiello, +1-617-226-7188,lmongiello@bellpottingerusa.com, or Marlin Collingwood, +1-617-226-7182,mcollingwood@bellpottingerusa.com, both of Bell Pottinger for the HeartFailure Society of America

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