Global Coalition on Aging Welcomes Attention to Heart Failure at 2019 European Society of Cardiology Congress; Calls for Greater Focus on the Connection Between Aging and Heart Failure

New York, NEW YORK (August 30, 2019) – Beginning Saturday, August 31st, the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) together with the World Congress of Cardiology (WCC) will highlight the impact of heart failure (HF) on older adults in select sessions during its 2019 Congress. The Congress’ attention on HF will include the launch of a Roadmap for Heart Failure created by the World Heart Federation, which provides a framework for policymakers, innovators, scientists, providers, patients, payers, and others to guide national initiatives to improve health outcomes and cost savings related to HF.

“Heart failure is a widespread and deadly disease, and for older adults, its symptoms are too often downplayed or dismissed altogether as normal effects of aging,” said Michael Hodin, PhD, CEO of the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA). “While heart failure does increase in prevalence with age, it must not be conflated with the normal process of aging or other comorbidities. Further, because heart failure is the number one driver of hospitalization globally, it is critically important that we eliminate age bias in the healthcare system in order to detect and diagnose heart failure as early as possible.”

HF is one of 14 key themes of the ESC Congress 2019 / World Congress of Cardiology, which include topics ranging from preventative cardiology to e-cardiology and digital health. Of the 84 HF sessions, two include presentations that focus on older patients. GCOA supports the effort to include HF’s impact on older adults in the broader conversation on global cardiovascular health but recognizes more attention is needed on the role ageism plays in patient detection, diagnosis, treatment, and care.

As a result of ageist assumptions, adults 50 and over are routinely under-recognized, under-diagnosed, and under-treated. The “ageism factor” assumes HF symptoms, such as fatigue and shortness of breath, are a normal part of aging rather than signs of disease. With the global population over 60 expected to reach 2 billion by mid-century, the number of people at risk for HF is on the rise.

HF affects 26+ million people with approximately 80% of patients over the age of 65. Even while mortality rates for other chronic conditions have continued to improve, the rates for HF have stagnated, and still the majority of patients die within five years of initial hospital admission. HF hospitalization, readmissions, and the related costs continue to grow. As the World Health Organization kicks off its Decade of Healthy Ageing (2020-2030) in May, this year’s ESC is a pivotal time for CVD experts to focus on the link between aging and HF to combat the projected 127% increase in direct and indirect HF costs expected by 2030.

To help illuminate the connection between HF and aging, GCOA is pleased to be partnering with like-minded organizations to create the Global Heart Failure Alliance. The Alliance is already increasing awareness of this connection, aimed at enabling patients, caregivers, and health care providers to take early action, quantify the costs associated with HF, and identify levers to alleviate those costs. The Alliance is focused on:

  • Growing and convening cross-sector, cross-discipline, and cross-geography experts who recognize and wish to elevate the connection between HF and aging;
  • Developing and distributing a Heart Failure Consensus Statement with calls to action;
  • Reexamining the Heart Failure Patient Hospitalization Journey to evaluate the full scope of those at risk and associated costs; and
  • Identifying Global Best Practices in Heart Failure.

“GCOA looks forward to continuing the efforts of the Global Heart Failure Alliance alongside leading cardiovascular experts and organizations, including ESC and WHF, to shine a light on the full scope of heart failure’s impact through the lens of aging and therefore the potential to improve patients’ quality of life and reduce health system costs,” said Hodin.

The launch session of WHF’s Roadmap for Heart Failure (Expert Advice – Optimising the organisation of heart failure care) will take place on Monday 2 September, 16:40-17:50 at the Paris Convention Centre.

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