Croí Webinar – Living Well with Heart Failure

Register now at www.croi.ie/webinar or call Croí on 091-544310

Are you, or a loved one, living with heart failure? Join Croí, the Heart & Stroke Charity, and leading experts, for a webinar to learn how to manage the condition. This free webinar takes place online using Zoom on Thursday, May 26th, from 7 – 8 pm.

Expert guest speakers on the night will include Dr John Barton, Heart Failure Consultant, Galway University Hospitals; Emer Burke, Advanced Nurse Practitioner (Heart Failure Integrated Care), Galway University Hospitals; and Ian Burnett, who is living with heart failure and will share his patient perspective. The special guest moderator on the night will be Aistė Štaraitė, a heart failure patient and Chair of the Global Heart Hub Heart Failure Patient Council, of which Croí is a founding Affiliate.

The interactive panel discussion will address your questions about living with heart failure.

Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood around the body as well as it should. It does not mean that the heart has stopped working, but it means that the body is not getting the oxygen and nutrients that it needs to function normally.

Heart Failure is a serious chronic condition, but it doesn’t have to stop you from living. There are lots of things that you can do to help manage your condition, including medical treatments, adjusting your lifestyle, and self-management”, says Dr Lisa Hynes, Croí’s Head of Health Programmes.

This event is in recognition of International Heart Failure Awareness Week (May 9th – 15th). Register now and submit your questions at www.croi.ie/webinar, or call Croí on 091-544310. Don’t miss this special event!

Niall Nugent is getting back to living after heart failure diagnosis

Let’s focus on living because even with heart failure you can still be you. Don’t let heart failure stop you. #HeartFailureAwareness

In September 2020, Niall Nugent’s life changed dramatically. Without any warning signs, he suffered a “widow-maker” heart attack, which had huge consequences for him and his family. Due to the damage to the heart muscle following the heart attack, Niall was later diagnosed with heart failure.

Niall, aged 49, is determined to manage his condition and get back to living a normal life. Speaking of his diagnosis, Niall said, “After my diagnosis, I told myself I would do whatever it takes not to be in this position again”. He has transformed his lifestyle with significant changes to his diet and exercise routine. “I have got back on the bike… I wouldn’t have cycled for over 30 years and now I am cycling on a regular basis. I am also going to learn how to swim. I am doing more exercise now than I ever did before.

Heart failure is a serious chronic condition but there are lots of things that you can do to help manage your condition, including adjusting your lifestyle, medical treatments and self-management.

Niall has experienced the benefits of Croí since he joined the Croí MySláinte Cardiac Rehabilitation Programme in 2020. The programme gave him the information, support and advice needed to return to everyday life after his cardiac event.

From the very start, Croí has been a life-saver for me. They have helped me to learn how to live with this condition and everything I learned from them was a huge benefit. The resources and information they gave me will support me for the rest of my life.

Two years on, Niall tells us, “My life since my heart attack has improved somewhat. My steps and distance are improving all the time, and I’m able to do more in my job. Physically I’m ok most days but it can be difficult mentally sometimes. It’s very challenging trying to come to terms with the actual heart event (I’ll never forget it) and then everything after it. It’s a ripple effect. Everything I knew before has changed and is completely different now.

My heart event turned my life upside-down but I have had to adapt. With my cardiology team and Croí, I am living my life as best I can.

Heart Failure Awareness Week 2022 runs from May 9th – 15th.

Marie Dunican Is Managing To Live Well With Heart Failure

Let’s focus on living, because even with heart failure, you can still be you. Don’t let heart failure stop you. #HeartFailureAwareness

Like us all, Marie Dunican has had memorable birthdays. However, her most recent one proved to be more memorable than most, but for all the wrong reasons as she was diagnosed with heart failure. Despite this setback, Marie is determined to get her life back, get back to work and start living a normal life once again.

“I was diagnosed for my 54th birthday! I was often tired however I put that down to my job, but on the day it happened, I knew I wasn’t right. I wasn’t feeling great at 10pm that night and I said, ‘I need to go to hospital.’ I knew myself I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t climb the stairs, I got really sick and my lungs were full of fluid.”

Once admitted to hospital, Marie was diagnosed and treated for heart failure. With this diagnosis, Marie was able to start adjusting her lifestyle to better manage her condition. She monitors her symptoms on a daily basis to ensure that her condition is kept in check. “I weigh myself every day and I know by my weight if it goes up in a short space of time that the fluid is building up in my lungs and I need to contact the doctor immediately.”

A hiker by nature, Marie tries to get out and exercise regularly, particularly since her diagnosis. “I would be good for climbing hills. I would be fit and I get on the bike as often as I can.” Once she was discharged from hospital, Marie contacted Croí for some support and advice on how she should manage and live with her condition.

“I was really stressed the day I rang Croí. I rang for advice and to see how I can manage this. When I spoke to the nurse in Croí, she reassured me that help is available and gave me the support and information I needed.”

Heart failure can affect different people in different ways. It is estimated that 1 in 5 people are at risk of heart failure and it is the most frequent cause of hospitalisation in people over the age of 65.

Heart Failure Awareness week runs from Oct 4th – 10th. For more information, click here.

Global Alliance on Heart Failure & Healthy Aging Launches Best Practices Report on Heart Failure Detection, Diagnosis, Treatment and Care

The report highlights the importance of better detection and earlier diagnosis, a life-course and multidisciplinary management approach to heart failure (HF), and care-delivery models that are suited to older adults.

Today, the Global Alliance on Heart Failure and Healthy Aging, convened by the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA), is launching the report “Tackling Heart Failure As We Age: Best Practices in Heart Failure Detection, Diagnosis, Treatment and Care.” The paper demonstrates that heart failure is not a normal part of the aging process but in fact can be more effectively detected and diagnosed to ensure better treatment and management of HF. By offering a clear set of success factors to improve prevention and care for heart failure and highlighting case studies from the United States and Europe, the report aims to reduce the ageism associated with HF and therefore improve the lives of those with and at risk of HF.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, progress in heart failure care was stalled. Survival after a diagnosis of heart failure has only modestly improved in the 21st century and lags behind other serious conditions” said Michael W. Hodin, PhD, CEO of GCOA. “It’s time to rethink the way our health systems detect, diagnose, treat and care for people with heart failure. A place to start with this re-thinking is how ageism adversely shapes how we approach older people with symptoms that results in delayed or non-diagnosis too often until it’s too late.”

More people die annually from cardiovascular disease than from any other cause. As populations age, urbanization spreads, and the control of infectious and childhood diseases improves, cardiovascular disease (CVD) prominence rises alongside things like high-fat diets, smoking, and sedentary lifestyles. The increase in CVD deaths during the current COVID-19 pandemic, because of the increased risk of contracting COVID-19 or because of the lack of or hesitation to seeking medical care, points to questions about optimal treatment and care.

The report underlines the inadequacies of today’s health systems to deal with heart failure as the population of older adults keeps growing. It identifies four best practice areas to help improve HF diagnosis and care, and therefore the lives of patients living with HF and overall health system costs.

  • Early heart failure detection and diagnosis efforts must be enhanced.
  • Patient must be empowered through a life-course approach to prevention, detection, and management of heart failure.
  • Multidisciplinary care teams led by clinicians with specialized training in cardiology can meet the varied and changing needs of people with heart failure and their families and can help to ensure seamless transitions and closely coordinated treatment efforts.
  • Health systems should embrace innovative care-delivery models suited to older patients.

As heart failure affects at least 26 million people around the world, it is notably one of the few cardiovascular conditions that is increasing in prevalence—the total cost of heart failure is predicted to increase 127% by 2030. Lending urgency to the challenge, the World Heart Federation’s heart failure roadmap estimates that there are 11.7 million cases of undiagnosed heart failure globally.

“Mortality linked to heart failure remains high, with 45-60% of people dying within the five years following a first admission to the hospital. This results in increased costs for healthcare systems, and most importantly in lower quality of life for patients and huge emotional burden for families” highlights Jean-Luc Eiselé, CEO, World Heart Federation and member of the Alliance’s Governing Board.

As the global population over 60 is predicted to double by mid-century, reaching 2 billion, it is more urgent than ever for health systems to rethink their response to heart failure.

To learn more about these key areas for action, you can access the report by clicking here.

To learn more about GCOA’s work to highlight innovative approaches to heart failure diagnosis and care as we age, check GCOA’s cross-sectoral session on heart failure, data, digital solutions and patient empowerment that took place during the World Summit of Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2020. The session was part of the first-ever “information and communication technologies and older persons” track at WSIS.

COVID-19: Advice for individuals living with Heart Failure

This advice is based on information from the Heart Failure Patient Council of the Global Heart Hub. Croí is a member of the Global Heart Hub.

Covid-19 presents the world with an unprecedented public health challenge. Its rapid spread has caused significant alarm and disruption across the globe. Understandably, those living with heart disease and heart failure are anxious and concerned.

It is well established that many virus infections can affect the heart, and experts suspect that coronavirus is no different. Viruses are known to induce inflammation of the myocardium (heart muscle). While in a healthy patient this may not lead to an adverse outcome, the situation for those living with heart disease and heart failure is different. Evidence suggests that if these individuals become infected with coronavirus they are at greater risk of adverse cardiac events and the outcomes may be poor.

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus. With the number of cases around the world increasing on a daily basis, hospitals are experiencing an unprecedented increase inpatient admissions. Consequently, hospitals are cancelling clinics and l non-urgent activity.  Only urgent and emergency cases are being treated to reduce the strain on staffing and beds, and prevent vulnerable patients being exposed to the COVID-19 virus unnecessarily.

It is important to remember that hospitals will continue to treat heart patients, but the current pressures may result in delays, cancellations of appointments and disruption of services. The decisions on who will be treated will be based on clinical need, with those in most need of treatment being prioritised.

For further information on COVID-19 virus and symptoms see Croí’s advice here.

 

Staying well

For those living with Heart Failure:

  • Take all your medicines as advised by your doctor or nurse.
  • Do your best to follow all your medical advice on how to keep your condition well controlled.
  • Continue to self-monitor your condition and record your weight on a daily basis (first thing after you get out of bed in the morning).
  • Stay in regular contact with family, friends or neighbours as you may need to ask for help if you become sick.
  • Maintain a healthy diet – unless you have been advised to adhere to a specially prescribed diet, you should continue to try and eat a wide variety of foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and other essential nutrients.

For Family and Caregivers:

  • Know what medications are prescribed and make sure supplies are secure.
  • Watch for new symptoms.
  • Prepare a plan to make sure food and other supplies are available when needed.
  • Consider options and have a plan for what would happen if you become ill.

 

What should I do if I experience gradual or persistent worsening symptoms of Heart Failure, such as my weight increasing or my legs swelling?

Self-monitoring of your condition on a daily basis is very important. It is equally important that you take your daily medicines as prescribed by your doctor.

If you experience any of the following worsening of symptoms, you should contact your GP, if available your Heart Failure Nurse or your local Heart Failure Clinic for advice and review of your medication. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 many hospital staff have been redeployed. If you are unable to contact you heart failure nurse or team please contact your GP or local emergency department if you are concerned.

Worsening symptoms to look out for:

  • Weight increase greater than 3lb overnight or 5 lb (2kg) in a week .
  • Increased swelling in the legs or abdomen.
  • Increased shortness of breath on exertion, lying down or in bed at night.

If you have very sudden or very severe symptoms call for an ambulance so that you can be taken to hospital for treatment as soon as possible.

 

STAY CALM!

It is perfectly understandable that people may be feeling anxious or concerned about what might happen to them or their loved ones over the coming months. However, we must remind ourselves that this crisis will end. Only seek information from reliable sources – there is a huge amount of ‘fake news’ and false rumours which do nothing more than cause unnecessary anxiety and distress.

Already many heart patients are slow to respond to changes in their health or they are dismissing new symptoms because they do not wish to burden their doctor or local hospital. Despite the Covid-19 crisis, doctors and emergency rooms are still there to help heart patients so do not ignore worrying symptoms or delay in contacting them if you are unwell. Keep up to date with your local health information notices on how best to contact your GP or Heart Failure Nurse.  The Heart Failure Patient Council of the Global Heart Hub are being advised by medical and public health experts and we will keep you updated on any changes in information that could affect those living with Heart Failure.

 

See Croí’s health page for more information on heart failure.

The Croí Health Team is here as always if you need support. Contact us by email at healthteam@croi.ie or call 091-544310.

Global Coalition on Aging Launches Cross-Sector Global Alliance

Croí is a partner of GCOA

Global Coalition On Aging Launches Cross-Sector Global Alliance To Promote Greater Attention To And Action On Heart Failure As A Path To Healthier Aging And Health System Cost Savings

Global Alliance on Heart Failure and Healthy Aging brings together experts across the cardiovascular, aging, economics, policy, and communications fields to slow the impact of heart failure as we age through earlier diagnosis and treatment, better care, and awareness

New York – 14 November 2019 – Today, the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) is launching the Global Alliance on Heart Failure and Healthy Aging (the Alliance), recognizing that while heart failure does increase in prevalence with age, it is not a normal part of aging. More than 30 organizations, including advocacy groups, global businesses, and care providers, have united to better quantify the full scope and scale of heart failure risk as the global population over 60 will reach 2 billion by mid-century.

The creation of the Alliance follows 18 months of roundtables, research, and analysis from global leaders across sectors and areas of expertise. This work has led to the realization that heart failure is too often misunderstood by patients, caregivers, policy makers, payers, the general public, and healthcare professionals themselves, leading to a collaborative commitment to promote better practice and awareness of heart failure diagnosis, treatment, and care.

“The increasing global prevalence of heart failure, linked in large part to demographic aging, underscores the urgency of raising its visibility as a global health priority and of addressing it in new and innovative ways,” said Michael W. Hodin, CEO of GCOA. “Early, common and prevailing symptoms of heart failure, like fatigue or shortness of breath, for example, are too often dismissed as simply a normal part of getting older. This complacency unfortunately perpetuates a culture of ageism in many forms—self-inflicted, ingrained in the healthcare system, among patients and family members, and across society.”

The Alliance was created to shine a light on this connection between heart failure and aging and to spur collaborative action across sectors and areas of expertise. To that end, the Alliance Partners are putting forth a Consensus Statement calling on policy makers, healthcare professionals, patient advocates, NGOs, and others interested in addressing the needs of the growing global aging population to take action to educate, raise awareness, and boost research on heart failure and healthier and more active aging.

We know that 26 million people worldwide are affected by heart failure—more than the population of Australia. Over 80% of people living with heart failure in Europe and in the United States are over 65, and heart failure is the most common cause of hospitalization in older adults as well as the leading cause of unplanned hospital readmissions. In the United States, the economic consequence is expected to be a 127% increase in costs to health systems between 2014 and 2030.

The Alliance has already been focused on a number of initiatives at the intersection of aging and heart failure, conducting research and writing reports on clinical best practices across the global heart failure landscape and on the impact on hospitals and health systems when diagnosis is missed or delayed until an acute care situation.

“The economic implications of heart failure for hospital systems, public and private payers, and therefore society at large are huge, especially when you consider the cases that are misdiagnosed or diagnosed too late,” said Nick Eberstadt, Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute, a research partner of the Alliance. “Many diseases and conditions that are often associated with aging could be avoided with earlier detection that comes from a better understanding of symptoms.  But in the case of heart failure, we still need clarity of what is at stake given this connection to aging.”

The Alliance structure consists of (1) the Partners representing the global, cross-sector, and cross-discipline nature of the initiative; (2) the Secretariat housed within GCOA to execute upon Alliance strategies; and (3) the Governing Committee, which will work closely with the Secretariat to guide the Alliance agenda, serve as strategic advisors, lend expertise, and enhance the credibility and positioning of heart failure as we age with policy makers, healthcare professionals, caregivers, patients and families.

Inaugural Governing Committee members include: Holly S. Andersen, MD, FACC, Attending Cardiologist, Associate Professor of Medicine, Director of Education & Outreach, The Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute, The New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical Center; Michele Bolles, National Vice President of Quality and Health IT, American Heart Association; Salvatore di Somma, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Director of Emergency Medicine, Chairman of Postgraduate School of Emergency Medicine, Department of Medical-Surgery Sciences and Translational Medicine, University La Sapienza Rome, Sant’Andrea Hospital; President, GREAT Network Italy; Jean-Luc Eiselé, CEO, World Heart Federation; Daniel E. Forman, MD, FAHA, FACC, Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh; Chair, Section of Geriatric Cardiology, Divisions of Geriatrics and Cardiology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; Director of Emerging Therapeutics, Aging Institute, University of Pittsburgh; Director, Cardiac Rehabilitation and GeroFit, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System; Physician Scientist, Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System; Neil Johnson, Non-Executive Director/Founding Member, Global Heart Hub; Chief Executive, Croí—West of Ireland Cardiac & Stroke Foundation; Sue Koob, CEO, Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association; and Marc Wortmann, former Executive Director, Alzheimer’s Disease International.

“Eighty-six percent of our members care for patients with heart failure,” said Koob, an Alliance Governing Committee member. “They play a key role in the overall prevention and management of cardiovascular disease and are critical in establishing strong relationships between patients and hospitals. PCNA is proud to drive greater awareness of and global action on heart failure as part of the Global Alliance on Heart Failure and Healthy Aging.”

In addition to the 2019 Alliance projects, the Alliance has a robust research, communications, and advocacy agenda for 2020, including engagement in the World Health Organization’s Decade of Healthy Ageing, to be launched at the World Health Assembly in May 2020, which will mark a major milestone in elevating heart failure on the global policy agenda.

“Heart failure is currently not prioritized because it is not well understood by those most affected, including patients themselves,” said Hodin. “But, one-in-five of us can expect to live with heart failure at some point in our lives. Through the Global Alliance on Heart Failure and Healthy Aging, we are calling on all stakeholders to make healthy aging a reality for those living with or at risk of heart failure.”

ABOUT THE GLOBAL ALLIANCE ON HEART FAILURE & HEALTHY AGING

The Global Alliance on Heart Failure & Healthy Aging is the result of a series of successive roundtables convened by the Global Coalition on Aging in New York, Brussels, and Chicago throughout 2018. The meetings collectively brought together more than 70 experts from across sectors, disciplines and geographies who identified the connection between heart failure and aging as a new opportunity to improve patients’ quality of life, better meet patient and caregiver needs, and better manage health systems costs related to heart failure by diagnosing patients as early as possible and ensuring their access to the best available treatments. The Alliance is made possible through funding and support from GCOA members Novartis and Amgen.

 

About the Global Coalition on Aging

The Global Coalition on Aging aims to reshape how global leaders approach and prepare for the 21st century’s profound shift in population aging. GCOA uniquely brings together global corporations across industry sectors with common strategic interests in aging populations, a comprehensive and systemic understanding of aging, and an optimistic view of its impact. Through research, public policy analysis, advocacy, and strategic communications, GCOA is advancing innovative solutions and working to ensure global aging is a path to health, productivity and economic growth. For more information, visit www.globalcoalitiononaging.com.

Awareness of heart failure remains low

Pictured l-r: Dr Fiona Ryan, director of clinical trials at The Heartbeat Trust; Frank O’Neill, patient at The Heartbeat Trust; Tom Dunne, national broadcaster and heart disease patient; Olive Cummins, general manager of the Heartbeat Trust and Dr Ambrose McLoughlin, chair of the Heartbeat Trust. Photograph: Bryan Brophy

Almost 200 people are diagnosed with heart failure every week in Ireland – that is 10,000 people per year – yet awareness of the condition remains low, the national heart failure charity, the Heartbeat Trust, has warned.

With heart failure, the heart does not work as efficiently as it should. As a result, the blood cannot deliver enough oxygen and nourishment to the body to allow it to work normally. Heart failure often develops because of another medical condition, such as a heart attack or high blood pressure.

Previous research carried out by the Heartbeat Trust found that over 7% of all hospital bed stays could be attributed to heart failure and the total annual cost of the condition is around €660 million.

The charity has partnered with the Galway heart charity, Croí, to raise awareness of heart failure. Both organisations are members of the Global Heart Hub, which recently launched the Red Flag campaign in Ireland. This aims to educate people on the five key symptoms of heart failure, which are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Swollen ankles or legs
  • Sudden weight gain (2kg over two days)
  • Poor appetite
  • Tiredness.

“Treatment aimed at managing heart failure is improving, however awareness remains a problem. This is why opportunities to raise public awareness about the main symptoms are so vital.

“The Red Flag campaign is designed to inform people that if they have some, or all of these symptoms, they should go to their GP. Ultimately, we know that the earlier we detect the onset of heart failure, the better the patient outcome,” explained the Heartbeat Trust’s medical director, Prof Ken McDonald.

The Red Flag campaign is supported by broadcaster and musician, Tom Dunne, who underwent serious heart surgery in November 2018.

“Having undergone such serious heart surgery so recently, and being told I had a 70% chance of dying in the next two years if I didn’t have the surgery immediately, I know only too well how important heart failure awareness is.

“I originally had a heart murmur diagnosed 10 years prior to my surgery and I also found out that I had a genetic heart condition. I had no existing heart failure symptoms from what I can recall, but knowing that there are five key red flag symptoms that people should recognise is really crucial for heart failure prevention,” Mr Dunne said.

Frank O’Neill attends the STOP HF Unit at St. Michael’s Hospital in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin. This is a screening service aimed at the prevention and early detection of heart failure.

“I was referred to the clinic in 2007 after seeing my GP who was treating me for diabetes. In 2011, as part of an annual check-up, I found out that I had experienced a silent myocardial infarction (heart attack).

“Over the years, a lot of trust has been built up between myself and the team. I feel like the screening service is my guardian angel and am very grateful that they are there. I think that heart failure prevention screening should be available everywhere,” Mr O’Neill said.

The Red Flag campaign was launched to coincide with European Heart Failure Awareness Month (May).

Article written by Deborah Condon and published 29/5/2019 in Irish Health Pro http://bit.ly/2I8xJDn

Michael’s Heart Failure Story

Michael Delapp is 69 years old. He lives in Clifden with his wife, Jane. He has two adult sons.

He is also living with heart failure.

Michael suffered a heart attack in 2005, causing permanent damage to the heart muscle. As a result, Michael had a stent fitted to help blood to flow freely, and subsequently was fitted with an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD). An ICD is small electrical device that monitors the rhythm of your heartbeat. When it detects an abnormal rhythm (arrhythmia) it works to restore the normal heartbeat.

Michael was diagnosed with heart failure very soon after the heart attack because of the damage this caused to his heart. He experienced the common symptoms of heart failure, including fatigue, shortness of breath when at rest and fluid retention.

He said his heart failure had a significant psychological impact on him. “I had been a powerful guy…after the heart attack, it was like I’d aged 50 years…It also had a huge impact on my family. I was no longer the invincible Dad. I really hit rock-bottom. Unfortunately when I left hospital I felt quite alone, I didn’t know where to turn.

I feel it’s very important for people to get as much information as possible on the condition, and on the support that’s available. Once I was put in touch with a heart failure Nurse Specialist, Mary O’Sullivan, I felt much better. She told me to forget the life I had, and to focus on the one I have now. That had a major impact on me – I realised I wouldn’t be able to recover if I didn’t accept where I was at.”

Michael went on to be referred by his doctor to Croí’s CLANN Programme, a specialised 10-week, healthy lifestyle initiative which aims to help individuals achieve a healthy weight and shape through physical activity and healthy eating.

Michael said the programme had a huge impact on his life. He was able to cut down his weight and he says it helped him build his confidence back up, as he had been afraid to exercise after his heart attack. He went on to say “I didn’t realise I could do as much as I could. Everyone was closely monitored, and your programme was individually tailored to you. Partaking in the programme helped me with my confidence, and with managing my diet and lifestyle. It also gave me much more independence.

In addition, it had a profound impact on my outlook. I now have a very positive mindset, and I’m much happier in myself. I don’t know where I’d be if I hadn’t gotten some support.”

When asked if he had any advice for those experiencing symptoms, or those who have been recently diagnosed with heart failure, Michael said “Get as much information as you can… find out what’s available to you when you get diagnosed, it can make all the difference to how you feel going forward.”

Michael was interviewed by Croí on his experiences of Heart Failure as part of the Global Heart Hub ‘Red Flag Campaign’. This project aims to highlight the signs and symptoms of heart failure – and encourage those experiencing these symptoms to go to their GP and ask “Could it be heart failure?”

Croí is joining The Global Heart Hub and other organisations across 15 counties in this campaign to help raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of heart failure. The campaign can be followed online at #raisetheflag and www.globalhearthub.org.

Michael is raising the flag on heart failure this May.

Raise the Flag

“Get as much information as you can… find out what’s available to you when you get diagnosed, it can make all the difference to how you feel going forward.”

Marc’s Heart Failure Story

Marc is 44 years old. He lives in Roscommon, near Carrick on Shannon, with his wife Geraldine and their two children who are 10 and 5 years old. He now works as a Surveyor, but used to work for Irish Rail as a breakdown mechanic.

He is also living with heart failure.

Marc suffered a suspected stroke in 2009, and was then diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy in 2011 – aged just 36. He subsequently developed heart failure.

Marc’s first symptom of heart failure was a feeling of fatigue. “At the time I was working in a very physical job, and had to travel a lot for work – sometimes working 60 hours a week. This meant I was away from home a lot, staying in hotels and eating on the go. I don’t think it was a very healthy lifestyle, and thought that was why I was feeling so tired.”

Marc was fitted with an ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) to treat the underlying problem that led to heart failure. The ICD monitors Marc’s heart rhythm and paces the heart or shocks it back into a normal rhythm. “My life has changed a lot since my diagnosis. I have had to change jobs, and it’s been difficult with a young family. But I’m feeling much better now with the ICD, it has improved my symptoms.” 

When asked in he had any advice for those experiencing symptoms of heart failure, he said “Go to the doctor. I didn’t until I was in a bad way, I thought I had just been working too hard and was feeling tired. If you’re worried – speak to your doctor.”

Marc was interviewed by Croí on his experiences of Heart Failure as part of the Global Heart Hub ‘Red Flag Campaign’. This project aims to highlight the signs and symptoms of heart failure – and encourage those experiencing these symptoms to go to their GP and ask “Could it be heart failure?”

Croí is joining The Global Heart Hub and other organisations across 15 counties in this campaign to help raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of heart failure. The campaign can be followed online at #raisetheflag and www.globalhearthub.org.

Marc is raising the flag on heart failure this May

Raise the Flag

“Go to the doctor. I didn’t until I was in a bad way, I thought I had just been working too hard and was feeling tired. If you’re worried – speak to your doctor.”

Kay’s Heart Failure Story

Kay Flynn is 67 years old. She lives in Sligo with her husband, Michael, where she worked as a registrar for the HSÉ. She has two grown up children and one grandchild.

She is also living with heart failure.

Kay had a heart incident in November 2012, while on her lunch break from work. She went into cardiac arrest on her way into the hairdressers and was in an induced coma for three days. Following on from this incident, Kay was diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle that makes it harder for your heart to pump blood to the rest of your body. Because of the damaged caused by the cardiac arrest, Kay then went on to develop heart failure.

As part of her treatment for Cardiomyopathy, Kay was fitted with an ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator). Both of Kay’s children also have this condition, with her son experiencing a very similar cardiac arrest aged 42, for which he was subsequently fitted with an ICD. Her daughter was then fitted with an ICD as a precautionary measure.

Kay experienced no symptoms prior to her cardiac arrest, and doesn’t recall experiencing symptoms of heart failure prior to her diagnosis. She had been ill with cancer two years prior to her cardiac arrest, and had received chemotherapy. Kay also had a family history of heart problems, with both of her parents dying from heart incidents.

When asked if she had any advice for those experiencing symptoms or worried about heart failure, she said “Go and get checked – if you have any symptoms, even if you might think they’re innocent – get checked. I would especially urge those with a family history or more than one symptom to get checked immediately.”

Kay is currently doing a cardiac rehab course in Sligo – and is now feeling much better thanks to the care she has received, though she does still experience some symptoms, such as breathlessness.

Kay Flynn was interviewed by Croí on her experiences of Heart Failure as part of the Global Heart Hub ‘Red Flag Campaign’. This project aims to highlight the signs and symptoms of heart failure – and encourage those experiencing these symptoms to go to their GP and ask “Could it be heart failure?”

Croí is joining The Global Heart Hub and other organisations across 15 counties in this campaign to help raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of heart failure. The campaign can be followed online at #raisetheflag and www.globalhearthub.org.

Kay is raising the flag on heart failure this May

Raise the Flag

“Go and get checked – if you have any symptoms, even if you might think they’re innocent – get checked. I would especially urge those with a family history or more than one symptom to get checked immediately.”`