Challenging heart failure


It’s time to shine a spotlight on heart failure

Heart failure (HF) demands more attention. Progress in the prevention and treatment of this serious condition requires education, as well as a commitment among healthcare providers, researchers, and policymakers to facilitate change.

While heart failure prevention is the ultimate goal, increased awareness leading to policy changes is needed now to improve outcomes for those living with HF.


Recognising the ‘blind spot’

Despite the significant burden of HF, a new global survey shows that heart failure is a ‘blind spot’ for the public and policymakers.

The HF Gap Review, commissioned by AstraZeneca, in partnership with the World Heart Federation (WHF), showed low awareness among the public on the signs and symptoms of HF,1 and low awareness among policymakers of the societal and economic burden of the disease.3

Low awareness among the public1,2

Of those surveyed in a recent study on HF, public awareness of the 3 main symptoms of HF was low


Shortness of breath when resting or being active 

feeling unusually tired or weak  

Swelling of the feet, ankles, legs, abdomen, or the small of the back

People were asked to select one disease for each symptom from a list of heart failure, diabetes, heart attack, stroke or asthma.

People who connected symptoms to HF, compared to other conditions1,2

Low awareness among policymakers3

Of those surveyed in a recent study on HF,
Awareness of HF’s connections to hospital admissions is
low among policymakers


Only 40% correctly identified HF as the #1 cause of hospitalisations in people over 65 years of age.3,4


Of those surveyed in a recent study on HF,
Awareness of the costs of HF hospitalisations is
low among policymakers


Only 4% recognised that up to 87% of overall HF spending is associated with hospitalisations and inpatient care.3,5

Low awareness comes at a cost

Accelerating change to improve outcomes

In the last 10 years, there has been limited progress in the levels of understanding among both the general public and policymakers of what HF is and how it impacts health and society.6 To help bridge the gap between the burden of heart failure and public and policymaker concern, the World Heart Federation (WHF) and AstraZeneca have partnered on the Spotlight on Heart Failure campaign to educate people about HF and improve the prognosis for those who have been diagnosed.

Together we aim 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 the ones
who care for them

Improving policy to reduce morbidity and mortality

How you can make a difference

Start by learning more about how lack of awareness about HF has repeatedly been identified as major stumbling block for people with HF and their families, communities at large, healthcare workers, and policymakers.

Key findings of the Heart Failure Gap Review



Download the full Heart Failure Gap Review.



  1. AstraZeneca PLP. Data on File. ID: REF – 74964. March 2020.
  2. NHS. Heart failure symptoms. Available online at: Last accessed August 2020.
  3. AstraZeneca PLP. Data on File. ID: REF – 75059. March 2020.
  4. Díez-Villanueva P, Alfonso F. Heart failure in the elderly. J Geriatr Cardiol. 2016;13(2):115-117.
  5. Giles L, Freeman C, Field P et al. Humanistic burden and economic impact of heart failure – a systematic review of the literature. F1000Research. 2019; 8:859.
  6. Ferreira JP, et al. World Heart Federation Roadmap for heart failure. Glob Heart. 2019;14:197–214.