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2020 | HFSA

Recap: Heart Failure Awareness Week 2020 #HFChat2020 Twitter Chat

Practice News Heart Failure Awareness 365
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In observance of Heart Failure Awareness Week, the Heart Failure Society of America hosted @HFChat2020 and was joined by @AAHFN, @boehringerus, @CardioSmart, @HeartBrothers1, and@WomenHeartOrg, to discuss what we can do to improve heart failure care and awareness. Below is the complete recap transcript of the discussion.

Question 1: What are some important distinctions between heart failure and other heart-related diseases? 

Heart Failure Society of America @HFSA

  • Heart failure is when the heart is unable to sufficiently provide blood to meet the body's needs. #HeartFailure
  • Many other heart-related diseases (arrhythmias, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, congenital heart disease) can be risk factors for or lead to heart failure. #HeartFailure

CardioSmart @CardioSmart

  • #HeartFailure refers to a number of conditions that can affect the way the heart works and/or its structure. HF means that your heart isn't pumping the way it should: Cardio Smart

The HeartBrothers Foundation @HeartBrothers1

  • #HeartFailure is the end product of many #heartdiseases. Other heart diseases may or may not affect the quality of life of the patient, but HF does because, by definition, it is the heart’s inability to properly pump blood and profuse the organs. #HFAwareness
Question 2: What do patients and care providers need to know regarding heart failure?

Heart Failure Society of America @HFSA

  • Patients with #heartfailure need to do the following: understand and take their medications; stay as active as they can; track weight to monitor for fluid retention; recognize symptoms and when it’s the right time to call their care team for help. #HFChat2020

American Association of Heart Failure Nurses @AAHFN

  • Patients need to know that managing heart failure is a process that involves working with a team of providers and that their quality of life matters!

Boehringer Ingelheim @boehringerus

  • People with #T2D have an increased risk of developing heart disease, including #heartfailure.

CardioSmart @CardioSmart

  • People with #T2D have an increased risk of developing heart disease, including #heartfailure.
  • Patients with #heartfailure should know that they're not alone -- and it's OK to feel scared or overwhelmed. Treatment can help pts feel better & live longer, so it's important to take an active role in their care: My Action Plan For Heart Failure

The HeartBrothers Foundation @HeartBrothers1

Women Heart @WomenHeartOrg

Question 3: Who makes up a heart failure team of care specialists and how do they work together to advocate for and improve HF patient care and outcomes?

Heart Failure Society of America @HFSA

  • A dedicated #heartfailure team often includes doctors, advanced practice professionals (nurse practitioners and physician assistants), nurses, nutritionists, pharmacists, exercise staff, and administrative staff.
  • The members of the HF team work together to help you with testing, medicine adjustments, healthy eating/lifestyles, & other aspects of living with #heartfailure. They can give you access to the latest treatments--both standard and research options.

American Association of Heart Failure Nurses @AAHFN

  • Nurses who specialize in the management of heart failure along with nurses in cardiac rehab, electrophysiology, cardiology and palliative care can all be on the heart failure team
  • Patients need to ask questions when they don’t understand the treatment plan. They are the one in charge of making changing and if they are unclear on what needs to be done, they need to ask.

Boehringer Ingelheim @boehringerus

  • People with #heartfailure often live with other conditions, like diabetes or #CKD. An integrated care team may include a primary care provider, cardiologist, heart failure specialist, endocrinologist or a nephrologist to manage their whole health.

CardioSmart @CardioSmart

The HeartBrothers Foundation @HeartBrothers1

  • It truly takes a village. A #heartfailure team is made up of a: PCP, cardiologist, nephrologist, pulmonologist, nutritionist, social worker, many nurses (critical link!), support physician assistants & different subspecialties based on the initiating HF event.
Question 4: When should a primary care provider consider referring a patient to a heart failure specialist?

Heart Failure Society of America @HFSA

  • The timing to make a referral to a heart failure specialist is variable. A referral can be made early to try to help find the cause of the heart failure. Sometimes treatment of an underlying condition can "fix" the problem.
  • Often a referral to a HF specialist is made when specialized care is needed - particularly if a patient continues to have symptoms despite initial appropriate therapies.
  • A heart failure specialist focuses on treating all aspects of HF, complimenting the primary care physician's role.

CardioSmart @CardioSmart

The HeartBrothers Foundation @HeartBrothers1

  • Early diagnosis is KEY. Patients should be sent to a #heartfailure specialist as soon as ANY heart ailment is observed on preliminary #EKG or #echocardiogram or if the person is suffering from unknown shortness of breath or fatigue. 
Question 5: What can patients do to help themselves? 

Heart Failure Society of America @HFSA

  • Taking your prescribed medication as directed can make you feel better, keep you out of the hospital, and help you live longer.
  • Keeping track of your weight and letting your health care provider know when you weight begins to increase is important.
  • Consider what you eat and walk every day. Remember – eat like your heart depends on it.

Boehringer Ingelheim @boehringerus

  • By making healthy lifestyle changes, finding the right care team and talking with their doctors, people with #heartfailure can take an active role in their health to better manage the condition.

CardioSmart @CardioSmart

  • Patients can take an active role in their care!
  • Create a goals checklist
  • Track your weight daily
  • Track your emotional health
  • Take your medication
  • Listen to your body See our guide for more tips 

The HeartBrothers Foundation @HeartBrothers1

Women Heart @WomenHeartOrg

  • Patients should listen to their bodies and learn to advocate for themselves. Ask questions.
  • Patients - especially women - should allow themselves to be first. Follow their treatment, rest and learn to say no to always doing for others. Then they can learn to thrive.
Question 6: How can caregivers and family members best care for a loved one with heart failure?

Heart Failure Society of America @HFSA

  • Persons living with heart failure need support from loved ones to take medications correctly, get to appointments, track symptoms, help with cooking, cleaning, shopping and provide important moral support.

American Association of Heart Failure Nurses @AAHFN

  • Caregivers need to take care of themselves too! Helping to care for someone with a chronic disease is hard work! Take time for self-care!

Boehringer Ingelheim @boehringerus

  • Heart failure can be a very emotionally overwhelming experience. Caregivers can encourage, and take part in, lifestyle changes and open conversations about managing heart health to help ease the burden of #heartfailure for their loved ones.

CardioSmart @CardioSmart

  • Caregivers are an important part of the care team! Provide emotional support for your loved one. Take them to appts. However, #caregiving is complex and it's important for you to care for yourself, too: Cardio Smart.

The HeartBrothers Foundation @HeartBrothers1

Women Heart @WomenHeartOrg

  • Caregivers need to listen to the person with heart failure - support their necessary lifestyle changes and give them space to process the diagnosis. But also remember they are same person they were before - they do not become just a patient.
Question 7: Talk to us about treatment – what will the doctors check for at each clinic visit for someone with heart failure?

Heart Failure Society of America @HFSA

  • Typically, your provider will: check your weight trends, pulse and BP; evaluate volume status; review sodium content in diet; run laboratory tests for kidney functions, potassium and sodium level. Check NTpro BNP or BNP level.

American Association of Heart Failure Nurses @AAHFN

  • Patients may also have other diagnostic tests performed like chest x-ray, echocardiogram or a device check if they have a pacemaker or internal cardiac defibrillator (ICD).

CardioSmart @CardioSmart

  • #HeartFailure is best treated w/ a mix of heart-healthy habits, medications & paying attention to signs your condition may be getting worse. At some point, a device to help the heart work may be needed: Cardio Smart.

The HeartBrothers Foundation @HeartBrothers1

Question 8: What developments, treatments or medications are on the horizon that are most exciting for heart failure patients?

Heart Failure Society of America @HFSA

  • Left ventricular assist devices (LVAD) are pumps that have been shown to improve quality of life and outcomes for patients with advanced or end-stage heart failure.
  • A limitation of LVAD tech is a driveline that connects the internal pump to an external controller through the patient's skin. Engineers/scientists are developing new, completely internal pumps. This technology is estimated to be 3-5 years away.

Boehringer Ingelheim @boehringerus

  • Talk to your doctor to learn more about the latest treatments for heart failure.

CardioSmart @CardioSmart

The HeartBrothers Foundation @HeartBrothers1

  • There is HOPE. New medications include #Entresto and 3 drugs to treat amyloidosis (AL, HTTR, ATTR); New #LVAD devices that don't require a driveline; Gene therapy; Stem cell therapies that regenerate damaged muscle cells. #HFChat2020 #lifewithheartfailure
Question 9: What are the advantages to participating in a heart failure clinical trial? What are the risks?

Heart Failure Society of America @HFSA

  • Participating in a clinical trial may help you and it will most certainly help the next person.
  • Clinical trials allow you to get a lot of attention from your heart failure care team.
  • Careful monitoring and oversight protects and helps heart failure patients.

American Association of Heart Failure Nurses @AAHFN

  • Participating in a clinical trial gives you access to cutting edge medicine or technology that the general population doesn’t get.
  • A risk to participating in a clinical trial is that the patient is receiving a new medicine or technology that may have adverse reactions and has to accept that risk.

Boehringer Ingelheim @boehringerus

  • There is a large unmet need for people with #heartfailure and advancing medical research helps to ease their burden. Patient participation is the best way to diversify representation in clinical trials to advance research and explore needed treatment options.

CardioSmart @CardioSmart

  • Clinical trials are proving grounds for better medications, procedures & devices. It is also important to keep increasing diversity in clinical trials to find the best trends and outcomes for patients! Cardio Smart

The HeartBrothers Foundation @HeartBrothers1

  • #Heartfailure is terminal.The only long-term end-stage HF therapies are LVAD or transplant. Many patients don't live long enough for transplant.
  • Advantages to clinical trials: they may help a person receive treatment, improve quality of life & delay/prevent end-stage #heartfailure or maybe cure it. Risks to clinical trials: If the treatment is not effective the patient's condition may worsen.

Women Heart @WomenHeartOrg

  • Researchers must include full representation of women in clinical trials so doctors have all the information they need to provide the best treatment for women with heart failure. Women's bodies are different from men and may respond differently to treatments.
Question 10: How can individuals make a difference within their community to reduce HF?

Heart Failure Society of America @HFSA

  • You can help friends & family reduce HF risk by spreading awareness of the major pillars of ideal cardiovascular health: -Manage blood pressure -Control cholesterol -Reduce blood sugar -Get active -Eat a healthy diet -Maintain optimal weight -Don't smoke

American Association of Heart Failure Nurses @AAHFN

  • Individuals can help make a difference by spreading the word about resources and events that are available to screen for heart disease and help others to know their numbers-blood pressure, cholesterol and weight!

Boehringer Ingelheim @boehringerus

  • Six million people in the U.S. are affected by #heartfailure. You can make a difference for yourself and those you love by prioritizing heart health, creating healthy habits and talking about heart health risks.

CardioSmart @CardioSmart

  • Promoting a heart-healthy lifestyle is one of the best ways to reduce #heartfailure risk! Stay up-to-date on the latest research and don't be afraid to connect with other patients or caregivers:

The HeartBrothers Foundation @HeartBrothers1

  • Some #heartfailure finds its roots in #cardiovasculardisease, #arteriosclerosis & drug use (which are lifestyle-related). But we cannot stress enough there is NO way to prevent all HF. The majority of HF is NOT lifestyle dependent.
  • The majority of #heartfailure is caused by genetics, viral/bacterial infections, chemotherapy, amyloidosis, sarcoidosis, or idiopathic HF. People are just as much a victim to HF as they would be to cancer or other terminal diseases. #HFChat2020, 
    #HFawarenessweek2020

BONUS!

Question 11: How can patients make safe choices at a restaurant and while traveling with heart failure?

Heart Failure Society of America @HFSA

  • We have not 1 but 2 episodes of the Heart Failure Beat: Patient Series podcast that discuss living with #heartfailure while traveling, including eating at restaurants.

American Association of Heart Failure Nurses @AAHFN

  • Choose fresh fruits and vegetables over fried foods. Choose grilled meat options instead of breaded and fried. Choose water over sugar drinks. It all helps to be heart healthy!

CardioSmart @CardioSmart

  • Making healthy choices when traveling or eating on the go doesn't need to be hard! Focus on eating low salt and low-fat foods, and be sure to monitor your fluid intake: Cardio Smart

The HeartBrothers Foundation @HeartBrothers1

  • Some #heartfailure finds its roots in #cardiovasculardisease#arteriosclerosis & drug use (which are lifestyle-related). But we cannot stress enough there is NO way to prevent all HF. The majority of HF is NOT lifestyle dependent.
  • The majority of #heartfailure is caused by genetics, viral/bacterial infections, chemotherapy, amyloidosis, sarcoidosis, or idiopathic HF. People are just as much a victim to HF as they would be to cancer or other terminal diseases. #HFChat2020, #HFawarenessweek2020.

This concludes our #HFChat2020 Twitter Chat on #heartfailure.

A very special thank you to all of our participants
@AAHFN@boehringerus@CardioSmart, @HeartBrothers1@WomenHeartOrg, and @CanHFSociety for the fantastic insights! #HFWeek2020.