Study Finds Large Portions of People Living With Heart Failure Unaware of Progression Stage, Ejection Fraction
– Respondents with no stage awareness had less confidence in condition management, less positive HCP relationships –
PHILADELPHIA — June 29, 2020 — A new survey from Health Union finds that large portions of people living with heart failure are unaware of their stage, type and ejection fraction, all important factors in understanding disease progression and treatment needs. The inaugural Heart Failure In America survey illuminates the perspectives and experiences of people living with heart failure. The findings also support the launch of Heart-Failure.net, Health Union’s 26th condition-specific online health community.
Heart failure is a progressive chronic condition in which the heart does not pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. There are a number of things that are important for people living with heart failure to know about their condition, including their stage, type and ejection fraction.
However, Heart Failure In America survey findings reveal that a significant number of respondents aren’t aware or certain of this information. A quarter of respondents said they did not know their ejection fraction, which measures how much blood the heart pumps out and is used to track disease progression and severity. Two in 10 do not know what type of heart failure they have, with the most common type, at 57%, being congestive heart failure.
A larger number of respondents – 43% – are unaware of their current stage, which is important for understanding disease progression and treatment needs. One-third of respondents are currently at stage C with mild-to-moderate heart failure symptoms, while 13% are in the at-risk stages A or B and the other 10% are at stage D experiencing severe heart failure symptoms.
Comparing the responses from people who know their stages with those who do not shows how their patient journeys can differ. Respondents who did not know their current heart failure stage were more likely than those who did to say they do not get tested regularly to track progression, do not have reliable access to medical care or treatments and are not confident they are doing everything necessary to manage their heart failure on a regular basis.
Respondents who said they know their heart failure stage were more likely than those who did not know their stage to rate their relationships with healthcare practitioners favorably for a number of factors. These factors include their HCP agreeing with them on the severity of their heart failure, doing a good job sharing their heart failure diagnosis, stage or type and providing easy-to-understand test results.
The findings also suggest that lack of awareness of current stage might be related to experiencing some aspects of heart failure less frequently. For example, respondents who didn’t know their current stage were more likely to say they had not experienced any heart failure exacerbations during the previous year.
“Online health communities like Heart-Failure.net can often provide the support and resources people need in the moments they need them,” said Tim Armand, co-founder and president of Health Union. “This is the case whether they are looking for information on heart failure stages, treatment options or the relationship between COVID-19 and their condition – a particular concern within this community.”
The inaugural Heart Failure In America survey, fielded from Oct. 21, 2019 to April 1, 2020, includes responses from 642 people diagnosed with heart failure. A summary infographic of the results is available on Heart-Failure.net; additional survey results may be available upon request.
About Health Union
Since 2010, Health Union has encouraged social interactions that evolve into valuable online health conversations, helping people with chronic conditions find the information, connection, and validation they seek. The company creates condition-specific online communities – publishing original, daily content and continuously cultivating social conversation – to support, educate and connect millions of people with challenging, chronic health concerns. Today, the Health Union family of brands includes 29 online health communities, including LungCancer.net, ParkinsonsDisease.net, MultipleSclerosis.net and Migraine.com.