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Heart failure can feel like drowning

24th September 2012

The British Heart Foundation says that severe heart failure can leave people feeling like they are drowning.

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In a new campaign the charity warns heart failure can cause the lungs to fill with fluid, though a survey it conducted suggests that 80% of adults are unaware of its impact on everyday life.

With no cure, stem cell research appears to be the key to repairing damaged hearts, according to experts.

While research indicates some 28% of all heart failure patients face a daily struggle as a result of permanent damage to the heart muscle, the BHF survey of 2,170 adults suggests that more than 75% of respondents are unaware of the effects of severe heart failure on people’s lives.

More than a third of those surveyed thought that heart failure meant the heart stopped working altogether and 33% wrongly believed the heart could repair itself.

Dr Mike Knapton, associate medical director at the BHF, says while more are surviving heart attacks due to advances in medicine, those with acute, severe heart failure have a worse prognosis than most cancers.

He added: “Heart failure has a very significant effect on morbidity. It can be disabling, it can leave people breathless and they can end up chair-bound and bed-bound.”

The charity’s Mending Broken Hearts Appeal aims to raise money to carry out basic research into regenerative medicine.

Dr Knapton said: “The human heart cell is not able to regenerate, unlike the liver, and we want to understand why in order to improve new treatments for the future.”

 

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