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Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin calls for greater focus on heart failure prevention in historic European address


24 Oct 2022


Health & Consumers

Wednesday 26 October: 

Today, Micheál Martin, the Taoiseach of Ireland, will give the first ever dedicated  address by European head of government on heart failure – a leading cause of  preventable hospital admissions in Ireland and most other European countries,  accounting for a similar burden of deaths to that of the most common forms of cancer.1  2 

Speaking as keynote in the opening session of the Heart Failure Policy Summit 2022,  he will say: ‘More focus is required on the prevention of heart failure: there is evidence  to suggest that while we are making progress, we are not reaching a significant  percentage of the heart failure population.’ 

At least 15 million people in Europe are thought to be living with heart failure, with this  number expected to rise as the population ages.3It can be a devastating syndrome  with symptoms that have a considerable negative impact on quality of life. Heart failure  is a leading cause of hospitalisations, responsible for nearly 2 million admissions4 and  over €15bn in costs across Europe annually.5 6 Much of this burden could be prevented  with the right monitoring, patient education and care.7 

In his keynote address, Micheál Martin will emphasise the importance of addressing  heart failure: ‘It [heart failure] is responsible for a reduction in quality of life and life  expectancy, and is generally accepted to have a morbidity impact similar to that of  cancer.’ He will also state that topics covered in the Summit – including innovation,  health inequalities and person-centred care – are close to his own heart. 

The Taoiseach will also acknowledge recent progress in Ireland, and Ireland’s legacy  of leadership in public health policy at the European level. He will deliver a message  of hope to attendees regarding progress in heart failure management: ‘While the  numbers are sobering, it is also important to say that there has been notable progress  in both therapeutics and structures of care, improving quality of life and life  expectancy. Internationally, there continues to be remarkable development.’ 

HFPN Network Director Ed Harding will say: ‘This first ever dedicated address on heart  failure by a European prime minister is a historic occasion for 15 million people across  Europe. It marks a watershed in the progressive defeat of political misunderstanding  of this common, preventable and manageable syndrome. The Taoiseach’s personal  involvement sends a message to the whole world that governments must express their 

strategic vision in heart failure, starting at the highest level.’ 

Notes to editors 

About the Heart Failure Policy Summit 

The annual Heart Failure Policy Summit, hosted by the Heart Failure Policy Network,  is Europe’s only policy-focused event for the heart failure community. In 2022, the  event brings together over 40 eminent speakers from the worlds of clinical practice,  patient advocacy and policymaking to discuss the most crucial issues in heart failure  policy. By bringing together experts and advocates from many countries and sectors,  the Summit aims to inspire the community to push governments for effective national  plans to advance heart failure prevention, care and management. 

The Summit will be held online in weekly sessions from Wednesday 26 October to  Wednesday 16 November. Topics covered in the four sessions are: ‘Elevating heart  failure with one voice: uniting stakeholders to advocate for change’; ‘Innovation in  heart failure: shifting diagnosis and care into community settings’; ‘Heart failure,  inequality and the world stage: connecting advocates with the global policy agenda’; 

and ‘Living well with heart failure: moving towards more person-centred, integrated  care’. 

The Heart Failure Policy Summit 2022 is made possible with financial support from  Boehringer Ingelheim, Roche Diagnostics, AstraZeneca and CSL Vifor. 

Registration remains open until Monday 14 November: 

About heart failure 

Heart failure occurs when the heart becomes too weak or stiff to pump enough blood  around the body. This results in symptoms such as extreme fatigue, breathlessness  and fluid retention. Heart failure often develops following a heart attack or stroke, and  the risk of developing the syndrome is considerably higher for people living with other  conditions, including diabetes, hypertension or atrial fibrillation.8 

Heart failure disproportionately affects older people, with more than 80% of cases  diagnosed in people aged 65 and over.9 

Many people with heart failure do not know that they have the syndrome until they  have deteriorated significantly. This is due to low levels of public awareness about  heart failure and because symptoms are often dismissed as ‘inevitable’ signs of  ageing. 


Embargoed until 01.01hrs CEST, 26 October 2022

Where heart failure is detected and diagnosed, there are effective, evidence-based  treatments which can reduce hospitalisations and deaths, and improve quality of life.8 

About the Heart Failure Policy Network 

The Heart Failure Policy Network is an independent, multidisciplinary network of  healthcare professionals, advocacy groups, policymakers and other stakeholders from  across Europe. It was established in 2015 with the goal of raising awareness of unmet  needs and seeking meaningful improvements in heart failure policy and care. To view  our work so far, please visit: 

The Network is made possible with financial support from AstraZeneca, CSL Vifor,  Boehringer Ingelheim, Roche Diagnostics, Bayer AG. The content produced by the  Network is not biased to any specific treatment or therapy. All outputs are guided and  endorsed by the Network’s members. All members provide their time for free. 



For further information or for help in approaching speakers please contact: Henry Arnold 

Communications Manager, Heart Failure Policy Network 

+44 (0) 20 3857 3643



1. Mamas MA, Sperrin M, Watson MC, et al. 2017. Do patients have worse outcomes  in heart failure than in cancer? A primary care-based cohort study with 10-year follow up in Scotland. European journal of heart failure 19(9): 1095-104 

2. Stewart S, Ekman I, Ekman T, et al. 2010. Population Impact of Heart Failure and  the Most Common Forms of Cancer. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and  Outcomes 3(6): 573-80 

3. Dickstein K, Cohen-Solal A, Filippatos G, et al. 2008. ESC Guidelines for the  diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic heart failure 2008. European journal of  heart failure 10(10): 933-89 

4. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, European Union. 2018.  Health at a Glance: Europe 2018: State of Health in the EU. Paris: OECD Publishing 

5. Cook C, Cole G, Asaria P, et al. 2014. The annual global economic burden of heart  failure. Int J Cardiol 171(3): 368-76 

6. Heart Failure Policy Network. 2020. Heart failure policy and practice in Europe. London: HFPN 

7. Heart Failure Policy Network. 2021. Preventing hospital admissions in heart failure:  A European case study for building resilience and sustainability of healthcare systems. London: HFPN 

8. McDonagh TA, Metra M, Adamo M, et al. 2021. 2021 ESC Guidelines for the  diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic heart failure: Developed by the Task  Force for the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic heart failure of the  European Society of Cardiology (ESC) With the special contribution of the Heart  Failure Association (HFA) of the ESC. Eur Heart J 42(36): 3599-726 

9. Ponikowski P, Anker SD, AlHabib KF, et al. 2014. Heart failure: preventing disease  and death worldwide. ESC Heart Fail 1(1): 4-25



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