Addressing heart failure must be considered a global health priority because poor awareness of the disease leads to many premature deaths. Approximately 26 million people are living with heart failure worldwide, and if current trends continue the disease will impose ever-increasing burdens on patients, caregivers and healthcare systems.

Today in Athens, the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology (HFA-ESC) convened an international endorsement meeting for a new white paper that addresses this burgeoning health and economic crisis. Heart failure: preventing disease and death worldwide was authored by experts from six continents and produced in collaboration with Oxford Health Policy Forum. The evidence-based policy recommendations have the potential to drive improvements with the power to save lives. “Policy initiatives that prioritize heart failure prevention and champion equity of care for all would ease the strain on global healthcare systems and improve outcomes for patients,” stated Professor Piotr Ponikowski, Past President of the HFA-ESC.

The white paper is a key initial stage of the HFA-ESC Global Heart Failure Awareness Programme and is positioned to generate momentum throughout the forthcoming stages to 2018 and beyond.