In the largest German survey on heart failure to date, investigators found that the overall awareness of heart failure has not increased over the past decade and is not at a satisfactory level.
In 2007, 2012, and 2015, respectively, 2531, 359, and 171 adults answered questions about causes, presentation, prognosis, and treatment of heart failure. In 2007, 68% percent of respondents knew that heart failure was weakness of the heart. Regarding the three major symptoms of heart failure, 79% knew shortness of breath, 74% reduced exercise tolerance, and 52% leg edema, but only 40% knew all three symptoms. Although 34% of respondents were directly or indirectly affected by heart failure, they demonstrated poor knowledge about severity and prognosis. Only a quarter of respondents knew that the course of heart failure is about as bad as that of malignant cancers. These results have not improved since then.
"Heart failure is an illness on the rise. Its early recognition and treatment are essential for a better prognosis. That is why we have to raise awareness about heart failure in the general public," said Dr. Hans-Dirk Düngen, senior author of the ESC Heart Failure study.