Female patients in Ireland are waiting almost twice as long as men to be diagnosed with heart failure, with delays to diagnosis associated with poorer quality of life, mental health issues and impact on relationships, a new report has revealed.
State of the Heart: Examining the current state of heart failure diagnosis and care in Ireland, by the Irish Heart Foundation and Roche Diagnostics, analyses data from a survey of heart failure patients in Ireland, conducted by Censuswide. The online survey in October and November 2021, was carried out on a sample of 372 respondents who had been diagnosed with heart failure.
In 2014, heart failure was estimated to affect around 2% of the Irish population, with approximately 90,000 people in Ireland suffering from heart failure and another 160,000 people living with impending heart failure. Heart failure has significant personal and socioeconomic costs. The Irish Government is estimated to spend 1.2% of their healthcare budget on heart failure, with the total cost of heart failure in Ireland estimated to be approximately €660m.
The report found that on average, women had to wait five weeks to receive a formal diagnosis of heart failure, compared to men who had to wait three weeks. Women were also more likely to delay seeking help from health professionals after first developing symptoms, with females making appointments at four weeks – almost twice as long as males.
Heart failure experts often warn that a key challenge in diagnosing heart failure is that many people are not aware of the symptoms. Only 7% of the Irish population can correctly identify three symptoms of heart failure.