A top Scottish cardiologist has been appointed chairman of the British Society for Heart Failure (BSH).
Professor Roy Gardner, a consultant cardiologist at NHS Golden Jubilee in Clydebank and also an expert adviser to organisations such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) and international heart failure societies, has taken on the leading role at the charity.
He said: “It is a real honour to lead the UK’s professional association for heart failure care for the next two years, particularly at a time when the condition is the most common reason for people over the age of 65 being admitted to hospital.”
The news of his appointment comes as Scotland celebrates the birth of one of its most celebrated poets, Robert Burns who is said to have died of heart failure in 1796.
More than two centuries later, about one million people in the UK are known to be living with heart failure, according to NHS Golden Jubilee.
For half of those people, it is a terminal condition with death occurring between two to five years after diagnosis, the health board said.
Professor Gardner and the BSH are leading a campaign to make people more informed and aware of symptoms and life-saving treatment that is available to prevent more deaths.
The BSH Freedom From Failure – The F Word campaign encourages people to check for symptoms (fighting for breath, fatigue and fluid build-up) and how to seek medical help early.
The leading cardiologist said heart failure conveys a worse prognosis than most types of cancer and should be recognised, detected and treated with the same urgency.
“It is more important than ever to raise awareness of this condition, as we now have a number of very effective therapies that can make patients feel better and live longer,” he said.
“If we want to eliminate heart failure as a leading cause of death in the UK we need to educate everyone to recognise the symptoms and seek help urgently.
“There has been incredible progress in recent years in regards to treating heart failure and I believe through early diagnosis, specialist referral and the right treatment at the right time, we will help many more people live better and longer.”
He added: “We are also conducting a number of clinical trials evaluating potential heart failure treatments of the future.”
The BSH is a leader in heart failure awareness, education, policy and research and Professor Gardner has been an elected member of the charity’s board since 2013.