When heart failure is personal

When Heart Failure is Personal

Patrice Matchaba, Development Franchise Head of Novartis’s Cardio-Metabolic franchise (pictured here in the black shirt), sits with his family just before his brother-in-law (far right) had quadruple coronary by-pass surgery after suffering from heart failure. (Family photo)

The topic of Heart Failure is very personal for Patrice Matchaba, Development Franchise Head of Novartis’s Cardio-Metabolic franchise. It is a focus of his professional work and the disease has directly impacted his family. Last year, his twin sister’s husband collapsed while watching television. Even though he was undergoing treatment for heart failure, his heart stopped pumping without warning. Fortunately, Matchaba’s brother-in-law survived after quadruple coronary by-pass surgery. Unfortunately, not everyone is that lucky. In fact, up to 50% of people diagnosed with heart failure will die within 5 years of diagnosis and 30% will do within one year after hospitalization, but many patients also die of sudden death.

Awareness and Education is a Challenge

Symptoms of heart failure are often misinterpreted and misunderstood and many regard them as a normal part of the aging process – research reveals that 1 in 4 patients suffering heart failure symptoms would wait to see medical attention. Early diagnosis and management are critical. Heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization among people 65.

These reasons are why there is real need to educate beyond patients and their families. “While there is an urgent need to increase people’s ability to recognize the symptoms of heart failure so they know to seek treatment sooner, it is also critical that we educate governments, policy makers and community health advocates on the burdens of heart failure and the steps necessary to turn the tide so we can help people live longer and healthier,” says Matchaba.

Reasons to Believe

And as concerning as the global heart failure statistics are , Matchaba is optimistic. As he travels the world in his role at Novartis, he sees first hand that organizations and companies are focusing more attention and resources on heart failure. “By not only developing innovative medicines but also forming collaborations to drive action in education…we’ll see real improvements in awareness and management at all levels.”

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