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February 9, 2007

Mitra Foroutan
Corporate Communications & Public Relations, LHSC
519-685-8500, ext. 74772

Valentine's an important time to look at heart failure

(LONDON, Ontario) - The emotions of love are always top of mind around Valentine's, and this is also a good time to shine the spotlight on the very real issues of heart health. Broken hearts certainly hurt; but heart failure is a condition that can seriously impact health and quality of life. February 12 - 15 is Heart Failure Awareness Week and a public education event at University Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre on Thursday, February 15 will offer valuable tools for people living with the condition.

Dr. Malcolm Arnold, cardiologist at London Health Sciences Centre and head of the Circulation research program at Lawson Health Research Institute is one of the heart failure specialists presenting at the event. Research indicates an increasing need for heart failure awareness. "Although we are seeing rates of other heart diseases decreasing, heart failure cases are rising in the population," says Dr. Arnold. "This is now the most common diagnosis in hospitals for patients over the age of 65."

Heart failure is not automatically debilitating. "Through careful lifestyle management and treatments it is entirely possible for someone with the condition to continue living a healthy and active lifestyle," says Dr. Arnold. "There are many advances in treatment and good health management that can improve symptoms, prolong health and keep people out of the hospital."

The public information evening will be an interactive session to provide information about recognizing symptoms and warning signs of heart failure. The latest treatments and management options will also be discussed.

What: Public information session on Heart Failure
Where: University Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre - Third Floor Auditorium "B"
When: Thursday, February 15, 2007 7-8:30 p.m.

Presenters: Dr. Malcolm Arnold, cardiologist and heart failure expert. Dr. Peter Pflugfelder, cardiologist and heart transplant expert. Jan Hoffman, nurse practitioner specializing in heart failure treatment. Kathy Blackler, registered cardiac technician in the pacemaker and cardiac device clinic.

Possible Sidebar: Information on Heart Failure

Symptoms: fatigue, shortness of breath, decreased level of activity. It is important to recognize the risk of heart failure and discuss these symptoms with a doctor since many of the symptoms are similar to other conditions and not always correctly identified as heart failure.

Risk factors: high blood pressure, diabetes, previous heart attacks, smoking, heart valve disease, family history. As these risk factors become more common in the population, the rate of heart failure is increasing.

Treatments: Education to maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle and reduce risk factors. Medications to manage heart function and reduce further heart damage by reducing heart pressure and heart attacks.

About London Health Sciences Centre
London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is one of Canada’s largest acute-care teaching hospitals and is dedicated to excellence in patient care, teaching and research. LHSC has pioneered many national and international medical breakthroughs. Located in London, Ontario, LHSC encompasses three sites, South Street Hospital, University Hospital and Victoria Hospital; two family medical centres; and the London Regional Cancer Program. LHSC is the home of the Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario and CSTAR (Canadian Surgical Technologies & Advanced Robotics). The research arm of LHSC is Lawson Health Research Institute, which is partnered with London’s other teaching hospital, St. Joseph’s Health Care, London. LHSC is affiliated with The University of Western Ontario. Physicians and staff at LHSC number close to 9,000 and together they provided care for more than one million patient visits last year.