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Almost 200 people are diagnosed with heart failure every week in Ireland – that is 10,000 people per year – yet awareness of the condition remains low, the national heart failure charity, the Heartbeat Trust, has warned.

With heart failure, the heart does not work as efficiently as it should. As a result, the blood cannot deliver enough oxygen and nourishment to the body to allow it to work normally. Heart failure often develops because of another medical condition, such as a heart attack or high blood pressure.


Previous research carried out by the Heartbeat Trust found that over 7% of all hospital bed stays could be attributed to heart failure and the total annual cost of the condition is around €660 million.

The charity has partnered with the Galway heart charity, Croí, to raise awareness of heart failure. Both organisations are members of the Global Heart Hub, which recently launched the Red Flag campaign in Ireland. This aims to educate people on the five key symptoms of heart failure, which are:

-Shortness of breath
-Swollen ankles or legs
-Sudden weight gain (2kg over two days)
-Poor appetite

“Treatment aimed at managing heart failure is improving, however awareness remains a problem. This is why opportunities to raise public awareness about the main symptoms are so vital.

“The Red Flag campaign is designed to inform people that if they have some, or all of these symptoms, they should go to their GP. Ultimately, we know that the earlier we detect the onset of heart failure, the better the patient outcome,” explained the Heartbeat Trust’s medical director, Prof Ken McDonald.

The Red Flag campaign is supported by broadcaster and musician, Tom Dunne, who underwent serious heart surgery in November 2018.

“Having undergone such serious heart surgery so recently, and being told I had a 70% chance of dying in the next two years if I didn’t have the surgery immediately, I know only too well how important heart failure awareness is.

“I originally had a heart murmur diagnosed 10 years prior to my surgery and I also found out that I had a genetic heart condition. I had no existing heart failure symptoms from what I can recall, but knowing that there are five key red flag symptoms that people should recognise is really crucial for heart failure prevention,” Mr Dunne said.

Frank O’Neill attends the STOP HF Unit at St. Michael’s Hospital in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin. This is a screening service aimed at the prevention and early detection of heart failure.

“I was referred to the clinic in 2007 after seeing my GP who was treating me for diabetes. In 2011, as part of an annual check-up, I found out that I had experienced a silent myocardial infarction (heart attack).

“Over the years, a lot of trust has been built up between myself and the team. I feel like the screening service is my guardian angel and am very grateful that they are there. I think that heart failure prevention screening should be available everywhere,” Mr O’Neill said.

The Red Flag campaign was launched to coincide with European Heart Failure Awareness Month (May).

For more information on the Heartbeat Trust, click here. For more information on Croí, click here.

Article written by Deborah Condon and published 29/5/2019 in Irish Health Pro

We were very proud be involved in the the Handbook of multidisciplinary and integrated heart failure care alongside the Heart Failure Network Policy and members from across Europe.

The Heartbeat Trust Chairman, Dr Ambrose McLoughlin presented at the launch, which was held at the European Parliament in Brussels earlier this year.

The handbook is designed to help solve problems and drive change that will make a meaningful difference to care for people living with heart failure.

To find out more information and read the handbook please click here.
Launch group photo_2

Heartbeat Trust researcher wins Young Investigator Award at Irish Cardiac Society Conference

Dr Grace O'Carroll accepting the Brian Maurer Young Investigator Award from Dr. Albert McNeill, President of the Irish Cardiac Society

Dr Grace O’Carroll accepting the Brian Maurer Young Investigator Award from Dr. Albert McNeill, President of the Irish Cardiac Society

Dr Grace O’Carroll, an MD researcher at the Trust, was awarded the Brian Maurer Young Investigator Award at last week’s Irish Cardiac Society Annual Scientific Meeting held in Derry for her work on Subclinical diastolic dysfunction is prevalent in diabetes, progresses over time and may reflect a handicap in natriuretic peptide function.

Dr O’Carroll’s study showed that abnormalities in cardiac structure exist in a significant proportion of diabetic patients in the absence of cardiac symptoms and that this is associated with poorer cardiovascular outcomes in the long term.

The work presented at the Irish Cardiac Society Conference formed the basis of Dr O’Carroll’s MD thesis and was funded by the Health Research Board and the Trust.

Dr O’Carroll said “This study highlights the importance of an effective screening program for diabetic patients but also the potential difficulties with current cardiovascular biomarkers in predicting cardiovascular risk in this group”.

The Brian Maurer Young Investigator Award, is aimed at promising young investigators, to encourage and promote quality and original research in Cardiology. The award is named in honour of Dr. Brian Maurer who passed away in 2013. Dr Maurer, a cardiologist in St Vincent’s University Hospital until his retirement and a past Chairperson of the Trust, worked tirelessly to promote and further cardiology practice and research throughout his career. Dr O’Carroll has now taken up a post at Wexford General Hospital, we wish Grace every success in her future endeavours.

President of the ICS, Dr Albert McNeill is pictured with Dr. Grace O'Carroll. Former Heartbeat Trust colleague Dr Matthew Barrett is also pictured.

President of the ICS, Dr Albert McNeill is pictured with Dr. Grace O’Carroll. Former Heartbeat Trust colleague Dr Matthew Barrett is also pictured.





StopHF  - The Heartbead Trust


The Heartbeat Trust are delighted to launch our new STOPHF website

The website is designed for STOPHF patients, health care professionals (HCPs) and anyone with an interest in the preventing not just heart failure but cardiovascular disease.

It is layered with multimedia content including our “Ask the Expert” video wall and photo gallery. The website features patient educational resources including our brand new STOPHF patient booklet, information on the STOPHF screening programme and a secure patient forum. On there is a wealth of information including tips and advice on exercise and physical fitness, healthy eating and lots, lots more.

“The clinical team at the Heartbeat Trust have worked closely with patients to develop this wonderful online resource. provides the most up to date information for patients, their families and healthcare professionals. We are extremely lucky to have secured a Health Research Board Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination award to support this work. This website together with our recent adoption into US guidelines means the STOPF and the Heartbeat Trust’s Predict, Protect, Prevent message can continue to spread.” Dr Ciara Keane, Director of Operations, the Heartbeat Trust.

The site will also act as a one stop shop for HCPs, loaded with info on STOPHF, such as how to get your clinic involved, CME case studies, info on types of blood tests available (NTproBNP & BNP), a secure forum and enabling registered users to log in directly to our Heart Failure Virtual Clinic meeting room.

“This new website will be an excellent resource for patients and healthcare professionals. Its straightforward and easy to use with lots of relevant information on how to stay heart healthy. We have designed the site to be accessible to older users and have an option to increase font size for visually impaired users. The site is visually pleasing and the use of content boxes makes for a better user experience.” Sinead Hand, Communications Officer with the Heartbeat Trust.


STOPHF Team Hospital

We hope you enjoy discovering our new website.

Stay Heart Healthy and visit

Already, feedback from patients and HCPs has been extremely positive.


“May I congratulate you on a great piece of work. It is informative and easy to navigate. The information is available in easily absorbed and perused sections. I found the use of videos and links made it an interesting exploration and they will encourage me to return again to review the information. I have probably seen some of this advice before but it has certainly impacted more now and I look forward to putting some of it into effect – a small “road to Damascus” event?” – Tony Bergin

                “It ( is some achievement and the site looks great!” – Dr Patricia Campbell

“Looks great guys, very fresh!” – Croi Heart & Stroke Charity

                “Congrats The Heartbeat Trust on a great website! Packed with useful info!” – Tickerfit




On the 15th June, The Heartbeat Trust held their first virtual STOPHF Patient information webcast. This education session was hosted live via YouTube and number of GP’s/patients nationwide were invited to view the webcast from the comfort of their own home/office.

Professor Ken McDonald, Consultant Cardiologist and Medical Director of the Heartbeat Trust along with Dr Mark Wilkinson presented an update on our ground-breaking STOPHF heart failure prevention study and discussed how results from the study have helped shape the expanding heart failure prevention service. Dr Mark Wilkinson, a registrar with the Trust gave an informative talk on how the heart works and what happens to your heart in heart failure. He also gave some excellent tips on making heart healthy lifestyle choices.

The trust received some extremely positive feedback from patients and healthcare professionals alike.  “Thank you all for an excellent presentation. So informative and easy to watch. I have not been able to attend previous meetings due to work commitments so, this evenings arrangements were great for me”. (STOPHF Patient)


This was the first virtual patient focused educational webcast by the Trust and is potentially the innovative solution required to enhance patient engagement (the wonder drug of the 21st century). The Heartbeat Trust aim to produce a number of these webcasts as a means of offering a virtual solution to STOPHF patient education.

Guests were invited to simply click on the link to visit The Heartbeat Trust YouTube channel at the specified time and date.

This education webcast was recorded and is available to watch now on YouTube.

Please SUBSCRIBE to our channel to stay updated on future meetings.

Good for the Heart; The Heartbeat of Bloom

On Thursday 1st June, The Heartbeat Trust launched their ‘Good for the Heart’ garden at Bloom by Bord Bia, to the garden visitors and a host of VIP guests. The Garden titled ‘Good for the Heart’ was awarded Highly Commended by the Bloom Judges.

Pictured at the launch was President Michael D. Higgins and the President’s Wife Sabina Higgins, Micheál Martin (Fianna Fáil leader), Tony Ward (Former Irish Rugby Legend and an active supporter of the Trust) and Dr. Ambrose Mcloughlin (Heartbeat Trust Chairman) and our wonderful volunteers.

As one of The Heartbeat Trusts main focus areas is STOP-HF and the prevention of heart failure, the garden encompasses that message. ‘Good for the Heart’ is a Heart Healthy garden, rich in healthy vegetables and fruit to increase awareness and help in the fight against heart failure. The garden has fruit and veg areas representing the need for healthy diet, highlighting healthy foods that aid in heart health.

Bird feeders with various seeds and nuts represent the importance of lowering cholesterol. Hanging from our apple tree are wooden hearts made by our volunteers which represent the hearts saved by STOP-HF. In the garden is a moss covered chair ornate with blooming flowers to represent life and a bicycle to represent the importance of exercise and fitness.

‘Good for the Heart’ received a lot of positive feedback from the visitors which is not surprising as 1 in 5 people will be affected by heart failure. The garden really hit a chord with people and the messages within the garden were well received.
“Good for the Heart’ is a Heart Healthy garden, rich in healthy vegetables and fruit to increase awareness and help in the fight against heart failure. Heart failure can largely be avoided and with the correct supports can be significantly reduced. We all need to be heart aware and stay heart healthy!” Sinead Hand, Communications Officer, Heartbeat Trust.

Sinéad Hand designed the ‘Good for the Heart’ garden on behalf of the charity and a small but amazing team of volunteers helped create the suburb garden.
Mary Proctor from Lissenhall Nurseries is part of the small team behind Good for the Heart. She has expert knowledge of horticulture and has given incredible guidance with putting the garden together. Lissenhall Nurseries offer a full range of outdoor products, including fruit trees, plants and hedging.

The Heartbeat Trust would like to thank all our garden volunteers for their hard work. Without their support our ‘Good for the Heart’ garden would never have bloomed into fruition. Special thank you to Francis Hand, Nicholas Codd, Gus Keane, Adrienne O’ Connell Flood, Maura Quirke and Dolores Hand.

Tullys Nurseries are one of the main sponsors of the garden. They have given fantastic support to The Heartbeat Trust and supplied planting material for our postcard garden in Bloom.

The garden has been sponsored by a number of suppliers including Lissenhall Nurseries, Tullys Nurseries, Dunshane Nursery, Carl Foran Photography,  Green Worx, Bord na mona and Cuprinol.

The Heartbeat Trust would like to extend their thanks to everyone who has contributed to the garden.

The Heartbeat Trust Launch Education Programme for Secondary Schools

The Heartbeat Trust are proud to announce the launch an education outreach programme aimed at secondary level students. The aim of the education sessions are to encourage teenagers to be proactive and take control of their lifestyle and make heart healthy choices which aid in the prevention of heart failure.

Heart failure is often seen as an ‘old age’ issue however it is becoming more prominent in Irish society. Heart failure can largely be avoided and with the correct aids can be significantly reduced. We all need to be heart aware and stay heart healthy!

Group StudentsIMG_7030

The Education Programme was launched with students from St Tiernan’s Community School, Balally on  April 26th 2017.  Dr. Mark Wilkinson and Ms. Sinead Hand (from The Heartbeat Trust) presented to the students on the Science of Heart Failure followed by an interactive session.

The students were extremely enthusiastic about the education session and The Heartbeat Trust were delighted with the positive feedback.

“We are very excited about the launch of the Heartbeat Trust Educational Programme which ties in nicely with the Trust’s motto of Predict, Protect, Prevent. With this new initiative we aim to educate the younger generation in ways they can be proactive about their own health. We are delighted to be able to engage with the students and encourage them to make healthier lifestyle choices.” Sinead Hand, Communications Officer and School Liaison Coordinator.

The outreach programme run by the Heartbeat Trust charity aims to inspire teenagers to live healthier lives and guide them in their health education. The talks are free of charge and available to secondary school students. If you are interested in having the team visit your school in the next academic year please contact

About The Heartbeat Trust

The Heartbeat Trust, is Ireland’s national heart failure charity, established in 2004 by Prof Ken McDonald and Dr Mark Ledwidge to support specialist clinical and research services in heart failure and heart failure prevention. Patient services are provided in St Michael’s and St Vincent’s Hospitals. St Michael’s Hospital, Dun Laoghaire  is also home to the STOP-HF initiative – which offers screening to prevent heart failure, a service aimed at prevention and early detection.

 STOPHF HEARTSSTOPHF Screening Initiative

The STOPHF screening initiative is where individuals (over 40 years of age who have one cardiovascular risk factor such as high blood pressure or diabetes) have a simple blood test which can predict those at risk of not just heart failure but other cardiovascular diseases, allowing more focused care to be directed to these at individuals.  The programme began in 2004 as a research project with the main aim of assessing if people with risk factors for heart failure could have their risk defined by the use of a blood test known as Natriuretic Peptide (NP). NP is a protein that is released from the heart when it is under stress or strain.

Special thank you to all the students and staff at St Tiernan’s Community School, Balally.

Creative Panda for sponsoring our bookmarks.

Natasha’s Living Foods for sponsoring some delicious (healthy) treats!

Plain English Awards for Ireland

The winners of the Plain English Awards for Ireland, sponsored by Mason Hayes & Curran, were announced by the National Adult Literacy Agency in Dublin on the 9th February 2017.

The independent judges were very impressed with how all the winners communicated directly to the intended reader through language that was easy to read and understand. The Heartbeat Trust are thrilled with the recognition of their continued effort in raising public awareness of heart failure and are delighted with their winning entry in the Health Posters & Bookmarks category. The organisers felt that the poster highlights in a clear and understandable manner, the main symptoms of heart failure.Nala Awards Website

The poster was designed by Dr Ciara Keane, Project Manager of the Heartbeat Trust after realising that clear, concise information was needed to help in the fight against heart failure and prevention of heart failure. Recognising the main symptoms of heart failure is vital in diagnoses and a key factor in raising public awareness. With this in mind, Dr Keane set about communicating these symptoms through visual design and the result was our winning entry.

The Winning Poster:Poster main symptoms heart failure = Shortness of breath Swollen ankles legs Sudden weight gain Palpitations Poor Appetite Tiredenss.

The Plain English Awards are organised by the National Adult Literacy Agency and sponsored by leading law firm Mason Hayes & Curran. The Awards were presented at a Gala Dinner in the Law Society of Ireland, Dublin.

Speaking about the awards, Inez Bailey, CEO, National Adult Literacy Agency said: “We developed these awards as we want to create a public preference for organisations that choose to communicate in plain English. We were delighted to get so many entries from organisations around the country as everyone benefits from clear information, written in plain English. We would like to congratulate EirGrid, Director of Public Prosecutions, Down Syndrome Ireland, Pavee Point and the Marie Keating Foundation, The Heartbeat Trust, Bord Gais, the Irish Lung Fibrosis Association and  They have won this award for thinking of the people who use their service and putting them first.”

Commenting on the sponsorship, Declan Black, Managing Partner at Mason Hayes & Curran said: “As a law firm we are delighted to be promoting the use of plain English rather than legal gobbledegook! Our approach at Mason Hayes & Curran is to ensure that our legal advice is always clear and accurate, particularly when complex issues are being explained. The use of plain English is aligned with that approach.  We hope that our support of this award contributes to the use of plain language in everyday communications and we congratulate the winners on a job well done.”

Plain English is a style of presenting information that helps you understand it the first time you read or see it. It involves short clear sentences, and using everyday words and imagery. It is particularly important to provide information in plain English for people with literacy difficulties.

The Heartbeat Trust are delighted with the award and hope to continue creating public information with NALA guidelines in mind. They have recently developed the Heart Failure Education Pack and Toolkit which has also been approved by NALA.

The education pack can be found here.

An information meeting on the Screening to Prevent Heart Failure (STOP-HF) programme developed by Professor Kenneth McDonald, Consultant Cardiologist and Medical Director of the Heartbeat Trust was held in the Talbot Hotel, Stillorgan on the evening of Tuesday 11th October. The Heartbeat Trust, is a national charity that supports specialist clinical and research services in Heart Failure & Heart Failure Prevention by promoting efficiency in Irish healthcare especially around heart failure. Our motto is Predict, Protect, Prevent.

The Heartbeat Trust run a Screening initiative called STOP-HF (Screening to Prevent Heart Failure) in which individuals (over 40 years of age who have one cardiovascular risk factor, such as high blood pressure or diabetes) have a simple blood test which can predict those at risk of not just heart failure but other cardiovascular diseases, allowing more focused care to be directed to these at individuals.

The STOP-HF patient information meeting entitled, “Get More from STOP-HF; Equipping yourself with the knowledge to keep a Healthy Heart” was delivered by the expert team at The Heartbeat Trust. The speakers on the evening included Prof Ken McDonald, Consultant Cardiologist and Medical Director of the Heartbeat Trust, Fiona Ryan; Pharmacist, Elaine Tallon;STOP-HF Nurse and Karen Cradock; Specialist Cardiac Physiotherapist.

Over 300 guests attended this successful meeting and gained invaluable knowledge from these experts.

STOPHF Meeting

Pictured are attendees making a heart symbol with their hands in an effort to raise awareness of Heart Failure and Heart Failure Prevention.

Dr Ambrose McLoughlin, Chairman of the Heartbeat Trust and former Secretary General of the Department of Health, opened the meeting and welcomed over 300 guests.

Prof Ken McDonald gave the opening lecture on STOP-HF and the importance of BNP blood testing (BNP: B-type natriuretic peptide- which is a protein that is released from the heart muscle when it is under stress or strain) in preventing Heart Failure and the results to date. Ms Elaine Tallon, STOPHF Nurse followed with excellent advice on managing a balanced diet, cholesterol and blood pressure, followed by tips on exercise and how to reduce stress. With a phenomenal figure of 50% not taking medications as prescribed, Dr Fiona Ryan discussed the importance of medication adherence. She also explained clinical trials, how they work and the risks and benefits of participating.
The audience received an interactive presentation from Karen Cradock, Specialist Cardiac Physiotherapist, who (much to the guest’s amusement) had the audience out of their seats, doing gentle stretches and squats. Karen gave demonstrations of the types of exercise that should be undertaken on a daily basis in order to maintain a healthy heart.
The Heartbeat Trusts Communication Officer, Sinéad  Hand discussed the need for volunteers to get involved in the charity’s efforts in raising awareness of Heart Failure Prevention in Ireland. John, a Heartbeat Trust volunteer and STOPHF patient shared his experiences of the service and appealed to the guests to get involved with the charity in driving the future advancements of the STOPHF programme.

If you would like to get involved or find out any further information about The Heartbeat Trust, please get in touch by emailing us at

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eHealth in Revolution
Dublin Castle 15th-17th September

A major conference bringing together renowned speakers in healthcare and technology was held in Dublin Castle from the 15th-17th September. The conference was organised by the The Menarini Foundation and The Heartbeat Trust, a national charity that supports specialist clinical and research services in Heart Failure & Heart Failure Prevention and promotes efficiency in Irish healthcare especially around heart failure.

The eHealth in Revolution conference was officially opened by Minister for Health Simon Harris TD and over 250 local and international delegates attended this three-day event.

Speaking at the opening, Minister Harris said: “I want to recognise the importance of eHealth in delivery of patient care. It has the potential to place the patient at the heart of our health system, and that’s something I’m very keen to see. In particular, it can allow health professionals to provide care in the most appropriate setting. New technologies are allowing for different approaches to the treatment of patients, offering alternative models of integrated care that can contribute to better outcomes for patients. Modern technology and eHealth provides opportunities and facilities that enable patients to truly participate in and contribute to the management of their own health.”

Prof Ken McDonald, Consultant Cardiologist and Medical Director of The Heartbeat Trust, said: “This meeting presents an excellent opportunity to hear the latest information on many of the critical aspects of eHealth, along with insights into home-grown applications of this form of healthcare delivery. IT has the capacity to revolutionise healthcare delivery in Ireland. It is unfathomable why we haven’t made more progress with implementing technologies in healthcare but this conference offers a reflection point and an opportunity to spark a rising for eHealth.”


Dr Ambrose McLoughlin, Chairman of the Heartbeat Trust and former Secretary General of the Department of Health addressed the conference as part of a panel on connected care. “eHealth properly utilised empowers patients, carers, the medical and associated professions, to work together to secure the very best outcomes for patients,” Dr McLoughlin has said. “eHealth also supports the implementation of cost-effective evidence-based best practice and enhances the clinical management of chronic disease such as heart failure.”

Dr McLoughlin also added that the Heartbeat Trust has been at the forefront of development of structured care programmes for the prevention and management of heart failure, including a “virtual consultation” service to enable specialists and GPs to discuss cases and reduce the need for outpatient department referral by 80%.

The conference was addressed by many global experts and advisors. Dr Alan Maisel, Professor of Medicine at the University of California gave the closing lecture on the future of eHealth and the role biomarkers can play in future health prediction through the use of the latest technologies. Professor Josip Car of Imperial College London and who has worked with the World Health Organisation also addressed the conference on the potential of eHealth. He believes healthcare is seriously lagging behind other sectors in terms of its use of information and communication technologies. His team are developing a technology to allow women who suffer depression post-pregnancy to be identified and treated.

The conference was also addressed by Richard Corbridge, Chief Information Officer of the Health Service Executive, Dr Nikolas Mastellos, Global eHealth Unit, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, Siobhan O’Connor of the University of Manchester, Paul Grundy, Global Director of Healthcare Transformation at IBM, Karl O’Leary of Microsoft and Dr Eugenio Capasso of Menarini Foundation.

The Heartbeat Trust are delighted with the success of eHealth in Revolution and look forward to the future and advancement of eHealth in Digital Health in Ireland and abroad.