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 info@heartbeat-trust.org