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  • Health professionals have been given new guidelines to help prevent heart failure and stroke

    Author: AAP

Health professionals have been given updated guidelines for treating the near half a million Australians aged over 18 with heart failure.

The new guidelines released on Thursday by the Heart Foundation and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSANZ) provide the latest evidence in the prevention, diagnosis and management of adults with heart failure.

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It's the first time in seven years the guidelines have been updated.

Heart Foundation chief medical adviser and cardiologist Garry Jennings says the new guidelines include new advice on targets for type two diabetes medications and improvements in the criteria to diagnose heart failure.

Patients dealing with one or more life-threatening conditions as well as their heart problems are increasing as people live longer with heart failure, Professor Jennings says, and the guidelines take this into account.

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"By improving outcomes for heart failure patients with co-morbidities, we aim to reduce hospital readmissions," Prof Jennings said.

"Avoiding these crises will help patient survival and quality of life."

Only 50 per cent of patients diagnosed with chronic heart failure survive five years later.

The Heart Foundation and CSANZ have also released their first guidelines for the diagnosis and management of adult patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) - a condition that causes a third of all strokes in Australia.

Deaths from AF have increased by 82 per cent over the past 10 years and Prof Jennings is hopeful the guidelines will help prevent AF before it causes a stroke.

"The guidelines also advise on the need to prevent, detect and manage several risk factors that can cause AF and increase its complications, including hypertension, diabetes, heart failure, valvular heart disease, and alcohol excess," he said.

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