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STOPHF Information - Heartbeat Trust

What is STOPHF?

The Heartbeat Trust and St Michael’s Hospital in Dun Laoghaire are home to the STOPHF initiative – which offers screening to prevent heart failure, a service aimed at prevention and early detection.

The 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.

The results of the research study were positive and STOPHF is now a routine clinical service supported by the Heartbeat Trust.

What is Heart Failure?

The medical term Heart Failure can sound very frightening it simply means that your heart can’t pump all the blood your body needs. It might be more helpful to think of heart failure as: ‘When the heart is not working as well as it should and needs some medical help’. Heart Failure can take years to develop and can be caused by other medical conditions which have put extra workload on the heart or made the muscle in the heart weak or stiff. Heart Failure can develop at any age but is more common in older people and can affect both men and women equally.

Recent studies have shown that 1 in 5 people over 40 will develop Heart Failure in their lifetime and at least 15 million adults in Europe live with this condition.

STOPHF is aimed at preventing in heart failure by identifying those most at risk.

By knowing their risk and working closely with their healthcare team, the patient can take control of their risk, avoid unnecessary hospital visits and live a healthy and active life.

Risk Factors for Developing Heart Failure

There are a number of risk factors for developing heart failure. The most common risk factors are explained below.