The Swiss Embassy in Thailand collaborates with Novartis organizing the “Reverse the Heart, Restore Your Life: Every Beat Matters” seminar to raise awareness of heart failure
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The Swiss Embassy in Thailand collaborates with Novartis organizing the “Reverse the Heart, Restore Your Life: Every Beat Matters” seminar to raise awareness of heart failure

The Swiss Embassy in Thailand, led by H.E. Mr. Pedro Zwahlen, Ambassador of Switzerland to the Kingdom of Thailand, in collaboration with Novartis (Thailand) Limited, hosted a seminar under the theme “Reverse the Heart, Restore Your Life: Every Beat Matters.”

Fifty participants, including Dr. Sopon Iamsirithaworn, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health, and cardiologists from leading hospitals, joined the event at the Swiss Embassy in Bangkok in late February 2023.

The “Reverse the Heart, Restore Your Life: Every Beat Matters” seminar was organised to facilitate an exchange of views among cardiologists with the aim of reducing the incidence of heart failure, which occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood to the body due to abnormalities in its structure or function. The event aimed to raise awareness about heart failure, provide updates of the progress made in innovative treatments for restoring heart health, and develop potential partnerships with stakeholders. Currently, there is a steady increase in the number of patients. Heart failure greatly impacts a patient's quality of life and once symptoms occur, continuous treatment is required resulting in financial burdens and dependence on family care.

Dr. Sopon Iamsirithaworn, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health, said, “There has been a significant increase in the number of patients who have died from cardiovascular diseases in 40s and above age groups due to having comorbidities as a risk factor. The Department of Disease Control is determined to reduce the number of patients with heart failure, thereby decreasing the mortality rate from these diseases. Our goal is to raise public awareness about the impact of cardiovascular diseases, decrease risk factors, and promote access to new and innovative treatments. This is in line with the government's policy that emphasises disease management using tools such as the CVD Risk Score, and encourages checking blood glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels. The Ministry is also uplifting the capabilities of community health volunteers and establishing Sandbox, a pilot testing space to bend the curve of heart failure.”

Pol. Maj. Gen. Dr. Kasem Ratanasumawong, Vice President of the Thai Heart Association, highlighted the significance of heart failure as a critical health issue as it affects the heart and blood vessels and has a major economic impact on patients, families, and society. Despite technological advancements and new treatments, the aging population is expected to contribute to an increasing number of patients with heart failure and a high hospitalisation rate. To address this challenge, the Thai Heart Association has accelerated the development of a disease registry research system to study the causes, complications, mortality rates, and quality of care for heart failure patients. The association will also establish guidelines for better treatment standards, support the growth of heart failure clinics, and organise training programs for nurses to provide comprehensive care, thus improving the well-being of patients.

Additionally, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chanchai Sittipunt, Director of Chulalongkorn Hospital, underscored the significance of the collaboration among medical experts across a range of disciplines, including pharmacists and skilled nurses, in providing more efficient care for patients with heart failure. With the patient as the central focus, treatment must follow suitable guidelines with consistent monitoring and evaluation to improve quality of care. Such an approach allows for constant adjustments to the treatment plan, leading to better and continuous patient care.

Prof. Dr. Rungroj Krittayaphong, President of HFCT, discussed the importance of cost-effectiveness, analysis and the accessibilities of heart failure treatment. Heart failure is a chronic condition that requires continuous care. As the number of patients increases, so does the cost of medical treatment. Therefore, it is crucial to assess the value of treatment based on reference data from abroad as well as clinical research to improve patient care and ensure timely access to new medications. This approach can also alleviate the financial burden on patients and the healthcare system. In the future, there will be more emphasis on the value of heart failure treatment, which may lead to the development of new medicines or the adjustment of existing treatments to be more cost-effective. This is reflected in the accessibility of new medications, reduced hospitalisation and mortality rates, increased awareness, and lifestyle modifications for a better quality of life to lower the need for high-cost treatments in the future.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Teerapat Yingchoncharoen, Academic Chairman HFCT, HF and Transplantation Specialist, emphasised the importance of an accurate diagnosis to help in understanding the root cause of heart failure, providing effective treatment, and preventing future occurrence of the disease. Communication between medical teams, patients, and caregivers is also essential to treatment. To effectively manage the disease, it is crucial to follow the treatment plan and continuously monitor, evaluate, and adjust the treatment plan according to the patient's condition. While there have been

significant advancements in heart failure treatment, patient adherence to their treatment plan, which is most fundamental to the management of the disease, remains a challenge.

In addition, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pattarapong Makarawate, Director of the Queen Sirikit Heart Centre of the Northeast, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, shared the Centre's plans in providing care and reducing the number of patients with heart failure at this seminar. The Queen Sirikit Heart Centre, a leading centre for the treatment of heart disease with advanced technology in the Northeastern region, specialises in treating patients with cardiac arrhythmia and complex heart failure. The Centre also serves as a knowledge-sharing hub and network builder for patient care through ongoing academic conferences, treatment planning with the network, and initial treatment centre before transferring patients to the network for continuous care. This approach can increase the effectiveness of treatment and improve the long-term well-being of patients.

Kevin Zou, Head of Novartis Asia Aspiring Markets, IMI said, “The rising prevalence of heart failure imposes a heavy socioeconomic burden on people and economics. We need to join forces in raising awareness and develop preventative measures to reduce new cases. We must deliver the message to heart failure patients and caregivers that with appropriate management, the heart can be restored, and patients can live longer with a good quality of life."

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