Canadian Cardiovascular Society

Heart Failure

Heart Failure (HF) is a chronic, progressive condition that requires ongoing management.1,2 It occurs when the heart is not able to properly circulate blood throughout the body following heart damage or because of a weak heart. The heart can also have trouble relaxing which allows blood to flow back from the lungs to the heart.

What is the burden of heart failure?

  • 750,000 Canadians living with HF.1
  • 1 in 3 Canadians touched by HF.1
  • >100,000 Canadians diagnosed with HF annually.1
  • > $2.8 billion/year in healthcare costs by 2030.1,3
  • One of the top reasons for hospital admissions in Canada.1,4
  • Worse survival than patients with some common cancers.5,6,7

What challenges do we face with heart failure?

  • 4 in 10 Canadians do not understand what heart failure is.1
  • <70% eligible Canadian patients on recommended medications.8,9,10,11,12
  • <30% eligible Canadian patients achieving target medication doses.8,9,10,11,12
  • 1 in 5 Canadian HF patients return to hospital within 30 days of last visit.1
  • 30-day readmission rate has not changed in the last decade despite significant advances in medical therapy.13
  • >60% of HF costs spent on in-patient care in the US (Vs. 7% spent on medications).14

What is the CCS doing to address gaps in heart failure care?

In 2022, the CCS formed a Heart Failure Working Group who supports the CCS in advocating for system-level changes that improve HF care in Canada.

As part of this work, we are calling on the federal government to provide CCS with $700,000/year over 5 years ($3.5 million total) to ensure Canadian HF patients receive optimal care. This will be complemented by advocacy activities at the provincial level as well.

Learn more about our call to the federal government.

Heart failure resources


  1. Heart and Stroke Foundation. Falling Short: How Canada is failing people with heart failure – and how we can change that. Available at: https://heartstrokeprod.azureedge.net/-/media/pdf-files/canada/2022-heart-month/hs-heart-failure-report-2022-final. Accessed on: April 20, 2022.
  2. Canadian Cardiovascular Society. Definitions of Heart Failure. Available at: https://ccs.ca/eguidelines/Content/Topics/HeartFailure/2%20Definitions%20of%20Heart%20Failure.htm. Accessed on November 30, 2021. 
  3. Tran DT et al. The current and future financial burden of hospital admissions for heart failure in Canada: a cost analysis. CMAJ Open. 2016; 4:E365-E370.3
  4. Canadian Institute for Health Information. Hospital Stays in Canada. Available at: https://www.cihi.ca/en/hospital-stays-in-canada. Accessed on: May 11, 2022
  5. Mamas MA et al. Do patients have worse outcomes for heart failure than in cancer? A primary care-based cohort study with 10-year follow-up in Scotland. Eur J Heart Fail 2017;19:1095-1104. 
  6. Benjamin EJ et al. Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics – 2017 Update: A Report from the American Heart Association. Circulation 2017;135:e146-e603.
  7. Roger VL et al. Trends in heart failure incidence and survival in a community-based population. JAMA 2004;292:344-350.
  8. Komajda M, Anker SD, Cowie MR, et al. Physicians’ adherence to guideline-recommended medications in heart failure with reduced ejection fraction: data from the QUALIFY global survey. Eur J Heart Fail 2016;18:514-522.
  9. De Groote P, Isnard R, Clerson P, et al. Improvement in the management of chronic heart failure since the publication of the updated guidelines of the European Society of Cardiology: the impact-reco programme. Eur J Heart Fail 2009;11:85-91.
  10. Greene SJ, Butler J, Albert NM et al. Medical therapy for heart failure with reduced ejection fraction: the CHAMP-HF registry. J Am Coll Cardiol 2018;72: 351-366.
  11. Lamb DA, Eurich DT, Mcalister FA, et al. Changes in adherence to evidence-based medications in the first year after initial hospitalization for heart failure observational cohort study from 1994 to 2003. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes 2009;2:228-235.
  12. Thanassoulis G, Karp I, Humphries K, et al. Impact of restrictive prescription plans on heart failure medication use. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes 2009; 2: 484-490.
  13. Poon et al. The state of heart failure in Canada: Minimal improvement in readmissions over time despite an increased number of evidence-based therapies. CJC Open. Article in press.
  14. Voigt J, John MS, Taylor A, Krucoff M, Reynolds MR, Gibson CM. A reevaluation of the costs of heart failure and its implications for allocation of health resources in the United States. Clinc Cardiol 2014;37:312-21.
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