How Is Congestive Heart Failure Diagnosed
Patients will typically have an intake visit with a heart specialist and nurse or physicians assistant. During this visit, the doctor will review the patients prior records and his or her current health status. This allows the doctor to establish a picture of where the patient is along the spectrum, and make a plan for prognosis and treatment.
The process often takes more than one meeting and involves both the patients local cardiologist or referring physician.
Congestive Heart Failure Prognosis
Theres no known cure for congestive heart failure. However, timely diagnosis, proper treatment, and lifestyle changes can be instrumental in improving a patients quality of life and longevity. Doctors usually use a cardiopulmonary stress test to predict your prognosis.
The prognosis of congestive heart failure for a patient depends on various factors, including their age, sex, medical history, and lifestyle. Chronic ailments like diabetes can worsen your prognosis. Also, the stage at which heart failure is diagnosed influences the outlook.
Dr. C Raghu is a world-renowned cardiologist whos helped thousands of patients with cardiac ailments. He specializes in interventional cardiology and has nearly two decades of experience. If you or anyone you know has been diagnosed with congestive heart disease, feel free to consult Dr. Raghu right away.
Deaths From Heart Failure Vary By Geography
Heart failure is more common in some areas of the United States than in others. Below is a map showing the rate of death from heart failure by county during 20142016.
The map shows that concentrations of counties with the highest heart disease death rates meaning the top quintile are located primarily in Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Pockets of high-rate counties also were found in Oregon, Utah, Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska.
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Facts About Heart Failure In The United States
- About 6.2 million adults in the United States have heart failure.1
- In 2018, heart failure was mentioned on 379,800 death certificates .1
- Heart failure costs the nation an estimated $30.7 billion in 2012.2 This total includes the cost of health care services, medicines to treat heart failure, and missed days of work.
What Is Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure is a severe progressive condition that affects the pumping power of heart muscles. Because of decreased cardiac output, the organs get inadequate blood, oxygen, and nutrients. Congestive heart failure usually affects the lungs, heart, and kidneys. A decrease in cardiac output causes kidneys to retain water and salt. Because of the increased water retention, other organs get congested, leading to increased pressure on the heart.
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Stage A Treatment Options
Treatment options in stage A mainly focus on promoting your overall health and disease prevention. If you meet the stage A criteria, your doctor will recommend lifestyle changes to slow or stop disease progression.
Heart Failure Doctor Discussion Guide
What Is The Outlook For People With Heart Failure
With the right care, heart failure may not stop you from doing the things you enjoy. Your prognosis or outlook for the future will depend on how well your heart muscle is functioning, your symptoms, and how well you respond to and follow your treatment plan.
Everyone with a long-term illness, such as heart failure, should discuss their desires for extended medical care with their doctor and family. An “advance directive” or “living will” is one way to let everyone know your wishes. A living will expresses your desires about the use of medical treatments to prolong your life. This document is prepared while you are fully competent in case you are unable to make these decisions at a later time.
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When To Get Medical Advice
See a GP if you experience persistent or gradually worsening symptoms of heart failure.
Call 999 for an ambulance or go to your nearest A& E department as soon as possible if you have sudden or very severe symptoms.
Can Surgery Be Used To Treat Heart Failure
In heart failure, surgery may sometimes prevent further damage to the heart and improve the heart’s function. Procedures used include:
- Coronary artery bypass grafting surgery. The most common surgery for heart failure caused by coronary artery disease is . Although surgery is more risky for people with heart failure, new strategies before, during, and after surgery have reduced the risks and improved outcomes.
- Heart valve surgery. Diseased heart valves can be treated both surgically and non-surgically .
- Implantable left ventricular assist device . The LVAD is known as the “bridge to transplantation” for patients who haven’t responded to other treatments and are hospitalized with severe systolic heart failure. This device helps your heart pump blood throughout your body. It allows you to be mobile, sometimes returning home to await a heart transplant. It may also be used as destination therapy for long-term support in patients who are not eligible for transplant.
- Heart transplant. A heart transplant is considered when heart failure is so severe that it doesn’t respond to all other therapies, but the person’s health is otherwise good.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Failure
You may not have any symptoms of heart failure, or the symptoms may be mild to severe. Symptoms can be constant or can come and go. The symptoms can include:
- Congested lungs. Fluid backup in the lungs can cause shortness of breath with exercise or difficulty breathing at rest or when lying flat in bed. Lung congestion can also cause a dry, hacking cough or wheezing.
- Fluid and water retention. Less blood to your kidneys causes fluid and water retention, resulting in swollen ankles, legs, abdomen , and weight gain. Symptoms may cause an increased need to urinate during the night. Bloating in your stomach may cause a loss of appetite or nausea.
- Dizziness, fatigue, and weakness. Less blood to your major organs and muscles makes you feel tired and weak. Less blood to the brain can cause dizziness or confusion.
- Rapid or irregular heartbeats. The heart beats faster to pump enough blood to the body. This can cause a rapid or irregular heartbeat.
If you have heart failure, you may have one or all of these symptoms or you may have none of them. They may or may not indicate a weakened heart.
How Is Heart Failure Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask you many questions about your symptoms and medical history. Youâll be asked about any conditions you have that may cause heart failure . Youâll be asked if you smoke, take drugs, drink alcohol , and about what drugs you take.
Youâll also get a complete physical exam. Your doctor will listen to your heart and look for signs of heart failure as well as other illnesses that may have caused your heart muscle to weaken or stiffen.
Your doctor may also order other tests to determine the cause and severity of your heart failure. These include:
Other tests may be ordered, depending on your condition.
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What Is The Outlook With Heart Failure
With the right care, congestive heart failure wont stop you from doing the things you enjoy. Your prognosis, or outlook for the future, will depend on:
- How well your heart muscle is working.
- How well you respond to your treatment plan.
- How well you follow your treatment plan.
One study says that people with heart failure have a life span 10 years shorter than those who dont have heart failure. Another study showed that the survival rates of people with chronic heart failure were 80% to 90% for one year, but that dropped to 50% to 60% for year five and down to 30% for 10 years.
A different study found that people who had heart failure and were discharged from the hospital had expected life spans ranging from three to 20 years, depending on various factors like age and gender. Its important to look at your specific situation when considering your prognosis.
How Does Heart Failure Affect The Quality Of Life And Lifestyle
With the right care and treatment plan, many adults still enjoy life even though heart failure limits their activities. How well you feel depends on:
- How well your heart muscle is working.
- How well you respond to your treatment plan.
- How well you follow your treatment plan.
This includes caring for yourself by:
- Taking your medications.
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What Are The Four Stages Of Congestive Heart Failure
The New York Heart Association developed the four stages of congestive heart failure depending on the functional capabilities of the heart.
- Class I: Patients will have no problem while performing physical activity.
- Class II: Patients will have minor limitations of physical capacity due to a marked increase in physical activity. This leads to weakness, increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, and chest pain, but they may be comfortable at rest.
- Class III: Patients with marked limitation of physical activity in which minimal ordinary activity results in weakness, increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, and chest pain however they are comfortable at rest.
- Class IV: Patients cannot carry on any physical activity without discomfort and have symptoms of heart failure or chest pain, even at rest.
Heart Failure Management Programs
Attending a specialised program for people with heart failure can reduce the risk of complications and having to go to hospital. Going to a program can also help you live longer and improve your quality of life.
Heart failure programs, sometimes called chronic disease management programs, are run by health professionals who work as a team to help you manage your condition. The team can include a heart failure nurse, a cardiologist, pharmacist, physiotherapist, dietitian or a psychologist.
When you attend a heart failure management program, youll get information to help you manage your condition. This can include:
- how to manage your heart failure medicines
- when to act if your symptoms get worse
- how to monitor your fluid levels and salt intake
If you have heart failure and havent been referred to a heart failure management program, ask your doctor to help you enrol. Some services are now available from your own home using telephone and internet services.
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How Is Congestive Heart Failure Treated
Doctors will assess the current health status of the patient to establish a baseline, and develop a long-term health plan. This may involve the optimization of medicines and therapies, adding new medication, or possibly enrollment in a clinical trial.
Stabilizing and/or reversing a patients condition often involves long-term, collaborative follow-up with a referring cardiologist or physician.
In serious situations, advanced therapies, which include mechanical solutions, a heart transplant, or hospice, may be offered.
What Is Congestive Heart Failure In Dogs
According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, congestive heart failure isnt a specific disease. Instead, its a condition that occurs when the heart is unable to pump an adequate amount of blood throughout the body, says Dr. Jerry Klein, DVM, Chief Veterinary Officer for the American Kennel Club. CHF can progress slowly, affecting one or both sides of the heart.
Before getting into the symptoms of heart failure, it helps to understand how a healthy heart is supposed to function. Firstly, the canine heart has four valves . Valves are located between the four chambers of the heart: the left and right atria and the left and right ventricles. In a healthy heart, the right ventricle pushes blood through the lungs so it can pick up oxygen. The left ventricle pushes the oxygenated blood into circulation so it can travel to wherever its needed in the body.
As the heart is pumping blood, the valves open and close, which is the sound you hear when you listen for the heartbeat. When a valve doesnt close properly or leaks, the blood doesnt flow into the following chamber and instead can leak back into the previous chamber, Dr. Klein says. Accordingly, a heart murmur can be an early sign that a valve is leaking. Instead of the lubb-dupp sound of a normal heartbeat, a heart murmur can have a swishing or whooshing sound. Though a heart murmur may be detected early in life, heart failure may not develop until much later in life, Dr. Klein adds.
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Which Dogs Are Most At Risk
Congestive heart failure tends to happen more often in middle-aged and older dogs, but it can affect dogs of any age, breed, or sex, Dr. Klein explains. Certain breeds are predisposed to dilated cardiomyopathy, including the Doberman Pinscher, Great Dane, Boxer, and Cocker Spaniel, suggesting that there might be a genetic component to this disease.
Small dog breeds may develop CHF due to mitral valve issues, which are the most common cause of this condition. Some large and giant dog breeds are prone to developing CHF because of issues like dilated heart muscles or cardiomyopathy.
How Long Can Dogs Live With Congestive Heart Failure
In general, dogs that are diagnosed with congestive heart failure can live anywhere from 6 months to 1 1/2 to 2 years. Other factors that affect how long a dog can live with CHF include:
- The age of the dog
- The severity of their condition
- Any medications the dog is taking
- How responsive the dog is to treatment
- Any underlying medical conditions, such as kidney disease or pneumonia
There is no cure for heart failure in dogs, Dr. Klein says. Early detection and proper management are crucial to improving a dogs prognosis and quality of life.
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Center For Advanced Heart Failure/cardiomyopathy At Brigham And Womens Hospital
The Center for Advanced Heart Failure/Cardiomyopathy, an integral part of the Heart & Vascular Center at Brigham and Womens Hospital , brings together heart failure experts, including cardiologists, interventional cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, cardiovascular imaging specialists, congenital heart disease specialists, and many others, to care for patients as one team. Together, the team tailors therapies to each patients needs, offering the latest medical, interventional, and surgical approaches to congestive heart failure treatment.
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Life Expectancy With Congestive Heart Failure
The life expectancy of someone with congestive heart failure depends on the type of heart failure, the cause, the stage of the disease, and how effective treatment is.
When heart failure results from cardiomyopathy or coronary artery disease, a person typically has a less positive outlook than someone with heart failure in its earliest stage.
Pacemakers And Other Devices
The heart has its own electrical system that regulates the heartbeat. With every heartbeat, there’s an electrical signal that travels through your heart, causing it to contract and pump blood around the body.
For some people with heart failure, the electrical system doesnt work properly. People with heart failure have an increased risk of abnormal heart rhythms , like atrial fibrillation. If you have an abnormal heart rhythm, you may need a pacemaker or device to regulate the heart rate and rhythm.
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Stage B Treatment Options
While stage A CHF is managed with lifestyle changes, the treatment plan for stage B typically includes taking medications regularly. People at this stage should still make the same lifestyle changes as those appropriate for stage A. However, your doctor may also prescribe additional treatments such as:
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers, if you arent taking any as part of your stage A treatment plan
- Beta blockers if youve had a heart attack and your EF is 40% or lower, if you arent taking any as part of your stage A treatment plan
- Possible surgery or intervention as a treatment for coronary artery blockage, heart attack, valve disease, or congenital heart disease
Congestive Heart Failure: Prevention Treatment And Research
Congestive heart failure is a serious condition in which the heart doesnt pump blood as efficiently as it should. Despite its name, heart failure doesnt mean that the heart has literally failed or is about to stop working. Rather, it means that the heart muscle has become less able to contract over time or has a mechanical problem that limits its ability to fill with blood. As a result, it cant keep up with the bodys demand, and blood returns to the heart faster than it can be pumped outit becomes congested, or backed up. This pumping problem means that not enough oxygen-rich blood can get to the bodys other organs.
The body tries to compensate in different ways. The heart beats faster to take less time for refilling after it contractsbut over the long run, less blood circulates, and the extra effort can cause heart palpitations. The heart also enlarges a bit to make room for the blood. The lungs fill with fluid, causing shortness of breath. The kidneys, when they dont receive enough blood, begin to retain water and sodium, which can lead to kidney failure. With or without treatment, heart failure is often and typically progressive, meaning it gradually gets worse.
More than 5 million people in the United States have congestive heart failure. Its the most common diagnosis in hospitalized patients over age 65. One in nine deaths has heart failure as a contributing cause.
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