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Congestive Heart Failure Final Stages

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Anorexia Or Cardiac Cachexia

Early Stages of Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

Patients may also experience profound weight loss, a loss of muscle and fat tissue and a loss of appetite. It may be helpful for them to eat smaller and more frequent meals, focusing on food that is high in calories and proteins and supplement drinks to ensure they get as much nutrition as possible.

What Are The Types Of Heart Failure

There are many causes of heart failure, but the condition is generally broken down into these types:

Left-sided heart failure

Heart failure with reduced left ventricular function The lower left chamber of your heart gets bigger and cannot squeeze hard enough to pump the right amount of oxygen-rich blood to the rest of your body.

Heart failure with preserved left ventricular function Your heart contracts and pumps normally, but the bottom chambers of your heart are thicker and stiffer than normal. Because of this, your ventricles can’t relax properly and fill up all the way. Because there’s less blood in your ventricles, your heart pumps out less blood to the rest of your body when it contracts.

Right-sided heart failure

Heart failure can also affect the right side of your heart. Left-sided heart failure is the most common cause of this. Other causes include certain lung problems and issues in other organs.

When To Euthanize A Cat Or Dog With Hearth Failure

Making the decision to say goodbye to your cat or dog is the most challenging part of pet ownership.

Congestive heart failure makes this moment inevitable, but it can still be tough to know when its time. So how do you know when to euthanize your cat or dog in heart failure?

In this article we will discuss the signs of a pet struggling in their heart disease, and help you understand when it may be time to let go.

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What Is The Treatment For Congestive Heart Failure

The treatment of heart failure depends on the exact cause, but it can usually be treated effectively. The overall goals are to correct underlying causes, to relieve symptoms, and to prevent worsening of the condition. Symptoms are relieved by removing excess fluid from the body, improving blood flow, improving heart muscle function, and increasing delivery of oxygen to the body tissues. This can be done by the various congestive heart failure treatments listed in this sections.

If the underlying cause of heart failure is not correctable by surgery or catheterization procedures, medical treatment is composed of lifestyle changes and medications.

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Moderate Stage Of Chf

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF): Symptoms, Stages, Life Expectancy

At Stage C, as the heart continues to fail, the person develops weakness and significant fatigue, shortness of breath or palpitations with the slightest physical exertion. She begins to limit activity because of these symptoms as she is only comfortable when resting. A doctor’s evaluation and testing shows moderate signs of heart dysfunction,

Other possible symptoms might include more visible edema of the lower extremities and the hands might also swell as the fluid congestion in body tissues increases. Shoes and rings might be tighter. The pulse might become weaker because of the struggling heart.

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Symptoms Of Congestive Heart Failure In Dogs

The standard symptoms of heart failure in dogs will vary based on the side of the heart that is affected.

While we often hear of the typical heart failure cough, there are many more signs to be aware of.

Some of the most common symptoms of CHF in dogs include:

  • Elevated respiratory rate, even when resting
  • Easily winded after activity
  • Blue tinged or muddy gums
  • Distended abdomen
  • Collapse
  • Passing out

If your dog is experiencing any of the above symptoms, its best to contact your veterinarian immediately for further care.

Can The Heart Repair Itself After Congestive Heart Failure

But the heart does have some ability to make new muscle and possibly repair itself. The rate of regeneration is so slow, though, that it can’t fix the kind of damage caused by a heart attack. That’s why the rapid healing that follows a heart attack creates scar tissue in place of working muscle tissue.

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What Happens When A Cat Has Fluid Retention In The Abdomen

This leads to fluid retention in the abdomen. If your cats abdomen feels squishy to the touch, and you notice a limp, with the affected leg having a cold feeling, this should be considered a medical emergency. Additionally, if fluid retention is not properly treated, it could lead to congestive heart failure.

Life Expectancy Of Heart Failure In Dogs

Stages of Congestive Heart Failure – Stage D (End-Stage)

Unfortunately, there is no cure for congestive heart failure in dogs.

Medical management can be effective in offering a dog more time, and making their life more comfortable as their disease progresses.

Though there is no known cure for CHF, daily medication and lifestyle changes can add significant time to their life.

If your dog has been diagnosed in the early stages of their heart failure, they may have anywhere from 1 to 3 years.

Early detection along with proper medical care can significantly improve a dogs prognosis.

However, if your dog is diagnosed with CHF when they have begun to display serious symptoms, their time may be limited.

These pups typically have a life expectancy of 1-6 months, and will need to be monitored closely for any sign of suffering.

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Is My Loved One Eligible For Care Heres When To Call Hospice For Heart Failure Heart Disease And Chf

  • End-stage heart disease, advanced heart failure and congestive heart failure symptoms to look for: chest pain, shortness of breath, cognitive decline, increased confusion, recurrent hospitalization for heart-related condition, treatment resistant dysrhythmias, fatigue, unintentional weight loss, significant limitations in physical activity, loss of appetite, anxiety, lightheadedness, fluid retention and/or swelling and increased sleeping.
  • The presence of other chronic disease or conditions such as diabetes or chronic pulmonary obstructive disease may also be a factor in determining eligibility for hospice care
  • A prognosis of 6 months or less, if the disease takes its regular scientific course. No one really knows a definite timeframe.
  • Curative treatment is no longer the patients choice or option.
  • Comfort care, symptom management, and goals of care are the primary focus.

Congestive Heart Failure In Cats

As your cats hear loses its function, fluid begins to pile up near the lungs. This results in a congestion of lung tissue, which is why it is called congestive heart failure. When this happens, the heart is unable to pump blood to other parts of the body and your cat will experience many painful symptoms.

Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure in Cats

Symptoms of congestive heart failure include:

Skipping meals

Falling over, weakness in legs

Blueness on tongue

Increasing heart rate

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Causes Of Heart Failure

Heart failure is often the result of a number of problems affecting the heart at the same time.

Conditions that can lead to heart failure include:

Sometimes obesity, anaemia, drinking too much alcohol, an overactive thyroid or high pressure in the lungs can also lead to heart failure.

How Does A Cats Heart Work


The heart of a cat has the same function as a human, with its main job being to provide blood and important nutrients to different parts of the body. The heart must pump blood 24/7 in order to keep your cats body tissues healthy and nourished. When your cats heart begins to lose its ability to pump the proper amount of blood, the cats body usually has other mechanisms to make up for it. However, as the problem gets more severe, it becomes known as congestive heart failure.

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What Should I Expect In The Last Few Days

As the end of life approaches, you might experience a number of physical and emotional changes. These are different for everyone. You might notice changes over weeks, days or even hours. Some of the changes might be the same as signs of a flare-up, so discuss them with your doctor or nurse.

Signs to look out for include:

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What Is Heart Failure

Heart failure is a term used to describe a set of signs that suggest the heart isnt pumping blood around the body as efficiently as it should.

Its most commonly caused by:

  • damage to the heart muscle, for example as the result of a heart attack
  • cardiomyopathy

It can also be caused by:

  • heart valve problems
  • a viral infection affecting the heart muscle
  • an abnormal heart rhythm
  • excess alcohol or recreational drugs.

Heart failure can be chronic or acute:

Acute heart failure is when the symptoms of heart failure come on suddenly, when heart failure is diagnosed for the first time, or if symptoms suddenly become worse during long-term heart failure.

Chronic heart failure is when someone has heart failure as a long-term condition.

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How Can Hospice Help Heart Disease And Heart Failure Patients

Many patients will have lived with congestive heart failure for a long time before reaching the point where hospice is considered. It is important to understand that even though treatment can no longer be given to lengthen a persons life significantly, there are still ways that their quality of life and comfort can be increased, and that is where hospice can prove valuable.

Hospice care is given to patients who are expected to live for six months or less. Although it may be difficult to determine just how long patients with this condition will live, worsening symptoms and deliberately turning down the opportunity to get life-extending treatment are both signs it is time to give hospice serious consideration.

It is important not to wait too long to contact hospice most families report that they wish they had started it sooner after seeing how much it helps. If you suspect your loved one is ready for hospice, talk to your doctor and request a hospice evaluation.

Signs It Might Be Time For Hospice

Congestive Heart Failure – What is CHF?

Patients are considered to be in the terminal end stage of heart disease when they have a life expectancy of six months or less. Only a doctor can make a clinical determination of congestive heart failure life expectancy. However, look for these common signs that the disease has progressed to a point where all involved would likely benefit from hospice services:

  • The patient has advanced congestive heart failure or advanced coronary disease with frequent episodes of angina .
  • The patient has an abnormal heart and suffers significant symptoms of fatigue, shortness of breath or functional decline.
  • Optimal treatment for the patients condition has already been provided and he or she is not a candidate for further surgical or medical intervention.
  • The patient has tried optimal treatment and made the personal choice not to pursue any further specialized treatment.

People often say, I wish I had asked about hospice sooner.1 Reports show early referral to hospice results in greater satisfaction for the patient and their caregivers. In 2015, seriously ill patients received hospice services for an average of 69.5 days, but given more time, hospice resources can supplement care provided by doctors and loved ones through a patients last six months of life.

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What Are The Symptoms

Some are easy to confuse with normal aging or other diseases. The more advanced your heart failure, the more likely you are to have many symptoms, or the changes that youâve noticed in yourself will worsen.

These are common ways that heart failure can affect you:

Shortness of breath. Heart failure can make it hard to breathe when you walk up a flight of stairs. With advanced heart failure, you may get winded in a shorter period of time, or you may have trouble even when youâre sitting still.

Sleep problems. Heart failure can make it hard to breathe or catch your breath when you lie in bed. You may have trouble nodding off to sleep, or you might wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air. Try sleeping while propped up on two or more pillows instead of lying flat. Advanced heart failure makes it even more likely youâll have trouble breathing when youâre at rest. That means your bedtime problems will probably get worse, too.

Coughing. You may already have a dry cough that acts up when youâre lying in bed. You might cough often during the day, and your phlegm could have a slight pink tint to it. That means thereâs a bit of blood in the gunk youâre coughing up. Advanced heart failure can make that cough worse, especially when youâre lying down.

Fatigue. Heart failure can make you feel worn out. Things that wouldnât have tired you out in the past suddenly do. Youâre more likely to feel tired all of the time with advanced heart failure.

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End Stages Of Heart Failure: What To Expect

Congestive heart failure is one of the most common reasons for hospital admissions for senior citizens. In fact, over 5 million adults in the United States experience heart failure.

Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle becomes damaged and can no longer pump blood effectively. Although symptoms can be managed, this is a chronic condition with no cure. In time, patients will reach the final stages of congestive heart failure.

Patients in the end stages of heart failure want to know what to expect. The symptoms of end-stage congestive heart failure include dyspnea, chronic cough or wheezing, edema, nausea or lack of appetite, a high heart rate, and confusion or impaired thinking.

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What Is An Ejection Fraction

An ejection fraction is a measurement of the blood pumped out of your heart with each beat, expressed in a percentage. It can be measured using an echocardiogram , multigated acquisition scan, nuclear stress test, magnetic resonance imaging , or during a cardiac catheterization. A normal ejection fraction is between 50% and 70%.

Stage A Treatment Options

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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

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Congestive Heart Failure In Cats When To Euthanize

Heart failure is always serious, but it is usually more aggressive in cats.

Most of the cats that I have seen with CHF will present in extreme distress, often combined with the stress of being in a clinic setting.

Cats are also more prone to experiencing sudden and severe complications from their cardiac disease, ranging from throwing clots to sudden collapse.

For example, cats are more prone to experiencing a condition called saddle thrombus if they have underlying heart disease.

This involves a large clot moving from the left atrium to the thrombus, leading to debilitating pain and paralysis in the affected limbs. This does not happen in all cats with heart failure, but it is serious when it does.

Due to the severity of the condition, many owners make the decision to euthanize at this point.

The most common signs of a cat with heart failure is respiratory distress.

Cats will often come into the clinic with open mouth breathing, unfavorable gum and tongue color, vocalization, along with extreme stress.

Some cats can be stabilized by hospitalization and oxygen therapy, while others cannot.

When it comes to cats, it usually comes down to how well they respond to treatment.

If your cat improves within 48 hours of receiving treatment, you may be able to take them home and manage their condition for a bit longer. However, if your cat is experiencing cardiac symptoms that do not improve with medical intervention, it is usually time to say goodbye.

Cardiac Cachexia Or Anorexia

Cardiac cachexia or anorexia is characterised by loss of appetite, profound weight loss and loss of muscle and fat tissue. You could suggest the person tries eating small, frequent meals. You should consider high calorie, high protein food, and supplement drinks. There are more tips on our page about hydration and nutrition. A dietitian may be able to provide you and your patient with further guidance.

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What Are The Types Of Congestive Heart Failure In Dogs

3 types of congestive heart failure can happen to dogs: left-sided, right-sided, and biventricular. Here is how they affect a canines cardiovascular system:

1. Left-Sided Congestive Heart Failure

This term refers to the backup of pressure affecting the vessels delivering blood to the left ventricle. Fluid accumulates within the lungs as a result, which is known as pulmonary edema.

2. Right-Sided Congestive Heart Failure

There is increased pressure in the vessels transporting blood to the right atrium as well as the veins and capillaries. This leads to right-sided congestive heart failure and fluid accumulation in the:

  • Abdomen

What Can Hospice Do For A Patient With Congestive Heart Failure Or Heart Disease

Stages of Congestive Heart Failure – Stage B

Your hospice team evaluates the patients status and updates the plan of care as CHF or heart disease symptoms and conditions change, even on a day-to-day basis. The goal of hospice is to manage symptoms and relieve physical/emotional distress so patients can live as fully as possible, retain their dignity and remain comfortable at home.

The hospice plan of care treats a wide range of heart disease symptoms, including:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Functional decline
  • Hypertension

When you turn to hospice, you are not alone in your journey your hospice care team is educated and experienced in advanced cardiac care, such as:

  • Monitoring and managing your symptoms
  • Communicating with your cardiologists office to intervene early and stabilize worsening conditions
  • Providing medication, oxygen and other medical equipment related to your heart disease
  • Providing services to reduce acute symptoms and avoid re-hospitalization
  • Providing an average of 5 home visits per week and proactive phone calls

Hospice offers comprehensive services for patients with heart disease, such as:

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