What is Heart Failure?


When I diagnose a patient with heart failure, the typical reaction, unfortunately, is hopelessness. I want patients to know that there is hope
in heart failure. And that a patient that is treated correctly with heart failure has
a significantly better life expectancy and quality of life than those that are untreated and undiagnosed. There are two types of heart failure. To
understand this complex disease I’m just going to show, a normal heart pumps like this. A heart that is stiff cannot fill with blood and so therefore it pumps very small amounts of blood. And a weak heart can fill but doesn’t pump out as much. So compared to a healthy heart a weak heart or a stiff heart is basically what causes heart failure. After we recognize that the symptoms we’re dealing with are heart failure we target the culprit. At the same time we treat with medications to relieve symptoms and medications to prolong life. The symptoms of heart failure are very
important because they actually describe the whole syndrome. When you have blood backing up because the heart pump is not working then what’ll do collect in the lungs and you
will have shortness of breath particularly with exertion or you can have swelling in
the abdomen or the legs. When the heart is not pumping blood forward, you have symptoms of fatigue, dizziness, light-headedness and this is also during exertion. The advice that I give to patients that
are diagnosed with heart failure is to form an action plan with a cardiologist that is
comfortable in treating heart failure. Because if you form an action plan and are on correct medications then the live expectancy based upon the Seattle Heart Failure Model can increase your average life expectancy from approximately 5 years to approximately 17 years. That’s
a really big difference.

One Reply to “What is Heart Failure?”

  1. Dr. Mariusz Wysoczanski, a Sharp-affiliated cardiologist, explains #heartfailure, symptoms and options for treatment.

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