Heart failure (HF), occurs when the heart is unable to maintain blood flow sufficient to meet the body’s (organs’) needs. In some patients, the heart cannot fill with enough blood (Diastolic HF, or HF with preserved ejection fraction, HFpEF). In other HF patients, the heart can no longer effectively pump blood to the rest of the body (Systolic HF, or HF with reduced ejection fraction, HFrEF). Some patients may suffer from both effects.
Signs and symptoms commonly include shortness of breath, excessive tiredness and leg swelling. Shortness of breath is usually worse with exercise. In advanced stages of HF, shortness of breath may occur even while lying down. These symptoms drastically reduce patients’ quality of life and a large number of HF patients requires frequent hospitalizations.
Management of heart failure
The main treatment option for heart failure is medical therapy.
Medical management aims to improve the patients’ clinical condition, reduce secondary organ impairment, improve exercise capacity and quality of life. A key goal of current HF management is also to reduce hospital admissions.
Based on the current guidelines, combination therapy using several drug classes (i.e. drugs that work on deafferent by different mechanisms and targets) is recommended to achieve optimal effects. If HF management at home is no longer feasible, patients will need to be hospitalized. Because of additional diagnostic workups and the intensification of medical therapy, hospitalizations have a significant impact on the patients’ daily life and reduces his or her quality of life.
For additional information on HF or its treatment options, please consult with a physician.