Prognosis of Heart failure


About prognosis: The 'prognosis' of Heart failure usually refers to the likely outcome of Heart failure. The prognosis of Heart failure may include the duration of Heart failure, chances of complications of Heart failure, probable outcomes, prospects for recovery, recovery period for Heart failure, survival rates, death rates, and other outcome possibilities in the overall prognosis of Heart failure. Naturally, such forecast issues are by their nature unpredictable.

5-year survival rate for Heart failure: About two-thirds of all patients die within 5 years of diagnosis.1
Deaths from Heart failure: 54,913 deaths reported in USA 1999 (NVSR Sep 2001); 39,000 deaths a year (NHLBI)
Complications: see complications of Heart failure

Prognosis of Heart failure discussion: How serious the condition is depends on how much pumping capacity the heart has lost. Nearly everyone loses some pumping capacity as he or she ages. But the loss is significantly more in heart failure and often results from a heart attack or other disease that damages the heart.

The severity of the condition determines the impact it has on a person's life. At one end of the spectrum, the mild form of heart failure may have little effect on a person's life; at the other end, severe heart failure can interfere with even simple activities and prove fatal. Between those extremes, treatment often helps people lead full lives.

But all forms of heart failure, even the mildest, are a serious health problem, which must be treated. To improve their chance of living longer, patients must take care of themselves, see their physician regularly, and closely follow treatments. 1

Heart failure is one of the most serious symptoms of heart disease. About two-thirds of all patients die within 5 years of diagnosis. However, some live beyond 5 years, even into old age. The outlook for an individual patient depends on the patient's age, severity of heart failure, overall health, and a number of other factors.

As heart failure progresses, the effects can become quite severe, and patients often lose the ability to perform even modest physical activity. Eventually, the heart's reduced pumping capacity may interfere with routine functions, and patients may become unable to care for themselves. The loss in functional ability can occur quickly if the heart is further weakened by heart attacks or the worsening of other conditions that affect heart failure, such as diabetes and coronary heart disease.

Heart failure patients also have an increased risk of sudden death, or cardiac arrest, caused by an irregular heartbeat.1

1. excerpt from NHLBI, Heart Failure: NHLBI

Last revision: May 29, 2003

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