Heart Failure is a progressive chronic disorder that results in the inability of the heart to pump blood efficiently to the body’s tissues.
Chronic heart failure is an increasing public health problem; the growing prevalence in industrialised countries means that 1-2% of the adult population of these countries are now thought to have chronic heart failure.1-3 Estimates suggest that the prevalence in Europe, USA and Japan could increase by approximately 16.5% over the next ten years.4
The prevalence of post-myocardial infarction heart failure is less well known as it is difficult to distinguish between pre-existing and incident heart failure. However current estimates suggest that approximately 1 in 5 patients hospitalised with an acute coronary syndrome either present with heart failure or develop heart failure during their hospital stay.5
Many of the signs and symptoms of heart failure are non-specific and vary in severity depending on the disease class. The most common of these are breathlessness, fatigue, exercise intolerance, and fluid retention as evidenced by ankle swelling, peripheral oedema, and an elevated jugular venous pressure.6
Due to the non-specific nature of symptoms, the diagnosis of heart failure can be difficult. Tests can include echocardiogram, ECG, chest X-ray, laboratory tests. Following a positive diagnosis heart failure is classified into functional classes that relate to disease severity.
Management of heart failure involves lifestyle modifications, pharmacological treatment and occasionally surgery. In patients with chronic heart failure, optimal therapy involves treatment with diuretics, ACE inhibitors, certain β-blockers and a mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist.
The Heart Failure Knowledge Centre brings together current information related to chronic heart failure and post-myocardial infarction, including:
- Symptoms and Diagnosis
- Treatment Options
- Zannad F, et al. Incidence, clinical and etiologic features, and outcomes of advanced chronic heart failure: the EPICAL Study. Journal of the American College of Cardiology 1999; 33(3):734-742.
- Cowie MR, et al. The epidemiology of heart failure. European Heart Journal 1997;18(2):208-225.
- Mosterd A, Hoes A. Clinical epidemiology of heart failure. Heart 2007; 93:1137-1146.
- Decision Resources. Chronic Heart Failure. Cardium Study No.4 A Pharmacor Service. 2008.
- Steg PG, Dabbous OH, et al. Determinants and prognostic impact of heart failure complicating acutecoronary syndromes. Observations from the Global Registry of Acute Coronary Events (GRACE). Circulation2004;109:494-9.
- NICE Clinical Guideline No 108. Chronic Heart Failure. National clinical guideline for diagnosis and management in primary and secondary care. 2010.