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Heart Failure

How Serious Is Heart Failure?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 09:56

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

This depends on how severe the heart failure is.

If the heart failure is mild, it may not significantly affect a person's lifestyle and day-to-day living.

On the other hand, severe heart failure can affect a person's every move and can be fatal.

Thus there is a "spectrum" of severity from very mild heart failure to severe heart failure.

Treatment is essential in all types of heart failure, which can help significantly, and in most non-severe cases can allow the person to enjoy a normal and full life. Medication can also significantly help those suffering with severe heart failure to improve their day-to-day living and live longer.

Need To Know:

Physicians are able to determine exactly how severe heart failure is by calculating what is called the ejection fraction. This is the amount of blood, expressed as a percentage, pumped out of the heart with each heartbeat.

Normally the ejection fraction is 50-75%.

Heart failure can be "left-sided", due to failure of the pumping action of the left side of the heart, or "right-sided", due to failure of the pumping action of the right side of the heart (which is much less common).

  • In left-sided heart failure, the ejection fraction falls below 40%, and in severe heart failure, can drop to below 10%.
  • In right-sided heart failure the ejection fraction may be normal or even high due to the backup of blood entering the heart.
  • Left-sided heart failure is much more common than right-sided heart failure and may lead to right-sided heart failure.

 

Heart Failure