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Chronic heart failure 

Chronic heart failure
Chapter:
Chronic heart failure
DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198832447.003.0010
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date: 12 May 2021

Heart failure is a complex clinical syndrome of signs and symptoms that suggest the ability of the heart to pump effectively has been impaired. It is distinguished by dyspnoea, effort intolerance, fluid retention, and poor survival. The prevalence of heart failure is around 1–2% in the adult population in developed countries, and 920 000 people in the UK have heart failure. The incidence of heart failure has decreased; however, the number of people newly diagnosed with heart failure has increased. This is thought to be largely due to an ageing population, improvement in the management and survival of people with ischaemic heart disease, and effective treatment of heart failure. The condition can occur in all age groups; however, the incidence and prevalence steeply increase with age. The average age at first diagnosis is typically 77yrs. Chronic heart failure (CHF) has a poor prognosis, the mortality rate for CHF being worse than for many cancers. It is estimated that 70% of those hospitalized for the first time with severe heart failure will die within 5yrs. However, this has been improving, with 6mth mortality rate ↓ from 26% in 1995, 15% in 2009, to 8.9% in 2016. This chapter will outline the aetiology, pathophysiology, and management of CHF, including considerations for palliative care.

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