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Heart Watch Blog: That Elusive Heart Failure

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Dec 22, 2005

That Elusive Heart Failure

That Elusive Heart Failure Image courtesy of Mississippi College
The increasing intricacy of congestive heart failure (CHF) patients and the extensive range of accessible therapies have led to the need for an integrated approach to analysis and cure that uses the skills of many health care disciplines.

In recent years, cardiologists have begun to observe acute heart failure syndrome (AHFS) as a distinct condition, not simply a part of the chronic heart failure continuum. However, there is not yet an agreement on a definition, epidemiology, suitable treatment and instructions for prospective research for acute heart failure syndrome, says a Special Report published in the Circulation journal.

Heart failure is the powerlessness of the heart to provide sufficient blood flow and oxygen to peripheral tissues and organs. "We've been successful in finding ways to treat chronic heart failure," says Dr. Mihai Gheorghiade, MD, associate chief, Division of Cardiology at the Bluhm cardiovascular Institute of Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "And, superficially it looks like we're successful at treating ACHF. Patients are treated, feel better and are discharged. The problem is that within 90 days of discharge, nearly 10 percent of patients die and about 30 percent are readmitted."

Even though acute heart failure is different from chronic heart failure, traditionally, cardiologists have treated chronic heart failure and acute heart failure in the same manner and have been unsuccessful in improving mortality," says Dr. Gheorghiade.

The report calls for organized investigative efforts on the scientific application and conversion of hopeful basic science outcomes and a focus on the option of suitable management strategies.


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Heart disease
About 13 million Americans (about 7 percent of the total population) suffer from coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death in American men and women amounting a staggering 20 percent of all causes of death. About half of all deaths related to cardiovascular diseases occur from coronary artery disease. Through this heart watch blog we will have our humble contribution towards making men and women aware of the risks of heart diseases.

Heart Watch Blog: That Elusive Heart Failure

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