Navigation Links
Recognizing signs and symptoms of acute HF

Although heart failure is a chronic condition, acute exacerbations are frequent and occur with serious complications; patients with heart failure and their families can help improve prognosis in acute events if they are taught to recognise the tell-tale signs of worsening condition and seek immediate medical help. "Any delayed recognition of these signs is associated with an increased rate of hospitalisation and complications, including mortality," says Professor Ferenc Follath from the University Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland.

Speaking at Heart Failure Congress 2009, Professor Follath explained that around two-thirds of these acute events occur in patients with known heart failure, and around one-third as a first event in those with undiagnosed heart failure.1,2 Recognition of the signs and symptoms of a worsening condition, therefore, will help minimise any delay in treatment and reduce complication rates.

Citing existing data, Professor Follath said that heart failure patients and their families should be on the alert for any evidence of the symptoms presented by patients admitted to hospital for emergency treatment. These symptoms include:

  • shortness of breath (dyspnea), found to be evident in 92% of acute heart failure patients
  • peripheral oedema (in 35%)
  • cough (in 33%)
  • breathing difficulty when lying flat (orthopnea, in 30%)
  • chest pain (in 29%)
  • nocturnal dyspnea (in 28%)
  • fatigue (in 17%)
  • palpitations (in 7%)

Shortness of breath, said Professor Follath, is by far the most common presenting symptom, and families should recognise that it can be described in various ways from "suffocation" to "tight chest" to "heavy breathing". At the same time, he warned that many elderly patients with heart failure may have co-existing conditions with non-cardiac symptoms, and these may be misleading. Careful instruction, therefore, in a simple understandable way is essential to ensure early warning and speedy treatment.

An American study reported in 2008 found that patients hospitalised with acute heart failure had experienced considerable delays in seeking medical care (with an average delay time of 13.3 hours).3 Male sex, multiple presenting symptoms, absence of a history of heart failure, and seeking medical care between midnight and 6 a.m. were associated with prolonged prehospital delay.

"This is why it is so important to instruct patients and their families how to recognise the symptoms of acute heart failure," said Professor Follath, "to seek medical help without loosing critical time of hours or even days before appropriate treatment can be started."

According to Professor John McMurray, President of the Heart Failure Association of the ESC, cases admitted to hospital for acute heart failure had until recently a very poor prognosis, but the better identification of symptoms - and thus their more appropriate treatment - have brought about a 40-50% reduction in mortality rates in a short time.


Contact: ESC Press Office
European Society of Cardiology

Related medicine news :

1. DaVita Wins Eight Hermes Creative Awards Recognizing Excellence in Communications and Marketing
2. Recognizing cognitive impairment key to keeping older adults at home
3. New Partnership for a Drug-Free America 20th Annual Study Shows Progress in Teens Recognizing Dangers of OTC Cough Medicine Abuse
4. Launches a Dynamic Web-Based Series of CME Certified Activities Entitled: Recognizing and Managing Diseases of The Leg: A Self-Study Program
5. NARSAD Introduces Healthy Minds Across America, an International Event Recognizing the Toll of Mental Illness, on Sunday, Sept. 14
6. SAMHSA Celebrates National Childrens Mental Health Awareness Day By Recognizing Youth for Their Resiliency
7. Complementary Excerpt Available from Best Practices: Rewarding and Recognizing Top-Performing Sales People
8. Womens Sports Foundation Hosted The Billies, Recognizing Media Excellence in Womens Sports and Physical Activity
9. Recognizing outstanding young researchers
10. Recognizing someones name but forgetting how you met them is all in your head
11. Resolution Recognizing Pulmonary Fibrosis Challenges Overwhelmingly Passes House
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/29/2015)... ... November 29, 2015 , ... Key Housing, a top-rated ... announce their December, 2015, featured apartment community: Epic. In showcasing this featured apartment community ... the tight Bay Area rental market to efficiently find housing suitable to their needs ...
(Date:11/28/2015)... ... ... Safe storage for contraceptive devices may not always be easy to find. ... the other from Bradley Beach, New Jersey, there is an easy solution to the ... replace NuvaRings more often than necessary. As such, it affords peace of mind and ...
(Date:11/28/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 28, 2015 , ... Beginning November 30th at 6:00 a.m. EST ... the most savings. , With possible savings of up to 20% off orders $80 or ... homepage of the website every few hours. , As a competitive e-commerce website for skin ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 28, 2015 , ... There is only one major question facing all law ... , This question has not been an easy question to answer. Especially when the ... the younger workforce don’t share the same discipline around working long hours. , ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... According to an article ... of Toronto and the University of British Columbia suggested that laws requiring bicyclists to ... article explains that part of the reason for the controversial conclusion is that, while ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... Nederland, November 26, 2015 ... Een nieuwe aanpak combineert immunotherapie met Bremachlorin-photodynamische ... ) --> ...      (Photo: ) ... Universitair Medisch Centrum (LUMC) blijkt ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... -- 3D bioprinting market is expected to ... report by Grand View Research Inc. Rising prevalence of chronic ... transplantation is expected to boost the market growth, as 3D ... --> 3D bioprinting market is expected to ... report by Grand View Research Inc. Rising prevalence of chronic ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... DUBLIN , November 26, 2015 ... has announced the addition of the  ... in the Global Cell Surface Testing ... Opportunities" report to their offering.  ... the addition of the  "2016 Future ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: