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Vol 8, No 2 (2009)
Review articles
Published online: 2009-03-30
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Heart failure as a subject for palliative care

Piotr Sobański, Sebastian Stec, Grzegorz Opolski
Advances in Palliative Medicine 2009;8(2):41-44.

open access

Vol 8, No 2 (2009)
Review articles
Published online: 2009-03-30

Abstract

Heart failure (HF) is a common end stage in any structural or functional cardiac disease advanced enough to impair the filling of the ventricles or blood ejection. If the degree of impairment makes the heart unable to cope with the actual demands of pumping blood, the diagnosis of heart failure is justified. The heart first disables the circulation during exercise and finally, in end-stage HF, even at rest. HF is a progressive process, usually only slowed by the treatment currently available. Thus from diagnosis, the disease will accompany patients for the rest of their lives, sometimes becoming the cause of death. A patient reaching end-stage heart failure should be considered for one of four treatment options: mechanical circulatory support; continuous intravenous positive inotropic therapy; a referral for cardiac transplantation; or hospice care. Before the patient is considered to have end-stage HF, all curable factors potentially causing a deterioration in cardiac function have to be actively explored and corrected. This paper focuses on patients for whom methods to improve prognosis and heart function have been exhausted. The number of such patients is increasing continuously. This is caused by the growing incidence of heart failure, improvement in the medical care prolonging survival, and progress in decreasing the number of sudden cardiac deaths in the early stages of the disease.

Abstract

Heart failure (HF) is a common end stage in any structural or functional cardiac disease advanced enough to impair the filling of the ventricles or blood ejection. If the degree of impairment makes the heart unable to cope with the actual demands of pumping blood, the diagnosis of heart failure is justified. The heart first disables the circulation during exercise and finally, in end-stage HF, even at rest. HF is a progressive process, usually only slowed by the treatment currently available. Thus from diagnosis, the disease will accompany patients for the rest of their lives, sometimes becoming the cause of death. A patient reaching end-stage heart failure should be considered for one of four treatment options: mechanical circulatory support; continuous intravenous positive inotropic therapy; a referral for cardiac transplantation; or hospice care. Before the patient is considered to have end-stage HF, all curable factors potentially causing a deterioration in cardiac function have to be actively explored and corrected. This paper focuses on patients for whom methods to improve prognosis and heart function have been exhausted. The number of such patients is increasing continuously. This is caused by the growing incidence of heart failure, improvement in the medical care prolonging survival, and progress in decreasing the number of sudden cardiac deaths in the early stages of the disease.
Get Citation

Keywords

end-stage heart failure; palliative care

About this article
Title

Heart failure as a subject for palliative care

Journal

Advances in Palliative Medicine

Issue

Vol 8, No 2 (2009)

Pages

41-44

Published online

2009-03-30

Bibliographic record

Advances in Palliative Medicine 2009;8(2):41-44.

Keywords

end-stage heart failure
palliative care

Authors

Piotr Sobański
Sebastian Stec
Grzegorz Opolski

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