Patients at the Center of Heart Failure Treatment

Guest post by William T. Abraham, MD, FACP, FACC, FAHA Professor of Medicine, Physiology, and Cell Biology; Chair of Excellence in Cardiovascular Medicine; Director, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine; Deputy Director, Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute, The Ohio State University

William Abraham

Heart failure is a major and growing public health concern. With 6 million heart failure patients in the U.S. currently, and more than 500,000 new cases diagnosed each year, it is the most rapidly growing form of heart disease.

Heart failure occurs when the heart becomes either weak or stiff or both, and can no longer keep up with the body’s demands. This results in shortness of breath and fatigue and the inability to perform many normal activities.

While heart failure is associated with high risks of hospitalization and death, it is a manageable chronic disease syndrome when treated optimally. Recent evidence suggests that optimal heart failure treatment must include the patient as a self-caregiver. Under a physician’s direction, newer investigational tools that measure an individual’s specific treatment needs are empowering patients to manage their own heart failure at home. In a recent study, such an approach has demonstrated a marked reduction in the risk of hospitalization. Another study has shown that the use of a tool which allows day-to-day measurement of the fluid/pressure levels in the heart and lungs reduces the risk of hospitalization by 37% in a year and improves patient quality of life.

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