Thursday, July 29, 2010

The life expectancy of most CHF patients

Did you know most people who are diagnosed with congested heart failure (CHF) die within two years of diagnosis. This is true in most cases because CHF is usually secondary to the heart working overtime for a long time.

In some cases it occurs as part of the aging process, as an old heart is going to weaken at some point. In other cases it is diagnosed in younger people with lung problems, such as cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis, COPD, or other lung diseases. The heart gets tired of working so hard to push blood through the lungs.

In the case of lungs causing CHF, this usually starts by the right heart becoming a weak an inefficient pump after working so hard to push blood through the lungs, called cor pulmonale, and this ultimately results in the left heart working too hard and causes left pump failure, or CHF.

You see this quite a a bit in end stage COPD patients. Usually, however, atrial fibrillation precedes CHF in these patients. So if you have a patient in atrial fibrillation who also has COPD, you can start thinking of measures to prevent CHF, assuming that's the next evolutionary stage of their disease process.

Of course there are systemic diseases too that can cause the heart to poop out too, like high blood pressure, cardiac disease, etc.

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