Heart Failure Archive


Heart failure might be the most common complication of atrial fibrillation

A large observational study published in 2024 suggests that stroke isn't the biggest risk of atrial fibrillation (an abnormal heart rhythm condition). The biggest risk seems to be heart failure, a condition in which the heart is unable to pump blood effectively.

An inside look at aortic stenosis

Aortic stenosis occurs when the heart's aortic valve becomes stiff and calcified, narrowing its opening so blood cannot flow normally. This can cause symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, lightheadedness, fainting, and chest tightness. Neither lifestyle nor medications can slow or reverse aortic stenosis. People born with a bicuspid aortic valve are at high risk, but most people with aortic stenosis have a normal appearing valve. The only treatment is to replace the damaged valve using open heart surgery or a less invasive, nonsurgical approach called transcatheter aortic valve implantation.

What is palliative care for heart failure?

Palliative care for heart failure aims to improve quality of life for patients and their families by addressing physical symptoms, and also emotional, psychosocial, and spiritual issues. This may include treating anxiety and depression in patients and supporting caregivers, who may be dealing with stress and worry. Palliative care also includes talking with patients about their personal goals and what matters most to them, which can help guide their care as the illness progresses.

Can I improve my ejection fraction?

Ejection fraction is the fraction (expressed as a percentage) of the blood that the heart "ejects" out to the rest of the body when it contracts. Low ejection fraction signals one form of heart failure. An echocardiogram is the standard test to measure ejection fraction.

Prediabetes linked to higher risk of cardiovascular problems

Even slightly elevated blood sugar levels—a condition known as pre-diabetes—may raise the risk of cardiovascular problems. But attention to weight loss and greater use of medications to lower blood pressure and cholesterol appear to reduce the risk.

Are you missing out on this crucial cardiovascular therapy?

A 2023 study found that most people who are hospitalized for heart failure aren't being referred for cardiac rehabilitation. The rehab is a recommended, medically supervised three-month program (covered by Medicare) that significantly lengthens life.

Harvard study: Even weekend warriors achieve heart benefits

A 2023 Harvard study found that regularly squeezing a week's worth of exercise (150 minutes) into just one or two days—a "weekend warrior" approach—is linked to the same heart-healthy benefits as daily exercise.

Weather and air pollution linked to heart-related hospitalizations

Lower temperatures, high wind speed, atmospheric pressure, high precipitation, and high degrees of pollution may raise the risk of being hospitalized for serious heart-related conditions. Modeling these factors may help forecast future heart problems.

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