Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Recognizing Signs And Symptoms Of Acute Heart Failure

Date:
June 4, 2009
Source:
European Society of Cardiology
Summary:
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 recognize the tell-tale signs of worsening condition and seek immediate medical help.

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.

 Heart Failure Congress 2009 is organised by the European Society of Cardiology and Heart Failure Association of the ESC, and takes place from 30 May to 2 June at the Palais Acropolis, Nice, France.

The presentation by Follath F. is entitled, "Apprendre aux patients a reconnaξtre les signes d'alerte."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Society of Cardiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Goldberg et al. Delays in Seeking Medical Care in Hospitalized Patients with Decompensated Heart Failure. The American Journal of Medicine, 2008; 121 (3): 212 DOI: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2007.10.032

Cite This Page:

European Society of Cardiology. "Recognizing Signs And Symptoms Of Acute Heart Failure." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090530094506.htm>.
European Society of Cardiology. (2009, June 4). Recognizing Signs And Symptoms Of Acute Heart Failure. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090530094506.htm
European Society of Cardiology. "Recognizing Signs And Symptoms Of Acute Heart Failure." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090530094506.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) — America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:  

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile iPhone Android Web
          Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins