For general information on heart failure, visit the Understanding heart failure section of this website. However, if you want more information specifically about your heart failure, the questions below will help you to discuss this with your doctor.
What has caused my heart failure?
There are various causes of heart failure and so you may find it helpful to ask your doctor what has caused your heart failure. Don't be afraid to ask too many questions as it is important that you understand fully what caused your heart failure. Your doctor may also be able to tell you if there is anything that can be done to treat the cause of your heart failure.
Will my heart failure affect any of my other medical conditions?
Many people with heart failure also have other medical conditions. It is important to manage any other medical conditions effectively. If they are poorly controlled they could make your heart failure worse. Your doctor or nurse will be able to discuss your conditions with you and recommend what you can do to manage them as well as possible.
Is my heart failure likely to affect my life expectancy?
Heart failure is a serious, chronic condition that may gradually get worse over time. Eventually it can shorten your life. The progress of heart failure is unpredictable and different for each person. In many cases, the symptoms remain at a stable level for quite some time (months or years) without progressing. Lifestyle adjustment and treatment with drugs and devices may frequently stabilize your symptoms and prolong survival. Your healthcare team will work with you to manage your heart failure as well as ease symptoms, improve prognosis and prolong life.
What treatment do I require?
Once your doctor has explained the cause of your heart failure, he/she will recommend a suitable treatment. This may require lifestyle adjustments, medicine, a device or surgery. Your doctor may recommend further tests to assess the extent of your heart failure before he/she can decide on the correct treatment.
I do feel better on my medication. But how do I know if I require surgery or a device?
Whether you require surgery or a device will depend on the nature, cause and severity of your symptoms. Usually your symptoms along with the ECG and echocardiographic (ultrasound) examination will reveal the need for a device. Your cardiologist will inform you if surgery or a device is required and discuss any further investigations that may be necessary.