Ask your doctor

Congestive heart failure (abbreviated “CHF”) is a serious condition that requires immediate action. You may feel overwhelmed or anxious after receiving a diagnosis of heart failure. However, it is now of paramount importance to identify the cause of heart failure and assess its severity (symptom burden). The type of cardiac affection, which may be heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) or heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), may also affect your treatment. Ask your doctor and caregiver team! They are trained to help and give advice.

It is crucial to understand the evidence leading to your diagnosis of heart failure. When you are better informed, you feel more in control of your situation and can make the most appropriate decisions. An essential aspect is the knowledge of how to improve self-care. Usually, several types of medicines need to be taken, and a schedule of monitoring needs to be established. Typically, the disease itself as well as the treatment and monitoring efforts have a profound impact on your activities of daily living. However, if heart failure is treated comprehensively, its progression can frequently be reversed.

Again, ask your doctor and caregiver team! Be open! Remember, there are no “dumb questions”. Having all the information about heart failure will help you, your family members, and your doctor to better treat and control this condition. Working in partnership with your doctor and nurse is an important part of managing your health and ensuring you are receiving the best possible care.

You may find it useful to take a list of questions with you to your consultations and a notepad and pen to record the answers. You may also want to have a family member or friend with you to ask questions if you are not comfortable doing it alone.

In this section, we provide a list of questions you might want to ask your doctor or nurse and the reason why it might be useful to ask them. If you can’t find the question you’re looking for, try our Frequently Asked Questions section. Click on any of the topics to the left to view questions.

ESC Guidelines for Heart Failure

What patients need to know

This guide for patients from the European Society of Cardiology aims to provide an overview of the latest evidence-based recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure.

In particular, it should help patients to understand the:

  • main types of heart failure
  • medicines used to treat heart failure
  • devices that may be appropriate
  • importance of rehabilitation
  • management by a multidisciplinary team
  • importance of self-care in managing your own condition

Learn more


A series of 9 simple, captivating animations explaining heart failure and its treatment.

These narrated animations explain how a healthy heart works, what happens to it in heart failure and how various treatments work to improve your health.


In this section you can watch, listen or read interviews with other people with heart failure and their caregivers.


and share your own views and experiences with other patients, families and caregivers. is a European Society of Cardiology website

The website was developed under the direction of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The ESC is a world leader in the discovery and dissemination of best practices in cardiovascular medicine. Our members and decision-makers are healthcare professionals who volunteer their time and expertise to represent professionals in the field of cardiology in Europe and beyond.

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