About my heart failure

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 may help you to discuss this with your doctor or nurse.

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’s important that you fully understand what has 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’s 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 may 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 adjustments and treatment with drugs and devices may frequently stabilise 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. It’s possible to live a good life with heart failure by working with your doctor and nurse and self-managing effectively.

What treatment do I need?

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 need surgery or a device?

Whether you need 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.

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.

heartfailurematters.org is a European Society of Cardiology website

The heartfailurematters.org 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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