Warning signs

Heart failure can be managed well with the right treatment and lifestyle adjustments, as recommended by your doctor or nurse. However, it’s important to monitor all your symptoms on a regular basis as heart failure can progress slowly.

You can use the list on the left or any of the links below to learn more about the symptoms you should be monitoring and what to do if they get worse.

You should call for help immediately if you experience:

Persistent chest pain that is not relieved by glyceryl trinitrate (GTN/nitroglycerin)
Severe and persistent shortness of breath

You should inform your doctor as soon as possible if you experience:

Increasing shortness of breath
Frequent awakenings due to shortness of breath
Needing more pillows to sleep comfortably
Rapid heart rate or worsening palpitations

You should discuss any of the symptoms below with your doctor or nurse:

Rapid weight gain
Progressive swelling or pain in the abdomen
Increased swelling of the legs or ankles
Loss of appetite/nausea
Increasing fatigue
Worsening cough

To help you monitor your symptoms, please click on the links below to find useful resources that you can download, print and fill in. You can then take these with you when you see your doctor or nurse and discuss your symptoms.

Symptom and event diary
Monitoring your heart failure chart
Warning signs leaflet

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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