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Heart failure: what is needed in case of heart failure

About four million people in Germany suffer from heart failure (heart failure). The disease is usually the result of a pre-existing condition. Experts explain how disease burden and mortality through heart failure can be reduced.

Heart failure is one of the ten most common causes of death in Germany and is a major contributor to sudden cardiac death, with more than 65,000 deaths per year. Heart failure is usually the end stage of cardiovascular disease or a consequence of non-cardiac causes (COVID-19, inflammatory diseases, cancer treatment). The German Heart Foundation reports in a current Messagewhich is necessary in case of heart failure.

The number of diseases will increase

In case of heart failure, the number of complete hospitalizations increases Hospital admission particularly high for those aged 65 and over (12 times more admissions among those over 65 compared to those aged 45-under 65).

Because of age development of society and thanks to today’s innovative therapeutic methods for heart disease underlying heart failure, a steady increase in this patient group can be expected.

In addition, there are high-risk diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, adiposity (obesity), infectious diseases and, more recently, COVID-19, which can lead directly or indirectly to damage to the heart muscle (myocarditis, cardiomyopathy) and permanent weakness of the heart muscle.

In the end, the “worst case” may be severe heart failure and a heart transplant or heart transplant heart replacement by cardiovascular support systems.

Not just prevention through a healthy lifestyle

The most common causes of heart failure are previous heart attacks that left permanent damage to the heart muscle, high blood pressure, and diabetes mellitus.

Therefore, heart failure cannot only be caused by a healthy person way of life can be prevented through plenty of physical activity, abstinence from smoking and healthy diet, which can also reduce the frequency of heart attacks and the onset of high blood pressure.

Timely and consistent treatment of hypertension and diabetes mellitus as well as high cholesterol levels can also prevent the development of heart failure, or at least that progress favorably influence.

According to experts, however, scientific studies in recent years have also impressively illustrated the major role of heart valve diseases such as mitral valve insufficiency and aortic valve stenosis, as well as cardiac arrhythmias such as than atrial fibrillation, in the development and progression of the heart. failure.

Heart failure is also associated with a heavy burden of co-occurring and underlying diseases such as high blood pressure, renal failure, diabetes and obesity as well as coronary heart disease (CHD) and atrial fibrillation.

Still not curable

Heart failure is still not curable, its progression can only be slowed down. “But we can do it with what we have medication better and better”, reports Prof. Medical Dr. Stephan Baldus, President of the German Society of Cardiology – Cardiovascular Research (DGK).

According to the information, the current 2021 treatment guidelines recommend a strategy based on four pillars based. These include the following four groups of active ingredients: ACE inhibitors/sartans or ARNI (angiotensin receptor neprilysin inhibitor), beta-blockers, mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists and of SGLT2.

In patients who suffer from fluid retention, diuretics are also added. Additionally, any underlying illnesses such as coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, or high cholesterol should be treated with medication.

If drug therapies do not provide sufficient improvement in the clinical picture, a so-called CRT system must often be used for cardiac resynchronization therapy. This special pacemaker system serves to synchronize the contraction of the ventricles and thus improves the pumping ability of the heart.

Consistent preventive and therapeutic approach

“So that stable heart failure does not get worse and there is a permanent increase in hospitalizations due to the derailment of symptoms (decompensation) comes, all medical measures should always focus on the underlying and concomitant diseases of heart failure”says medical professor Dr. Thomas Voigtländer, CEO of the German Heart Foundation.

The doctor and the patient must systematically unite to avoid this. therapeutic objective reach: “maintaining a healthy lifestyle with regular endurance exercise, adopting a healthy diet, quitting smoking, lowering high blood pressure, or adjusting LDL cholesterol and blood sugar to normal levels”according to the expert.

However, consistent preventive and therapeutic procedures are also comorbidities of essential importance.

improved long-term survival

For patients with severe end-stage heart failure Heart transplant of a donor organ gold standard. There is currently no complete artificial heart replacement for the human heart.

Fortunately, about 60% of patients live ten years or more after a heart transplant. Thanks to constantly developed and innovative drugs, especially immunosuppressants, this is improving long term survival continuous heart transplant recipients. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.

Sources:

  • German Heart Foundation: Heart Report 2021: What to do in case of severe heart failure?, (Accessed September 17, 2022), German Heart Foundation

Important Note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.

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