Heart Failure- IS THE EPEDEMIC OF THIS DECADE
Heart Failure (HF) is the final destination for ALL heart disease
54% of Deaths in India are due to some form of Heart Disease.
Point Prevalence of Heart Failure is said to be as high as 9%
22.5% of Heart Failure patients in India are below 30 years of age
Heart attacks, Heart valve disease and direct damage to the heart muscle (due to some virus infections or toxins like alcohol) account for majority of cases.
Symptoms of Heart Failure
Diagnosis of Heart Failure
Heart Failure is a clinical syndrome and is diagnosed mainly based on your symptoms as detailed above.
As you can see, symptoms of early heart failure can be very subtle but when diagnosed early heart failure can be treated effectively and prevented from progressing to advanced heart failure. Hence it is important to have a full clinical check-up (some form of Master Health check-up) periodically that involves consultation with a cardiologist and heart tests such as an ECG and echocardiogram.
There is a very sensitive blood test called BNP (Brain Natriuretic Peptide) or n-terminal-Pro BNP (nt Pro BNP) which is very useful as a rule out test (i.e. it may be elevated in other conditions as well as heart failure but if it is normal heart failure is ruled out).
An echocardiogram is a very useful test to confirm a very common form of heart failure called HFrEF (heart failure with reduced ejection fraction) where the heart muscle becomes very weak due to previous heart attack or damage to heart muscle from toxins or virus infection.
However, Echocardiogram may show normal pumping function but the heart may be stiff (as in situations like long standing high blood pressure) and lead to symptoms of heart failure. This from of heart failure is increasingly common, particularly in the elderly and is called HFpEF (Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction).
Treatment of Heart Failure
Previously only medications were available to treat a failing heart.
Optimal Medical Treatment (OMT) or Guideline Directed Medical Treatment (GDMT) still forms the first and main treatment for all patients diagnosed with heart failure.
Recently- several interventional options are available such as
1) CRT (Cardiac Re-synchronisation Therapy)
2) AICD (Automated Implantable Cardiovertor Defibrillator)
3) Ventricular Assist Devices (VADs) as destination therapy
4) Heart Transplant
These invasive interventions will improve symptoms and have the potential to restore decades of good quality life.
Early detection and intervention is the key to success with treatment, therefore, please do not ignore your symptoms and seek consultation early.