Your source for up-to-date information on Heart Failure, it's causes, treatments, and latest news

Common Heart Failure Terms:

A surgical procedure that completely removes abnormal or dead tissues and creates scar tissue. There are many approaches to ablations, including surgery, chemical destruction or various energy sources.

ACE Inhibitors-(Angiotensin-converting Enzyme)
Medications that are designed to lower blood pressure. They work by relaxing the arteries, capillaries, and veins, allowing blood and oxygen to circulate at a more normal rate.

A steroid secreted by the outer layer (cortex) of the adrenal glands located at the top of each kidney. It functions to increase sodium re-absorption in the kidneys and balance potassium and sodium in the blood.

If a person is suffering from Anemia, they will have a low red blood cell (RBC) count (For men an average of 5,500,000, for women an average of 4,500,000 per microliter). Thus, less oxygen is carried properly throughout the circulatory system. Often, proper diet with a sufficient amount of protein (approximately 50 grams per day for persons over 4 years of age) can improve a persons RBC count.

An expansion of a blood vessel. When associated with Heart Failure, an aneurysm occurs on the LV resulting in a scar. If the scarred area becomes thin and begins to inflate with each Heartbeat, an aneurysm may occur. Previous Heart damage coupled with the aneurysm causes the Heart to have to pump more rigorously.

When renin is produced by the kidneys, contraction of the arteries occurs.

Angiotensin II
Powerful action that stimulates the contraction of the arteries (vasopressor) and stimulator of a hormone (aldosterone) that regulates the salt and water production and secretion.

The largest artery in the body. It is the main channel for delivering oxygenated blood throughout the entire body

Aortic Valve
One of the four valves in the heart. It is located at exit of the left ventricle of the heart where the aorta (the largest artery) begins. The aortic valve allows blood from the left ventricle to be pumped into the aorta but prevents blood once it is in the aorta from returning to the heart.

An irregular Heartbeat. Tachycardia arrhythmia occurs when the Heart Rate is more than 100 Beats per Minute (BPM). Bradycardia occurs when the Heart Rate is less than 60 BPM. Patients complain of a fluttering sensation in their chest.

Beta Blockers-(Beta-adrenergic Blocking Agents)
Used to prevent chest pain (angina), alleviate high blood pressure (hypertension) and in some cases, to prevent further heart attacks.

BNP-(Brain Natriuretic Peptide)
A blood test to help doctors evaluate cardiac function. This amino acid/peptide is secreted by the ventricles and is elevated in patients with aneurysms or lesions in the Left Ventricle (LV). The more severe the damage to the LV, the higher the levels of BNP. Normal BNP levels range from 0-99 picograms per liter. Abnormal levels of BNP range from 100-900 picograms per liter, depending on the severity of Heart Failure (HF).

Cardiac Arrest
When blood circulation stops suddenly, causing the blood supply to quit flowing through the Heart and circulatory system. Cardiac Arrest can result in instant death. In the US, about 1000 people die daily as a result of Cardiac Arrest.

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Articles and Latest News

Selected Articles of Special Interest:

Patients helped by remote monitoring, study finds

(April 13, 2007) - Remote monitoring of patients with chronic heart failure has a positive impact on clinical outcomes, according to a study published this week.

A review published in the BMJ found that structured telephone support or telemonitoring by a health professional reduced admissions to hospital for chronic heart failure and deaths from all causes by nearly one fifth and improved health related quality of life. More...

Depressed Heart Failure Patients do Better with Antidepressants

Montreal – (January 23, 2007) - A Canadian study that is being published in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association reports that 20% of heart failure patients suffer from depression. The study showed that while SSRI antidepressants were beneficial, standard psychotherapy was ineffective.
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Study Explores Cause of Exercise Intolerance in Heart Failure Patients

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. –- (November 21, 2006) -- A new study shows that blood flow to the legs is relatively normal in people with diastolic heart failure, suggesting that there must be some other explanation for the inability of these patients to do everyday activities, according to researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. This means that low blood flow with exercise, such as occurs with systolic heart failure, does not seem to be the problem. As many as half the patients with clinical heart failure have so-called "diastolic" dysfunction. To learn more, go to:

Immune system cells are linked to certain kinds of heart failure

HOUSTON -- (November 14, 2006) -- Certain cells recruited from the immune system play a central role in functional muscle loss that can result in heart failure caused by blocked coronary arteries (as in heart attacks), said Baylor College of Medicine researchers in a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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Depression, Not Antidepressants, Increases Mortality Risks in Heart Failure

DURHAM, N.C. -– (November 13, 2006) -- Depressed patients have an increased risk of dying from heart failure, and a new study by Duke University Medical Center researchers may help explain why. In a study of more than 1,000 depressed patients with heart failure, researchers found that it was the depression itself, not the use of antidepressant medications that increased the death rate.
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ACE inhibitor, a drug used in virtually every heart failure patient, may protect the heart from chemotherapy damage

DALLAS -– (November 14, 2006) -– A drug that has become one of the cornerstones of heart failure treatment, used to lower blood pressure and improve heart function, may also prevent injury to the heart caused by potent chemotherapy drugs, researchers report in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
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More evidence that exercise is good for heart failure patients - waltz your way to a healthier heart.

CHICAGO, Nov. 12 — Dancing may be a good alternative to other aerobic exercises, researchers reported at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2006. A recent study showed that chronic heart failure patients who danced at least three times a week improved their ability to function and quality of life.
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Combination of Personality Traits Increases Risk for Heart Disease

DURHAM, N.C. – (November 16, 2006) -- Frequent bouts of depression, anxiety, hostility and anger have been known to increase a person's risk for developing coronary heart disease, but combining these "negative" traits may even the risk, according to a study by by psychiatrists Duke University Medical Center. The significance may be that doctors will look at these personality characteristics the same way they look at high blood pressure, as something dangerous to the patient that should be treated early.
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Seven Years and Still Pumping

BIRMINGHAM, ALA. -- (November 15, 2006) -- Sumter, S.C., resident Sherri Selph was 41 in 1994 when first diagnosed with stage-two congestive heart failure. By 1999, her health had diminished so much that she was diagnosed with end-stage heart disease, and not expected to survive beyond the next six months. Then she had an artificial pump implanted to her heart, and seven years later, she has qualified for a transplant.
To read her story, go to:

Heart Failure ACC/AHA Staging System for Patients

Heart failure is a clinical syndrome that develops when the heart's muscle becomes weakened after it is injured (eg. heart attack) or as a result of disease which causes it to lose its ability to pump enough blood to supply the body's needs. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue and leg swelling...More +

Winning the Game with Heart Failure

The words “heart failure” sound ugly, scary, and hopeless. Unfortunately, the words have been around too long to change them now, but the meaning of the words has changed remarkably over the past decade. While “heart failure” at one time represented a condition for which there was little treatment other than trying to relieve symptoms... More +

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