Heart failure: prevention, treatment and research (2023)

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  • Heart failure: prevention, treatment and research (1)

    Dr. Roger Blumenthal

  • Heart failure: prevention, treatment and research (2)

    Dr. Steven Jones

Congestive heart failure (also called heart failure) is a serious condition in which the heart does not pump blood as efficiently as it should. Despite its name,cardiac insufficiencythis does not mean that the heart has literally failed or is about to stop working. Rather, it means that the heart muscle has become less able to contract over time or has a mechanical problem that limits its ability to fill with blood. As a result, it cannot meet the body's demand and blood returns to the heart faster than it can be pumped: it becomes congested or pooled. This pumping problem means that not enough oxygen-rich blood reaches the other organs in the body.

The body tries to compensate in different ways. The heart beats faster so it takes less time to replenish itself after it contracts, but in the long run, less blood circulates and the extra effort can make the heart flutter. The heart is also slightly enlarged to make room for the blood. The lungs fill with fluid, causing difficulty breathing. The kidneys, when they don't get enough blood, start to retain water and sodium, which can lead to kidney failure. With or without treatment, heart failure is usually progressive, meaning it gradually gets worse.

More than 5 million people in the United States have congestive heart failure. It is the most common diagnosis in hospitalized patients over 65 years of age. One in nine deaths has heart failure as a contributing cause.

“To prevent heart failure, you need to prevent other heart problems,” says the Johns Hopkins cardiologist.Steven Jones, MD

(Video) Congestive Heart Failure Prevention and Latest Treatments


The best way to avoid congestive heart failure is to avoid the conditions that contribute to it or carefully monitor those conditions if they develop, says Jones.

  • Quit smoking, better yet, don't start.It is a major factor in arterial damage that can cause heart failure. Also stay away from secondhand smoke.

  • Eat healthy for your heart.The foods that help you are those that are low in saturated fat, trans fat, sugar or sodium. Think fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean proteins like skinless chicken, and “good” fats like those found in olive oil, fish, and avocados. Get practical ideas for eating for heart health ateat smart.

    (Video) Café Scientifique - Heart Failure: Prevention, Treatment & Transplantation

  • Lose pounds if you are overweight.along with the diet,Being physically active helps achieve this goal and is also great for your heart.

  • If you have another type of heart disease or related condition, follow your treatment program closely.Ongoing care and adherence to prescription medications, such as statins to treat high cholesterol, can make a big difference. "Recent research shows that a significant part of the long-term benefit of statin therapy is in preventing heart failure by preventing heart attacks and the coronary events that lead to them," says Jones.


There is no single test to diagnose heart failure. Your doctor will consider your medical history, family history, a physical exam, and the results of various tests. These tests can include:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG):A painless test that provides information about your heart's electrical activity, including how fast it beats and whether you've had previous heart attacks.

  • chest X-ray:An image of the heart, lungs, and other structures in the chest that reveals whether the heart is enlarged or if there are signs of lung damage.

  • BNP blood test:B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) is a marker hormone of heart failure severity and prognosis.

  • Echocardiogram:An ultrasound image of the heart. It is different from another test, the Doppler ultrasound, which gives an image of blood flow to the heart and lungs.

  • Monitor Holter:A measure of your heart's electrical activity, taken by a wearable device that you wear over a day or two.

    (Video) The Importance of Research for Heart Disease Prevention and Treatment

  • stress test:You walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike to see how your heart works when it has to work hard. If you are unable to perform a stress test, stress may be induced by administering a drug that causes a similar reaction.


There is no cure for heart failure. The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms and delay further damage. The exact plan depends on the stage and type of heart failure, the underlying conditions and the individual patient. Among the components of a treatment plan:

Lifestyle changes.These are the same changes that are applied to prevent heart failure. In addition, you may be advised to avoid salt (due to fluid retention) and caffeine (due to heartbeat irregularities). Your doctor will tell you how much and what kind of fluid you should drink, as fluid intake must sometimes be limited.

medicines🇧🇷 According to Jones, types of medications commonly prescribed include the following:

  • Vasodilatorsexpand blood vessels, facilitate blood flow and lower blood pressure.
  • diureticsadequate fluid retention.
  • aldosterone inhibitorshelp with fluid retention and increase the chances of living longer.
  • inibidores da ECAo ARB drugs improve heart function and life expectancy.
  • Digitalis glycosidesstrengthen the contractions of the heart.
  • Anticoagulants or antiplatelet agentssuch as aspirin help prevent blood clots.
  • beta blockersimprove heart function and chances of living longer.
  • tranquilizersreduce anxiety.

Surgical procedures.In more severe cases, surgery is needed to open or bypass blocked arteries or to replace heart valves. Some patients with congestive heart failure are candidates for a type of pacemaker called biventricular pacing therapy, which helps the two sides of the heart work together, or an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, which delivers a shock to the heart to convert a rapid heart rhythm. potentially fatal at a normal pace. Ventricular assist devices (VAD therapy) can be used as a bridge to heart transplantation or as a treatment in lieu of transplantation, says Jones. A heart transplant is considered a last resort, with success rates of around 88% after one year and 75% after five years.

Other treatments.Because sleep apnea, a condition in which the muscles that allow air to enter the lungs briefly collapse, is linked to heart failure, you may be evaluated and treated.

Living with...

Here are some of the things you'll want to do in addition to following lifestyle changes that can improve the health of a damaged heart:

  • Manage your symptoms.Heart failure gets worse over time, so you should become familiar with the changes in your body. Some of these can be treated with different medications. Weighing yourself daily is one of the easiest ways to keep track of fluid retention, indicated by a sudden increase. Swelling in the legs and feet can also mean that more fluid is building up.
  • Take control of your health.Track your blood pressure, weight, and other vital signs as recommended by your doctor. Do lab work as recommended, as it provides important clues about heart health and medication needs. A flu and pneumonia shot can help you avoid infections that would be especially hard on compromised lungs.
  • Try to stay positive.Congestive heart failure is a serious condition, says Jones, but with the right help, you can still lead a long and productive life. Since anxiety and depression, which can make you feel stressed, are common side effects, try to find outlets for your stress. It could be a support group or therapist, relaxing with hobbies you love, or confiding your worries in someone you trust.
  • Don't be shy about asking questions.Depending on the stage of the disease, your doctor will have different recommendations for how active you should be, including work, exercise and sex.


Johns Hopkins researchers are at the forefront of studying congestive heart failure. Among his recent discoveries:

(Video) Heart Disease and Stroke in 2022: Research, Treatment, Prevention

  • African Americans are at greater risk for congestive heart failure.This is due to diabetes and high blood pressure, not just running. In a study involving nearly 7,000 men and women, Johns Hopkins researchers were able to uncover the underlying reason why African Americans are known to develop heart disease more than any other race. When diabetes and high blood pressure are excluded, they are not at increased risk.
  • A simple blood test can determine which patients will do better after discharge from the hospital.Johns Hopkins researchers found that congestive heart failure patients with a certain level of a protein linked to cardiac stress were 57% more likely to be readmitted to the hospital.

Specialized in:

  • mechanical circulatory support
  • ventricular assist device
  • Advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology
  • Endocarditis
  • congestive heart failure (CHF)
  • Cardiac insufficiency
  • ischemic heart disease
  • hereditary heart disease
  • Polyarteritis nodosa
  • Cardiovascular disease with chronic kidney disease
  • cardiovascular disease
  • cardiac sarcoidosis
  • Coronary Unit

At another Johns Hopkins member hospital:

  • Howard County General Hospital
  • Hospital Memorial Sibley
  • suburban hospital
  • Ventricular Assist Device Program
  • Heart and Vascular Institute
  • Center for Proteomics Innovation in Heart Failure
  • Cardiomyopathies and Heart Failure Service
  • Cardiac rehabilitation and exercise

Find additional treatment centers at:

(Video) What is Heart Failure: Diagnosis, Prevention, and Treatment

  • Howard County General Hospital
  • Hospital Memorial Sibley
  • suburban hospital


Heart failure: prevention, treatment and research (3)

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy (ARVD/C) Best care for everyone Heart rhythms: what is normal or cause for concern? Heart drugs: the power of a team approach


How is heart failure prevented and treated? ›

You can control or eliminate many of the risk factors for heart disease by making healthy lifestyle changes and by taking the medications prescribed by your doctor. Lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent heart failure include: Not smoking. Controlling certain conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

What is the most effective treatment for heart failure? ›

Surgery. Medicines are the main treatment for heart failure, but for some people surgery may help. Operations that can help with heart failure include: heart valve surgery.

What is the new treatment for heart failure? ›

But new guidelines issued in April 2022 by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have added another drug class to the treatment list: a group of diabetes drugs called sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors. To continue reading this article, you must log in.

What preventative medicine is used for heart failure? ›

Beta blockers.

These drugs slow your heart rate and reduce blood pressure. Beta blockers may reduce signs and symptoms of heart failure, improve heart function, and help you live longer. Examples include carvedilol (Coreg), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol-XL, Kapspargo Sprinkle) and bisoprolol.

Can heart failure improve? ›

Heart failure caused by damage to the heart that has developed over time can't be cured. But it can be treated, quite often with strategies to improve symptoms. Successful treatment depends on your willingness to get involved in managing the condition.

What are the 4 pillars of heart failure treatment? ›

The four "pharmacologic pillars" of heart failure management are diuretics, beta-blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)inhibitors, and lanoxin, according to Pat Manion, RN, MS, CCRN, CEN, trauma coordinator at Genesys Regional Medical Center in Grand Blanc, MI.

Can you stop heart failure from progressing? ›

Treatments. Although heart failure is a serious condition that progressively gets worse over time, certain cases can be reversed with treatment. Even when the heart muscle is impaired, there are a number of treatments that can relieve symptoms and stop or slow the gradual worsening of the condition.

Can anything cure heart failure? ›

There's no cure for heart failure. Treatment aims to relieve symptoms and slow further damage. TheI exact plan depends on the stage and type of heart failure, underlying conditions and the individual patient.

What exercises help heart failure? ›

Choose an aerobic activity that you enjoy such as walking (outside or on a treadmill), stationary cycling, swimming, and rowing or water aerobics. Ask your doctor before lifting weights. Exercise should be done regularly to gain the benefits; national guidelines suggest most days of the week if not everyday.

What is the new technology for heart disease? ›

The new IVL technology allows physicians to fracture the problematic calcium more easily, safely expand the artery, place a stent and restore blood flow without unnecessary complications.

What is the first line treatment for heart failure? ›

Loop diuretics should be used as first-line agents, with thiazides added for refractory fluid overload. Diuretic treatment should be combined with a low-salt diet,8 a β-blocker, and an ACE inhibitor. The practitioner should begin with oral furosemide, 20 to 40 mg once daily.

How do you prevent congestive heart failure naturally? ›

Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, cutting down on salt, and exercising regularly, can improve your condition. Medications are also available to help your heart better pump blood. Complementary and alternative therapies can be helpful, too, when used along with standard medical treatment.

Can heart failure be reversed with exercise? ›

Can heart failure improve with exercise? It's important to remember that exercise will not improve your ejection fraction (the percentage of blood your heart can push forward with each pump). However, it can help to improve the strength and efficiency of the rest of your body.

Can you improve your ejection fraction? ›

The good news: Yes, you can improve your ejection fraction. Plus, there are many benefits of doing so. Treating heart failure can help improve your heart's function and get more blood flow around the body. As a result, this may reduce your heart failure symptoms, including shortness of breath and fatigue.

Can heart failure go into remission? ›

A proportion of patients will have remission of heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEFrem), defined by resolution of symptoms, normalization of left ventricular ejection fraction, and plasma concentrations of natriuretic peptides and by the ability to withdraw diuretic agents without recurrence of ...

How do you strengthen a weak heart? ›

7 powerful ways you can strengthen your heart
  1. Get moving. Your heart is a muscle and, as with any muscle, exercise is what strengthens it. ...
  2. Quit smoking. Quitting smoking is tough. ...
  3. Lose weight. Losing weight is more than just diet and exercise. ...
  4. Eat heart-healthy foods. ...
  5. Don't forget the chocolate. ...
  6. Don't overeat. ...
  7. Don't stress.
Feb 9, 2017

Can you live for years with heart failure? ›

Chronic heart failure is a long-term condition for which there's currently no cure. However, with medication, many people are able to maintain a reasonable quality of life.

What is the main treatment goal in managing heart failure? ›

The goals of therapy of HFrEF are to reduce morbidity (ie, reduce symptoms, improve health-related quality of life and functional status, and decrease the rate of hospitalization), and to reduce mortality.

How do you prolong your life with heart failure? ›

What you can do:
  1. Take your medicines exactly as directed.
  2. Weigh yourself every day to see if you are retaining fluid.
  3. Follow a low sodium (low salt) diet Monitor your symptoms every day.
  4. Ask your doctor about drinking alcohol.
  5. Control your body weight.
  6. Get regular physical activity.
  7. Quit smoking.

Can exercise make heart failure worse? ›

Years ago, patients were told to rest and give up activities. But, now, research shows that normal activity is safe for most people with heart failure. Being active may help relieve your symptoms.

Can your heart go back to normal after heart failure? ›

While the phrase may sound like a death sentence, the good news is that many people whose hearts are considered to be failing can make a virtually complete recovery.

Can your heart repair after heart failure? ›

The heart is unable to regenerate heart muscle after a heart attack and lost cardiac muscle is replaced by scar tissue. Scar tissue does not contribute to cardiac contractile force and the remaining viable cardiac muscle is thus subject to a greater hemodynamic burden.

Can you cure heart failure with diet? ›

Yoga, meditation, and stress reduction are also involved. Diet may be the biggest thing you'd change. The shift will be drastic if you're used to a typical American diet. “Just making moderate changes in your diet may be enough to prevent heart disease, but it won't be enough to reverse it,” Ornish says.

How to strengthen your heart? ›

Aerobic Exercise

How much: Ideally, at least 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week. Examples: Brisk walking, running, swimming, cycling, playing tennis and jumping rope. Heart-pumping aerobic exercise is the kind that doctors have in mind when they recommend at least 150 minutes per week of moderate activity.

What are 3 things that can worsen heart failure and why? ›

All of the lifestyle factors that increase your risk of heart attack and stroke – smoking, being overweight, eating foods high in fat and cholesterol and physical inactivity – can also contribute to heart failure.

What is the best sleeping position for heart failure? ›

Sleeping on your right side may be the best option for people with heart failure. Although some people think sleeping on your right side could restrict blood flow back to the heart, there's not enough evidence to prove that it's harmful.

What activities should be avoided with heart failure? ›

Exercises to avoid if you have heart failure

It's important to avoid exercise that involves heavy weight-lifting, or holding your breath. Don't do any exercises that use your whole body as a weight, such as press-ups or planks. And be careful if you're getting in the pool.

Is there any new research on heart disease? ›

Mar. 2, 2023 — Researchers have identified a new mutation that leads to the cardiac disease arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM). They assessed the effect of this mutation on heart muscle cells and obtained new insights into the underlying mechanism that causes the disease. The results of this study could ...

Can heart health be restored? ›

Q: Is it possible to reverse heart disease or the heart damage it causes? Dr. Tam: With medications, a healthy lifestyle, and dietary changes, the majority of heart conditions can be well-managed and stabilized, which can prevent the disease from getting worse. Certain types of heart disease can be reversible.

What is the number one heart disease in America? ›

Coronary Artery Disease

About 20.1 million adults age 20 and older have CAD (about 7.2%).

Can congestive heart failure be reversed naturally? ›

There is no cure for heart failure but taking medications like diuretics and beta blockers as well as making lifestyle changes like eating a heart-healthy diet, exercising daily, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress, and keeping your blood sugar and blood pressure levels within a normal range can help you ...

Which drugs increase survival in heart failure? ›


These drugs block the action of the hormone norepinephrine (which increases stress on the heart) and produce long-term improvement in heart function and survival and are an essential treatment in people with systolic heart failure.

What herb helps with heart failure? ›

Hawthorn berry, a traditional remedy for heart problems, is an approved therapy for congestive heart failure in Germany. By improving the heart's ability to metabolize energy and utilize oxygen, hawthorn has been shown to increase the heart muscle's force of contraction.

What foods prevent heart failure? ›

The best diet for preventing heart disease is one that is full of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish, poultry, and vegetable oils; includes alcohol in moderation, if at all; and goes easy on red and processed meats, refined carbohydrates, foods and beverages with added sugar, sodium, and foods with trans ...

What foods can reverse congestive heart failure? ›

Whole-food, plant-based
  • Fruits.
  • Vegetables.
  • Legumes (beans, peas)
  • Whole grains.
  • Home-cooked meals.
  • Nuts, seeds.
  • Low added sugar.
  • Low added salt.

What is the average age for heart failure? ›

In men, this typically starts around age 45, and in women, around age 55. This requires the heart to work harder to get the blood moving, the same way it is harder to pump water through clogged pipes. This extra workload on the heart increases the risk of developing heart failure.

How much water should you drink if you have congestive heart failure? ›

Your health care provider may ask you to lower the amount of fluids you drink: When your heart failure is not very bad, you may not have to limit your fluids too much. As your heart failure gets worse, you may need to limit fluids to 6 to 9 cups (1.5 to 2 liters) a day.

What supplements increase ejection fraction? ›

Carnitine. Carnitine is important for cardiac energy metabolism. Clinical trials have shown that carnitine supplementation improved cardiac efficiency, left ventricle ejection fraction, and 3-year survival rates in heart failure patients.

What is normal ejection fraction for a 70 year old? ›

55 to 70% – Normal heart function. 40 to 55% – Below normal heart function. Can indicate previous heart damage from heart attack or cardiomyopathy. Higher than 75% – Can indicate a heart condition like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a common cause of sudden cardiac arrest.

What is best exercise to improve ejection fraction? ›

What exercise is recommended to improve ejection fraction or heart failure?
  • Light stretching or light yoga.
  • Walking on a flat surface or around your home.
  • Walking a dog around your block.
  • Pilates or a gentle exercise class at the gym.
  • Swimming or water walking.
  • Gentle biking on a flat road.
Oct 27, 2021

How can I get a bigger ejection? ›

How to improve your ejection fraction
  1. Partner up with a doctor. Whether it's a cardiologist or your primary care physician, talk to a doctor about your symptoms. ...
  2. Be a heart detective. Put this on your doctor's to-do list, too. ...
  3. Get moving. ...
  4. Watch your weight. ...
  5. Go on a salt strike. ...
  6. Just say no. ...
  7. Say goodbye to stress.
Aug 12, 2019

What is the main goal or of treatment for a patient with heart failure? ›

The goals of therapy of HFrEF are to reduce morbidity (ie, reduce symptoms, improve health-related quality of life and functional status, and decrease the rate of hospitalization), and to reduce mortality.

Can ejection fraction improve? ›

The good news: Yes, you can improve your ejection fraction. Plus, there are many benefits of doing so. Treating heart failure can help improve your heart's function and get more blood flow around the body. As a result, this may reduce your heart failure symptoms, including shortness of breath and fatigue.

How can I make my weak heart stronger? ›

Seven Ways to Make Your Heart Stronger
  1. Eat a well-rounded, balanced diet. ...
  2. Don't sit for too long. ...
  3. Brush your teeth every day – and don't forget to floss. ...
  4. Quit smoking and avoid second hand smoke. ...
  5. Snack smart throughout the day. ...
  6. Get plenty of sleep. ...
  7. Recognize and reduce stress in your life.


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5. Inova Ask the Expert: Heart Failure — Prevention, Diagnosis and the Latest Treatment Options
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