Health Topics

Heart Disease - Prognosis and Outlook

Heart Disease - Prognosis and Outlook

Heart Failure Treatment Plan

With the right care, heart failure will not stop you from doing the things you enjoy. Your prognosis or outlook for the future will depend on how well your heart muscle is functioning, your symptoms, and how well you respond to and follow your treatment plan.

In general, women with heart failure survive longer than men with heart failure 1-2 but remain symptomatic (ie. shortness of breath) and functionally more limited 3-4. Women with heart failure also require hospitalization more frequently than men.

Your health care team will help you manage your condition and help you stay on track with your heart failure treatment plan. It is important to keep regular follow-up appointments with your health care team, as well as to take your medications as prescribed, make dietary changes and live an active and healthy lifestyle.

Everyone with a chronic illness, such as heart failure, should discuss their desires for extended medical care with their doctor and family. An "advance directive" or "living will" is one way to let everyone know your wishes. A living will expresses your desires about the use of medical treatments to prolong your life. This document is prepared while you are fully competent in case you are unable to make these decisions at a later time.

- Eileen Hsich, MD, specialist in Women & Heart Failure