Heart failure is the most common reason for hospital admission among older persons. The incidence and prevalence of heart failure are increasing as the population ages and becomes more obese. Patients who suffer from heart failure have a high mortality rate, even with modern treatment. The course of disease near the end of life is often marked by weight loss, breathlessness, anxiety, and pain. Although current evidence-based treatment allows patients to live longer after the onset of heart failure, the number of patients requiring end-of-life care for heart failure will continue to increase. Patients with heart failure, who are in the terminal or advanced stages of their illness, require an approach to medical care that includes relief of pain in the broadest physical, emotional, and spiritual sense. This approach to the treatment of the terminally ill patient, palliative care, differs from curative care by focusing primarily on symptom relief and patient preferences. Palliative care may be of great benefit to the patient when it is used to gradually supplant curative treatment as the patient's heart failure advances. Successful palliative care for patients with end-stage heart failure is best provided by a multidisciplinary team led by the patient's primary care physician, who is often the first to see the patient who has symptoms of heart failure. The primary care physician frequently continues to coordinate the patient's healthcare team as heart failure becomes progressively severe or terminal. Palliative care for patients with advanced heart failure is good medical care.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Advanced Studies in Medicine|
|State||Published - Sep 1 2003|
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