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Heart failure in primary care

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Heart failure can be managed Heart failure can be managed but the prognosis is poor

Structural or functional heart abnormalities (cardiovascular disease) may result in heart failure as a result of reduced capacity to pump blood to oxygenate metabolising tissues. This is often due to coronary artery disease, which may have led to myocardial infarction.1

Heart failure may occur due to left ventricular systolic dysfunction which in turn causes a reduced left ventricular ejection fraction. In contrast, heart failure may occur with a preserved ejection fraction. This may be associated with impaired left ventricular relaxation rather than left ventricular contraction.1

NICE reports that approximately 900,000 people in the UK have heart failure with the average age of diagnosis being 76.1 The prevalence and incidence of heart failure increases with advancing age. It is reported that up to 2% of the adult population in the developed world may have heart failure.2

While heart failure can be managed, it has a poor prognosis: up to 40% of patients with heart failure may die within a year.1

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