Our heart beats approximately forty-two million times a year, without interruption. But our lifestyle choices often affect how our heart works, leading us to heart failure. Heart failure is one of the most common causes of death worldwide. What is meant by heart failure? Heart failure does not mean that the heart has stopped working. It is a condition where the heart works at a reduced capacity and is unable to supply enough oxygenated blood to the body. Heart failure is often confused with other heart conditions, especially with a heart attack, which is the sudden stoppage of blood supply to the heart.
The mortality rate in patients with heart failure is over twenty percent. Whereas, in cases of advanced heart failure in untreated patients, the mortality rate would increase from 10% in the first month to 30% in the first year and 50% in the first five years. Therefore, it becomes very important to disseminate information about heart failure, its management and treatment. This is the task that the Times of India has set itself with its Beat Heart Failure initiative in partnership with Novartis. Many doctors from leading hospitals in India have joined together to strengthen this initiative and help people understand the condition of heart failure and the medical supremacy to deal with it.
One such discussion was with doctors from CIMS Hospital Ahmedabad to discuss heart failure management and cardiac rehabilitation therapy for people with heart failure.
Joining the discussion were the following doctors: • Dr. Prashant Deshmukh – Director of Operations • Dr. Dhiren Shah – Cardiothoracic, Vascular and Heart Transplant Surgeon • Dr. Milan Chag – Interventional, Heart Failure and Heart Transplant Cardiologist • Dr. Ajay Naik , Cardiac Electrophysiologist Director – Cardiology Arrhythmia and Heart Failure Devices Division https://fb.me/e/2SjkeLaE5 Everyone is susceptible to heart failure when exposed to certain conditions such as coronary heart disease, heart attack, diabetes, hypertension, valvular heart disease, congenital heart disease, degenerative heart disease and cardiomyopathy or acquired infectious causes such as Covid19, Dr Milan said to caution patients.
Explaining the rising incidence of heart failure patients in India, Dr. Ajay Naik said that people in the South Asian continent, especially Indians, are more prone to coronary heart disease and heart failure. In India, coronary heart disease occurs at least two decades earlier than in the rest of the world and attacks our young people.
The heart is more severely damaged due to the high prevalence of diabetes, hypertension and obesity. Fortunately, our current generation in India is more aware and knowledgeable about medical issues, seeking medical care, treatment on time, resulting in better notification of cases.
In addition, the increase in the average lifespan of the Indian population to over sixty-five to seventy years from forty-five years earlier adds to the age-related problems of the number of heart failures.
Tremendous advances in medical science, particularly in the area of cardiovascular disease, have made it possible to offer a treatment plan for every stage of heart failure, Dr Shah said. We would like to look at the causes of heart failure in a patient for the right treatment perspective. For the early stages of heart failure, certain medications are given, and as the disease progresses, treatment plans are updated. When there is a blockage in the artery or damage to the valves, angioplasty or surgery is recommended. Going further, when the heart beats irregularly, the pacemaker option can be exercised. For advanced stages, surgical options such as heart transplantation or artificial hearts are suggested.
A patient with heart failure who goes to the hospital not only requires appropriate infrastructure in the emergency care and inpatient department, but also a plan in place for transitional care, a care protocol for strong patients and systems for each of the hospital’s wings. A patient presenting to the casualty with the sudden onset of symptoms of heart failure would require optimal care. Thereafter, in the hospital’s inpatient ward, the plan is to stabilize patients to ensure they go home in confidence, Dr Prashant said.
Dr. Naik explained that when the heart failure patient is identified, either on an outpatient ward or admitted to an inpatient ward, who may have a history of acute heart failure scare or undergo certain procedures, our goal is to rationalize and institute systemic treatment management to ensure recovery and rehabilitation.
Dietary regulations and cardiac rehabilitation are the two important management techniques that patients should follow. Guideline-driven medical therapy is recommended, based on a checklist as practiced around the world, where medications should be prescribed by doctors and lifestyle changes should be adopted by patients.
A patient is expected to be physically active and involved in daily activities, and should not stay in bed after being diagnosed and treated for heart failure. The hospital wants to ensure that patients lead a comfortable life. Heart failure is a lifelong treat and requires lifestyle changes to avoid any complications. This may include lifelong restrictions on fluid and salt intake and giving up certain foods.
It is essential that the patient and their family are aware of the prognosis and the new lifestyles to be adapted by the patient, said Dr Milan. A patient after being discharged from hospital is referred to a heart failure clinic. A heart failure clinic is made up of a specialized and multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses and paramedics. A heart failure clinic plays an important role in minimizing hospitalization and re-hospitalization of patients.
Dr. Prashant mentioned that any treatment plan requires a team decision. The goal is to provide the patient with holistic treatment and follow-up, from medication to lifestyle management. A patient is expected to monitor their vital signs such as weight, blood pressure, and medication adherence daily. On-call consultations are also available with a doctor, if a patient is unable to come to the doctor.
Congenital heart disease, if managed in childhood, can be reversed and avoided any complications in adulthood. However, for advanced stages of heart failure, surgery is a more viable option, Dr. Shah pointed out. Angioplasty or bypass surgery is recommended when the heart is blocked. Valve replacement is suggested when heart valves are not working properly to prevent disease progression.
Doctors seemed confident and said 80% of heart failure patients survive after five years of treatment and rehabilitation. They can have a good productive life if identified early in the progression of heart failure.
The doctors also expressed their support for the creation of a kind of network of hospitals to take advantage of the strength available in the country, city or state.
People need to be responsible for their behavior, such as quitting smoking, managing salt and sugar intake, monitoring vital signs, lipid profile and eating a balanced diet, and coping with stress by practicing yoga.
Remember that heart failure is not about stopping. It’s about starting life in a new way. It can be managed with regular treatment and appropriate lifestyle modifications. To learn more about managing heart failure, go to https://www.toibeatheartfailure.com/patientguide.php Disclaimer: “The views and opinions expressed in the article by the panelists/experts are based on their independent professional judgment and are disseminated in the public interest. These opinions should not be considered a substitute for professional advice from a licensed physician. The purpose of this article is not to promote medical procedures or medications and/or recommend a certain physician. For any specific health concerns, please consult your licensed physician.” REP REP
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)