Get answers to your Heart Failure questions.
Cardiomyopathy; Congestive heart failure
Heart failure is classified into four stages (Stage A through Stage D) that reflect the development and progression of the condition. Treatment depends on the stage of heart failure.
The first two stages (Stage A and Stage B) are technically not heart failure, but indicate that a patient is at high risk for developing it.
Stage A. In Stage A, patients are at high risk for heart failure but do not show any symptoms or have structural damage of the heart. The first step in managing or preventing heart failure is to treat the primary conditions that cause or complicate heart failure. Risk factors include high blood pressure, heart diseases, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and previous use of medications that damage the heart (such as some chemotherapy).
Important risk factors to manage include:
Stage B. Patients have a structural heart abnormality seen on echorcardiogram or other imaging tests but no symptoms of heart failure. Abnormalities include left ventricular hypertrophy and low ejection fraction, asymptomatic valvular heart disease, and a previous heart attack. In addition to the treatment guidelines for Stage A, the following types of drugs and devices may be recommended for some patients:
Stage C. Patients have a structural abnormality and current or previous symptoms of heart failure, including shortness of breath, fatigue, and difficulty exercising. Treatment includes those for Stage A and B plus:
Stage D. Patients have end-stage symptoms that do not respond to standard treatments. Treatment includes appropriate measures used for Stages A, B, and C plus:
Whenever heart failure worsens, whether quickly or chronically over time, various factors must be considered as the cause:
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