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Heart Failure - What it is

​Heart failure happens when the heart loses its ability to pump enough blood, leaving the organs and tissues with insufficient oxygen and nutrients to function properly. This could be due to a weak or stiff heart. In congestive heart failure, there is a build-up of fluid in the tissues (an oedema).

heart failure conditions & treatments

While heart failure can occur at any age, it tends to occur more frequently in elderly patients. In comparison to the Western population, the onset of heart failure in Singapore occurs earlier and at a younger age. The average age of onset is at 50 years old in Singapore, as compared to 60 years old in the West. A significant number of heart failure patients also have pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus.

Classifying Heart Failure

Heart failure can be classified into two main groups: heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) or heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF). The left ventricle ejection fraction, which measures how much blood gets pumped out per cardiac cycle, is an indicator of how well the heart is pumping and can be used to help classify heart failure and subsequently guide treatment. The assessment of the heart function can be performed using transthoracic echocardiogram or cardiac magnetic resonance imaging.

In HFrEF, the pump function of the heart is weak, and patients usually have a left ventricle ejection fraction of less than 40%. This could be due to coronary artery disease or hereditary conditions. In HFpEF, the systolic heart function is normal (left ventricle ejection fraction of 50% and above) but the heart muscle is stiff. Consequently, there is ineffective filling up and pumping of blood around the body. Stiffness of heart muscle can occur due to a variety of reasons such as ageing, long-standing high blood pressure or obesity.

Heart Failure - Preparing for surgery

Heart Failure - Post-surgery care

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