Cardiovascular & Kidney Diseases

Heart Failure

Heart failure is a serious debilitating condition with a major personal and public health impact. Heart failure affects more than 60 million people worldwide, posing substantial morbidity, mortality, and economic burden. Heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization in patients over 65 and the leading cause overall in the US and Europe. Every minute on average, 30 patients globally experience a worsening heart failure event.

Living with the condition means that the heart’s ability to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs is declining. As a result, daily life can become a struggle and simple activities such as walking, climbing stairs or carrying shopping, can become very difficult. Risk factors can include hypertension, diabetes mellitus, smoking, a past myocardial infarction, and coronary artery disease.


Despite advances in therapy and prevention efforts, heart failure remains as malignant as some common cancers. For many patients living with heart failure, symptoms continue to progress despite receiving guideline-recommended therapies. For example, symptoms can progress to a point where a patient really struggles to catch their breath. This can be very frightening and can lead to a decompensation event or worsening heart failure event, where hospitalization or IV diuretics are needed. Every minute on average, 30 patients globally experience a worsening heart failure event.


Symptoms are often non-specific and do not help discriminate between heart failure and other medical conditions. Tests to confirm a diagnosis of heart failure may include blood tests, an electrocardiogram, a chest X-ray, an echocardiogram, an MRI scan, and lung function tests.  Reducing risk factors such as high blood pressure may help prevent heart failure.

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Infographic: Heart Failure