End Stage Heart Failure: Things You Need To Know

This article throws more light on end stage heart failure, it’s causes, signs and symptoms, management and treatment, and how to prevent it in the first place.

When the heart can no longer pump enough blood to meet your body’s requirements, that is when Heart failure occurs. One thing a person with heart failure experiences is weakening of the heart over time.

Managing and treating this condition can help a person live with the symptoms caused by this condition; but the heart failure is chronic, and there is no cure for this condition.

The end stage heart failure comes in when the body can no longer compensate for the lack of blood the heart pumps. During this stage, a person might find it difficult breathing even when they are resting.

Causes of End Stage Heart Failure

End stage heart failure is not caused by a single condition. There are several conditions that can cause or contribute to end stage heart failure. The include but not limited to;

  • coronary artery disease
  • heart attack
  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • obesity
  • heart disease
  • valvular heart disease
  • toxins, such as alcohol or cocaine

Signs and Symptoms of End Stage Heart Failure

People with end stage heart failure or disease tend to experience all or some of these symptoms all the time even when resting.

A person with end stage heart failure may experience symptoms of cardiovascular disease, including;

  • difficulty in breathing
  • fatigue (always feeling weak)
  • abdominal pain
  • drastic weight loss
  • irregular heartbeat
  • kidney disease
  • liver conditions

Management and Treatment of End stage Heart disease

There is no cure for end stage heart failure. When it gets to this stage, people will need to make difficult decisions regarding how much treatment they would like without sacrificing their quality of life. They may also consider palliative or hospice care.

Palliative care

Palliative care aims to improve the quality of life for someone experiencing a life threatening condition.

Hospice care

Hospice care does not aim to extend someone’s life, but only manages their symptoms. People can receive hospice care if they agree to no longer take life-prolonging treatments.

Unlike palliative care, which can be given based on someone’s needs, hospice care can only help people with around 6 months or less to live.

Medical treatment

Medications for people with advanced heart failure may help them manage their symptoms. They include;

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers: These medications reduce levels or actions of angiotensin, which is a hormone that raises blood pressure.
  • Beta-blockers: This medication reduces heart rate and “cardiac work.”
  • Mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists: This medication reduces the harmful effects of aldosterone, a hormone that influences blood pressure by controlling the levels of salt and water in the blood.
  • Sacubitril/valsartan: This medication blocks the effects of the renin-angiotensin system that controls blood pressure and blood water levels.
  • Diuretics: These medications increase urine output and remove fluid.
  • Hydralazine/isosorbide dinitrate: This medication helps relax blood vessels and reduce blood pressure.
  • Digoxin: This medication increases heart muscle contractions.


The best way to help prevent heart failure is to make behavioral changes or establish habits that reduce the risk of conditions that cause or contribute to heart failure. They include;

  • eating a cardiac diet
  • reducing fat intake
  • reducing intake of refined or sweetened foods and drinks
  • only consuming alcohol in moderation
  • exercising regularly
  • staying hydrated
  • getting enough sleep
  • managing or reducing stress
  • treating medical conditions
  • not smoking or quitting smoking
  • maintaining a moderate body weight
  • limiting or reducing intake of heavily processed foods
  • reducing sodium intake
  • taking medications as prescribed
  • treating risk factors
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