The term heart failure is used when the heart no longer carries out its essential function of pumping blood and supplying all of the other organs in the body. The main causes are coronary artery diseases and hypertension. The commonest complications are dysrhythmias, thromboembolic events (clot formation) and kidney failure.
It is a severe progressive and often fatal disease. Almost half of patients die within a year after their first hospitalisation.


Class of Severity*
  Class I   Class II   Class III   Class IV
pix_bleu No symptoms pix_bleu Tiredness, palpitations, breathlessness after continued effort pix_bleu Symptoms and discomfort at the least effort pix_bleu Symptomatic at rest
pix_bleu pix_bleu pix_bleu pix_bleu pix_bleu
No limitation Moderate limitation Greatly limited Impossible (confined to bed)
*International New York Heart Association classification

The treatment of heart failure is mostly palliative: drugs, cardiovascular rehabilitation, multi-site pacing, conventional surgical revascularisation, mitral annuloplasty and mechanical circulatory assistance techniques, etc.

The only treatment for patients with advanced bi-ventricular heart failure who do not respond to any of these possibilities is cardiac transplantation.  However, fewer than 4,000 donor hearts are available each year throughout the world compared to over 100,000 patients waiting for a solution.