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Congestive Heart Failure (cont.)

Support Groups and Counseling

Having the support of health care providers, family, and friends is essential to effectively coordinate all of the needs of a person with heart failure.

People with severe heart failure have special needs beyond standard medical care.

  • Advance directives are legal documents that tell doctors and hospitals what treatments you might not want, should you become unable to speak for yourself.
  • A living will provides instructions while you are still alive, for example, if you have specific wishes if your heart or breathing stops.
  • A medical durable power of attorney allows someone you designate to make medical decisions on your behalf, if you become unable to make these decisions.
  • pulmonary edema care may be required when you and your physicians agree that your prognosis for survival is poor. Professional hospice caregivers emphasize pain control and emotional support.

Medically reviewed by Robert J. Bryg, MD; Board Certified Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Cardiovascular Disease


Fuster, Valentin, et al. Hurst's the Heart. 13th ed. China: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2010.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/11/2014
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Heart Failure »

Heart failure is the pathophysiologic state in which the heart, via an abnormality of cardiac function (detectable or not), fails to pump blood at a rate commensurate with the requirements of the metabolizing tissues and/or pumps only from an abnormally elevated diastolic filling pressure.

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