People with heart failure once faced severely shortened lives. Today, proper use of medications and devices can boost the pumping power of a failing heart and help people with heart failure enjoy a good quality of life for many years, reports the October 2012 Harvard Heart Letter.
"When I started a heart failure clinic 30 years ago, few patients lived more than five years, and most of those with advanced heart failure died within two years. Now I see patients with advanced heart failure living 20 years," says Dr. Lynne Warner Stevenson, a heart failure specialist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital.
Clinical trials have identified therapies that most effectively control symptoms and prevent death. But not all therapies work in every person, and not every person with heart failure needs all these treatments.
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