Heart Health

What is palliative care for heart failure?

It involves specialized clinicians who provide additional care and support for patients and families in collaboration with a cardiologist.

By , Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter

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Thanks to medical advances in recent decades, people with heart disease now live much longer than in the past. As more people survive heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems, the number of people living with heart failure — when the heart struggles to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs — continues to rise. By 2030, nearly one in 12 people ages 65 to 70 will have heart failure, according to one estimate.

In 2022, leading cardiology organizations published guidelines for managing heart failure. The guidelines include an expanded range of medications that help reduce the need for hospitalization and may also prolong life. They also recommend palliative care for all people with heart failure. Yet only a small percentage receive this type of care.

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About the Author

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Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter

Julie Corliss is the executive editor of the Harvard Heart Letter. Before working at Harvard, she was a medical writer and editor at HealthNews, a consumer newsletter affiliated with The New England Journal of Medicine. She … See Full Bio
View all posts by Julie Corliss

About the Reviewer

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Christopher P. Cannon, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Heart Letter; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing

Dr. Christopher P. Cannon is editor in chief of the Harvard Heart Letter. He is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and senior physician in the Preventive Cardiology section of the Cardiovascular Division at … See Full Bio
View all posts by Christopher P. Cannon, MD

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