What Is Heart Failure?

Heart failure is where the heart does not work as efficiently as it should. This means that the blood cannot deliver enough oxygen and nourishment to the body to allow it to work normally. Heart failure often develops because of another medical condition, such as a heart attack or high blood pressure.

Heart failure is a very common condition and there are about 90,000 people living with heart failure in Ireland today. Up to 1 in 5 people is expected to develop heart failure at some point in their life, and the burden of heart failure on individuals, their families and the health service is increasing due to our ageing population, better survival after heart attacks, and risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and smoking.

Across the globe, 17–45% of patients admitted to hospital with heart failure die within 1 year of admission and the majority die within 5 years of admission.  Heart Failure is one of the most common causes of hospitalisation in patients over 65 years of age.  In 2008, there were more than 20,000 patients admitted with heart failure in Ireland, 90% of which were emergency admissions.

For further information on heart failure please click here.

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