Illness Profile: Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is a prevalent disease occurring among many people – each year, “there are 960,000 new cases of heart failure and just over 300,000 deaths” (Ferrell & Paice, p. 559). Average life expectancy generally fluctuates depending upon the severity of the condition. Life expectancy “prognosis depends on the stage and cause of CHF, as well as a person’s age and sex,” with 74% of patients with heart failure surviving the next 5 years, while the ones with an advanced form show the result of only 20% (Schiller, 2020). Heart failure does not imply that the heart stops working, but that it is working less efficiently and is not able to supply all the internal organs with oxygenated blood. Ferrell and Paice (2019) also note that “the disease trajectory is progressive yet highly unpredictable, with periods of high function interspersed with sudden life-threatening exacerbations” (p. 560). Prevailing symptoms of CHF include shortness of breath, either new or progressing, fainting, weight gain (more than 2kg per week), muscular fatigue, heart palpitations, chest pain, swelling of legs and abdomen (“Congestive heart failure (CHF),” 2020). There was a study conducted in 2016 claiming that “supportive interventions could lead to improvement of perceived support in patients, especially when the family members administrated the support,” which stresses the importance of family-oriented care (Shahriari et al., 2016). Another researcher, Schieller (2020), argues that among best-practice management of CHF, there is multidisciplinary, evidence-based, and patient-centered care. However, only the collective application of different practices that every unique case demands results in a better outcome for the patient. There are several agencies that support CHF patients and their families: first and foremost, American Heart Association, Adult Congenital Heart Association, Aortic Hope, and others.


Congestive heart failure (CHF). (2020). BetterHealth Channel.

Ferrell, B. & Paice, J. A. (2019). Oxford textbook of palliative nursing. University of Oxford Press.

Schieller, R. (2020). How long can you live with heart failure? Verywell Health.

Shahriari, M., Alimohammadi, N., & Ahmadi, M. (2016). Effects of a family oriented program on perceived social support in patients with CHF. Journal of Education and Health Promotion, 5(6). doi: 10.4103/2277-9531.184559

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