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Understanding heart failure

Heart failure is a serious condition in which the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood to provide the body with oxygen. It is a progressive disease that is rarely cured. The condition is considered advanced when conventional heart therapies, such as medication, no longer work.

With the right treatment program, early intervention, and positive lifestyle changes, you or someone you know with heart failure can lead a normal and active life.


"Scott was critically ill and was going to die. Both my daughter and I are nurses, so we really did our research—we wanted the HeartMate II in Scott as soon as possible!"

Sandy Wife of Scott, HeartMate II recipient

Symptoms of heart failure

As the heart becomes too weak to pump enough blood, you may notice problems such as:

If you recognize any of these symptoms, talk to a doctor or heart failure specialist immediately.

  • Questions to ask your doctor

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  • Heart failure FAQs

    What you need to know Learn More
  • Take the self-test

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Class

How do you feel during physical activity? (ROLL MOUSE OVER APPROPRIATE CONDITION FOR NEXT STEPS)

  • I

    Mild. You may have some heart disease, but it doesn’t limit your activity, make you tired, cause shortness of breath or chest pains.

    You need to make lifestyle changes or begin to take prescribed medicines. Talk to a doctor.

  • II

    Mild. You may have some limitation of activity. Activity makes you tired, causes shortness of breath or chest pains.

    You may need medical therapy. Consult with your doctor.

  • III

    Moderate. You’re limited from most activities, but comfortable at rest. Even a little activity makes you tired though, causing palpitations, shortness of breath and chest pains.

    Act now. Advanced therapies such as LVADs (like HeartMate II) may be a real and timely option at this level. All class III heart failure patients should consult with a doctor, preferably a cardiologist or a heart specialist, immediately.

  • IV

    Severe. You cannot carry out any activities. You experience tiredness if any physical activity is undertaken, discomfort increases.

    Time is critical. Schedule an appointment immediately with a doctor familiar with LVAD therapy to determine if an LVAD (like HeartMate II) or another advanced treatment option, such as a heart transplant, is right for you.

Stage

What are your heart failure symptoms? (ROLL MOUSE OVER APPROPRIATE CONDITION FOR NEXT STEPS)

  • A

    You’re at risk for heart failure, but you do not have any of the symptoms of heart failure.

    You need to make lifestyle changes or begin to take prescribed medicines. Talk to a doctor.

  • B

    You have heart damage (for example, from a heart attack), but you do not have heart failure symptoms such as shortness of breath, tiredness, and the inability to exercise.

    You need to make lifestyle changes and may need to take medicines like ACE inhibitors or beta blockers. Talk to a doctor.

  • C

    You have heart damage (for example, from a heart attack) and/or you also have heart failure symptoms such as shortness of breath, tiredness, and the inability to exercise.

    Act now. Advanced therapies such as LVADs (like HeartMate II) may be a real and timely option at this Stage. All Stage C heart failure patients should consult with a doctor, preferably a cardiologist or a heart specialist, immediately.

  • D

    You have heart failure symptoms that are difficult to manage, even with medical treatment. This is sometimes called advanced heart failure.

    Time is critical. Schedule an appointment immediately with a doctor familiar with LVAD therapy to determine if an LVAD (like HeartMate II) or another advanced treatment option, such as a heart transplant, is right for you.

LVADs, such as HeartMate II, are recommended as a standard of care for New York Heart Association (NYHAX CLOSENew York Heart Association (NYHA) Functional Classification –A common scale that doctors use to measure heart failure. This scale classifies heart failure in categories from I to IV based on a patient's symptoms. In NYHA Class I heart failure, the mildest form, individuals can perform everyday activities and not feel winded or fatigued. NYHA Class IV is the most severe, and individuals are short of breath even at rest. ) Class IIIb (also known as severe Class III) and IV and severe American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology (AHA/ACC)X CLOSEAmerican Heart Association (AHA)/American College of Cardiologists (ACC) Stages of Heart Failure –A common scale that doctors use to measure heart failure in 4 stages. This classification system uses the letters A to D to define the heart's condition. The system includes a category for individuals who are at risk of developing heart failure. Advanced heart failure (AHF) is defined as Stages C and D. Stages C and D of heart failure.

If your current physician is unfamiliar with HeartMate II, there is no risk in setting up an evaluation for LVAD therapy at a HeartMate II Center near you, so you have an opportunity to evaluate other proven advanced therapy options. Enter your state/province or country in the Find a HeartMate II Center box at the top of this page. Hope is a click away.

For indications for use, contraindications, warnings, and adverse events view our HeartMate II safety information. Individual experiences, symptoms, situations, and circumstances may vary. Please consult your physician or qualified healthcare provider regarding your condition and appropriate medical treatment.

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I am an advanced heart failure patient seeking new treatment. I am a caregiver looking for treatment alternatives. I am familiar with HeartMate II and LVADs and want to learn more. My doctor has talked to me about HeartMate II/LVAD therapy, and I want to learn more.