Following diagnosis of heart failure, there are many things patients can and should do to slow the progression of the disease. But there is still no cure. However, the outlook for an individual patient depends on the patient’s overall health, age, severity of the disease, and other risk factors.

End-stage heart failure is marked by deterioration of the physical heart and symptoms that persist in spite of treatment. The New York Heart Association (NYHA) system of symptom classification describes Class IV, or end-stage, heart failure as a condition in which a patient shows the typical symptoms of heart failure — such as fatigue and shortness of breath — “at rest, and any physical activity only increases the discomfort.”

End-stage patients may suffer serious damage to other organs due to lack of adequate blood flow. They may be at high risk of imminent death, and at a critical point, end-stage patients need some kind of support to survive. Such patients may be hospitalized awaiting a heart transplant, at home receiving continuous intravenous support, or supported by a mechanical assist device.