Which Treatment is Right for You?
BOSTON, Sept. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The 15th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) will feature a debate session titled, “How do You Vote: The Weekly Meeting,” which will focus on the best course of treatment for an older patient with heart failure. Options to be considered include a heart transplant, a left ventricular assist device, or palliative care.
Dr. Heather Ross will be presenting the case for palliative care during this session. She argues that as the population ages, more and more patients will be treated for heart failure. Ross points out that there are currently 250,000-500,000 patients with advanced or stage D heart failure, and there are only roughly 2,300 transplants per year. Devices, another option for advanced heart failure, cost about $150,000.
“We need a healthy dose of reality,” Dr. Ross explains. “Transplants and devices are a scarce resource, and we need to evaluate whether older patients will fully benefit from these therapies. If we determine that they will not benefit, we must do a better job with palliative care to help patients who aren’t eligible for transplants and devices.”
The outcome of transplantation or device therapy for younger patients is much more positive than in older patients. With the scarcity of transplant organs and the high cost of devices, Dr. Ross, Rogers Chair in Heart Function, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada, argues that these are limited resources that should be used effectively. If a patient is not going to benefit a great deal from these therapies, doctors should focus on improving palliative care and making these patients as comfortable as possible.
For a complete list of annual meeting sessions or for details on attending the conference, call (617) 226-7183 or visit www.hfsa.org and click on Annual Scientific Meeting. There is no registration fee for accredited journalists. Interview areas will be available on-site in addition to a fully-staffed press room with phone and internet accessibility. You may follow news from the meeting on Twitter #HFSA
About Heart Failure
Heart failure is a progressive condition in which the heart muscle becomes weakened after it is injured, most commonly from heart attack or high blood pressure, and gradually loses its ability to pump enough blood to supply the body’s needs. Many people are not aware they have heart failure because the symptoms are often mistaken for signs of getting older. Heart failure affects 4.6 to 4.8 million individuals in the United States. Demographic and clinical evidence strongly suggests that the prevalence of heart failure will increase throughout the next decade. Ten to 15 years ago heart failure was considered a “death sentence;” however, recent advances in treatment have shown that early diagnosis and proper care in early stages of the condition are key to slowing, stopping or in some cases reversing progression, improving quality of life, and extending life expectancy. For more information on heart failure, please visit www.abouthf.org.
About the Heart Failure Society of America
The Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) is a nonprofit educational organization, founded in 1994 as the first organized association of heart failure experts. The HFSA provides a forum for all those interested in heart function, heart failure research and patient care. The Society also serves as a resource for governmental agencies (FDA, NIH, NHLBI, CMS). The HFSA Annual Scientific Meeting is designed to highlight recent advances in the development of strategies to address the complex epidemiological, clinical and therapeutic issues of heart failure. Additional information on HFSA can be found at www.hfsa.org.
SOURCE The Heart Failure Society of America