Heart failure (HF) is an increasingly prevalent condition with a very high symptom burden. To address challenges faced by palliative care clinicians, we assembled a team of experts to provide high-yield tips for the management of these patients. Prognosis is unpredictable in HF and many patients and physicians overestimate survival. Ejection fraction, notably, is not predictive of prognosis. It is important to have thorough discussions about implantable cardioverter defibrillators in terminally ill HF patients. Diuresis is the mainstay of managing volume overload and dyspnea in these patients and it is important to be aggressive and creative to achieve symptom relief. However, HF patients have a high burden of comorbidities and have many symptoms beyond dyspnea as well. Management in hospice remains challenging for these patients, with a significant risk for readmission to the hospital. Almost a quarter of HF patients discharged to hospice from the hospital die in less than three days.
Warraich, Haider JavedRogers, Joseph GDunlay, Shannon MHummel, EllenMentz, Robert JengJ Palliat Med. 2018 Nov;21(11):1646-1650. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2018.0453. Epub 2018 Oct 11.