The failing heart and skeletal muscle


Heart failure: a cardiac or a systemic disease?

Mario Marzilli, MD, PhD
Cardiovascular Medicine Division, Cardiothoracic Department, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
Heart Metab. (2014) 64:2–3

  • According to the American Heart Association, heart failure may be defined as a complex clinical syndrome that can result from any structural or functional cardiac disorder that impairs the ability of the ventricle to fill with or to eject blood. Five million people are estimated to suffer from heart failure worldwide, with over 1 million hospitalizations per year. About 65 000 new cases are diagnosed every year and the estimated economic burden amounts to $40 billion/year.

    The main manifestation of heart failure is fluid retention, leading to pulmonary congestion and peripheral edema, which results in dyspnea and fatigue that may limit exercise tolerance. The first hospitalization for heart failure is associated with a 4% in-hospital mortality rate. After discharge, 30% to 50% of patients die or are rehospitalized within 60 days of admission. Mortality is 20% to 30% after one year and 40% to 50% after 5 years.

    This issue of Heart and Metabolism offers a great opportunity for a better understanding of the central and peripheral abnormalities contributing to the natural history of heart failure. Read the full editorial…

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