Heart failure exacerbations are when heart failure symptoms get worse. This needs to be treated.
As heart failure worsens, symptoms get worse. Symptoms also get worse due to problems with treatment or another illness. Examples are:
Things that raise the risk of heart failure exacerbations are:
Symptoms may be a worsening of heart failure symptoms or new symptoms. They may be:
The doctor will ask about symptoms and history of heart failure. A physical exam will be done. Blood and urine will be tested.
The doctor will do tests to view heart and see how it is working. This can be done with:
Treatment depends on what is making symptoms worse. Causes will need to be treated.
Treatment options may be:
Lifestyle changes, such as:
Medicines may need to be changed. New medicine may be given, such as:
Medicine may also be given to:
The heart may need extra support to work well. Surgery options may be:
Exacerbations cannot always be prevented.
American Heart Association
Heart Failure Association of America
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Acute heart failure. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/acute-heart-failure. Accessed July 30, 2021.
Heart failure: rehabilitation. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at: https://www.ebscohost.com/nursing/products/nursing-reference-center. Accessed July 30, 2021.
Hirayama A, Goto T, et al. Association of obesity with severity of heart failure exacerbation: a population-based study. J Am Heart Assoc. 2018;7(6):e008243.
Treatment options for heart failure. American Heart Association website. Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-failure/treatment-options-for-heart-failure. Accessed July 30, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Dan Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated: 7/30/2021