What are the types of heart failure?

Linda Rohyans
Cardiac Rehabilitation Specialist

Heart failure is described in many ways to help individuals understand the complexity of this chronic illness. The New York Heart Association (NYHA) has classified heart failure into four classes: Class I, Class II, Class III and Class IV. As the individual moves from one class to another, so do the severity and intensity of the reported symptoms experienced by the individual. As a compliment to the classes of heart failure, the American Heart Association (AHA) and American College of Cardiology (ACC) have identified stages of heart failure: A, B, C and D. Again, as the individual transitions from one stage to the next, the clinical severity of the individual's heart failure worsens.

The ejection fraction (EF) is an objective measurement that has been used to assist healthcare providers in the treatment of heart failure; as it is an indicator of how well the heart is able to receive and then pump the blood throughout the body, as the needs of the body require it. Left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD) has been a term used to describe an EF that is reduced; the "squeeze" of the heart has been weakened. A newer term for LVSD has recently been identified as "HFREF," meaning, Heart Failure with Reduced Ejection Fraction. Left ventricular diastolic dysfunction (LVDD) has been a term used to describe to what capacity the heart is able to "relax" in order to receive blood. Individuals with LVDD may have an EF that is within normal limits or preserved. The newer term for LVDD that has recently been identified is "HFPEF," meaning, Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction. Some individuals have a combination of both conditions with their heart failure.

There are many ways to describe and define heart failure, as you can see. So, the best way to stay on top of what is happening with your heart failure is to ask questions, learn about your health condition and have your health care team inform you as to your type of heart failure.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.