Heart failure risk factors need a closer look

January 11, 2018, Baylor College of Medicine
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Assessing the risk of heart attack and stroke is a common practice among doctors and their patients; however, the risk factors for heart failure are not as clearly laid out or considered. A group of Baylor College of Medicine cardiologists are working together to bring awareness to the need for including heart failure risk factors in overall cardiovascular disease evaluations with the goal of preventing what could become the most costly cardiovascular disease in the coming years.

Their commentary is published in the latest edition of Circulation.

Heart failure is a form of disease and develops gradually over time as heart muscle becomes inefficient and leads to symptoms such as shortness of breath. It can result from a (a blockage of blood flow to ) but also from many other factors such as chronic uncontrolled .

"After the onset of symptoms of , the outcome remains poor despite the advance in therapies. That is why identifying early and focusing on prevention is critical," said Dr. Vijay Nambi, staff cardiologist at the Houston Veterans Affairs Hospital and associate professor of medicine—atherosclerosis and vascular medicine at Baylor.

Nambi, who is first author on the commentary, said reviewing and mirroring successful strategies that have helped prevent can help guide the efforts in preventing heart failure.

"There are risk scores to assess the risk of heart failure but they are not used regularly and are not included in the risk scores that are commonly used," he said.

Identifying certain biomarkers and advanced imaging techniques are ways to assess those at higher risk for heart failure with greater precision but the focus is more commonly on managing heart failure once it has been diagnosed rather than preventing it once risk factors have been identified.

Nambi, who also is a cardiologist with the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical center, said more research is needed to understand exactly how the risk factors lead to the development of heart failure and whether targeting those risk factors might prevent the onset of heart failure.

"Including heart failure along with heart attack and stroke in the overall cardiovascular risk assessment scores may help direct overall and disease specific preventive strategies," Nambi said. "If a person learns they are at higher risk for , they could then try lifestyle changes to lower that risk while also being treated for disease-specific factors such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels."

Nambi said there is currently no specific treatment to prevent heart failure; however, focusing on identifying those who are at higher risk of this disease is a starting point. This will lead to more clinical trials specific to heart failure, resulting in the development of more aggressive treatment risk factors or novel preventative options.

"This commentary is a collaborative effort that includes those who specialize in preventative care, heart failure treatment and research. Collaboration among groups of healthcare providers and researchers is what is needed as we move forward to incorporate heart failure into preventative efforts."

Explore further: Silent myocardial infarction linked to heart failure risk

More information: Vijay Nambi et al. Prevention of "Failure", Circulation (2018). DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.030645

Related Stories

Silent myocardial infarction linked to heart failure risk

January 3, 2018
(HealthDay)—Silent myocardial infarction (SMI) is associated with an increased long-term risk of heart failure, according to a study published in the Jan. 2 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Risk factors explain most heart failure risk in incident A-fib

June 19, 2017
(HealthDay)—Four modifiable factors account for most of the population attributable risk of heart failure among women with new-onset atrial fibrillation (AF), according to a study published online June 14 in JACC: Heart ...

Combined strategies better assess heart disease risks

June 2, 2017
A new strategy combining five separate medical tests provided a significantly better risk assessment of cardiovascular disease among adults, compared to traditional measures, according to a study published in Circulation.

Risk of heart failure up for rheumatoid arthritis patients

March 14, 2017
(HealthDay)—Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have increased risk of heart failure, according to a study published in the March 14 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Heart's pumping function is not an indicator of heart failure survival rates

November 12, 2017
Contrary to popular practice, a measure of the heart's pumping function known as "left ventricular ejection fraction" is not associated with the long-term outcomes of hospitalized heart failure patients, a UCLA-led study ...

Pregnant Asian women who develop high blood pressure at highest risk for heart failure hospitalization

November 14, 2017
Women who develop high blood pressure during pregnancy are more likely to experience heart problems within a few years of giving birth, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific ...

Recommended for you

Starting periods before age of 12 linked to heightened risk of heart disease and stroke

January 15, 2018
Starting periods early—before the age of 12—is linked to a heightened risk of heart disease and stroke in later life, suggests an analysis of data from the UK Biobank study, published online in the journal Heart.

'Decorated' stem cells could offer targeted heart repair

January 10, 2018
Although cardiac stem cell therapy is a promising treatment for heart attack patients, directing the cells to the site of an injury - and getting them to stay there - remains challenging. In a new pilot study using an animal ...

Exercise is good for the heart, high blood pressure is bad—researchers find out why

January 10, 2018
When the heart is put under stress during exercise, it is considered healthy. Yet stress due to high blood pressure is bad for the heart. Why? And is this always the case? Researchers of the German Centre for Cardiovascular ...

Two simple tests could help to pinpoint cause of stroke

January 10, 2018
Detecting the cause of the deadliest form of stroke could be improved by a simple blood test added alongside a routine brain scan, research suggests.

Heart-muscle patches made with human cells improve heart attack recovery

January 10, 2018
Large, human cardiac-muscle patches created in the lab have been tested, for the first time, on large animals in a heart attack model. This clinically relevant approach showed that the patches significantly improved recovery ...

Place of residence linked to heart failure risk

January 9, 2018
Location. Location. Location.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.