Deaths from cardiovascular diseases have been declining in many countries; however, the incidence and prevalence of heart failure continues to increase in most countries. This is related, at least in part, to the increasing proportion of older people, a fact that is emphasized by the nearly three-fold increase in the incidence of heart failure in women. Good medical treatments are now available, and for refractory cases there are increasing numbers of surgical interventions available and new ones being devised. The morbidity and mortality associated with heart failure are higher than those associated with any other chronic condition. This article addresses the basis of heart failure, its appropriate management, and some of the newer treatments available.
Key words: heart failure, therapy, surgical treatment, ventricular assist devices.