Congestive Heart Failure: Epidemiology and Diagnosis

Background Information for the PICOT

The chosen PICOT question targets the issue of congestive heart failure (CHF) and costs effective approaches to mitigating it. CHF is a condition that primarily affects older individuals and often leads to death. Moreover, CHF patients frequently are readmitted to hospital units for monitoring. These aspects affect the need for identifying a cost-efficient approach that would help patients manage their CHF. This paper aims to examine information regarding the epidemiology, clinical presentation, complications, and diagnosis of CHF.

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Definition

The term CHF describes some conditions with different causes, which affect the efficiency of the heart’s work. For instance, Cox (2017) states that coronary artery disease or a heart attack are among the reasons that may lead to CFD. However, a specific distinction with other heart-related illnesses is the buildup of fluids that obstruct the process of blood pumping. Additionally, CHF is a chronic condition, which requires constant attention from both the patient and his or her healthcare provider.

Epidemiology

The condition in question is a serious healthcare concern in the US due to a growing number of individuals with CHF. According to Ziaeian and Fonarow (2016), approximately 37.7 million people suffer from CHF globally. The authors note that the total spending on patients with CHF was estimated at $20.1 billion and is expected to increase by 2030 significantly. Ziaeian and Fonarow (2016) state that over 5.7 million citizens of the US were diagnosed with CHF, and each year approximately 870,000 patients develop the disease. The overall data provides an understanding of the fact that the number of CHF cases continues to increase with each year.

Clinical Presentation

The specific manifestation of CHF may vary, depending on a particular patient. Additionally, individuals with CHF may not experience any of the symptoms for years because the heart can compensate for its inefficiency. However, standard features include the inability to exercise, weight loss, abnormal perfusion, hypertension, and overload of the refractory volume (Ziaeian & Fonarow, 2016). Therefore, while measuring the pulse and pressure of such patients, one may notice that both are weak. Additionally, according to Cox (2017), the illness is usually “secondary to severe, overwhelming cardiac disease” (p. 109). CHF may be caused by a failure of either the right or left side of one’s heart.

Complications

The majority of complications arise from the heart’s ability to compensate the insufficient performance. For instance, it can enlarge itself to have more power for pumping blood. Moreover, the heart can develop more muscle tissue or increase the rate of its beating to work through a sufficient amount of blood. While these approaches help mitigate acute complications in the short term, the long-term consequences are weakening of the muscles and fluid buildup.

Diagnosis

The primary approach to diagnosing CHF is observing visible symptoms, such as ankle swelling and shortness of breath. Additionally, medical professionals can check a patient’s lungs to identify whether those have a fluid buildup by using X-rays (Ziaeian & Fonarow, 2016). Commonly applied tests include blood and urine examination as well as an electrocardiogram or an echocardiogram. The latter is designed to identify how much blood the heart can process in a specific period.

Conclusion with PICOT Question

Overall, CHF remains to be a severe health concern in the US and globally because each year, thousands of individuals are diagnosed with this condition. Due to the nature of development that CHF has, a patient may not experience symptoms for an extended period, which leads to complications. Therefore, it is necessary to identify approaches that can help support people with CFH in an efficient manner. The PICOT Question for this research is: among older adults with CHF in LRH cardiac units (P), does the Implementation of a plan to improve health literacy (I), compared with Frequent re-admission to the hospital (C), is more Cost-effective in the healthcare system (O), In 6 months (T)?

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References

Cox, S. (2017). Congestive heart failure. In A. Shanan, J. Pierce, & T. Shearer (Eds.), Hospice and palliative care for companion animals: Principles and practice (pp. 109-114). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Ziaeian, B., & Fonarow, G. C. (2016). Epidemiology and aetiology of heart failure. Nature Reviews Cardiology, 13(6), 368-78.

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