As the incidence of heart failure in the United States continues to
rise, the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association have
developed new management guidelines that emphasize early diagnosis by classifying
the condition in stages, from the presence of risk factors to end-stage disease.
The guidelines denote four stages of heart failure:
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, more than 1
million patients were hospitalized in 2003 with a primary diagnosis of heart
failure; between 1980 and 2001, the rate of hospitalization for heart failure
increased by 62% for those aged 65 years and older. Early recognition and
proper treatment of hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery disease, and other
cardiovascular risk factors can delay or prevent heart failure.
Voelker R. New Heart Failure Guidelines Released. JAMA. 2005;294(8):892. doi:10.1001/jama.294.8.892