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What is the life expectancy for someone with advanced congestive heart failure?

30 answers | Last updated: Oct 14, 2015
anjilwing55 asked...

I'm a 52-year-old woman with advanced congestive heart failure -- stage 3. I was diagnosed in March 2006. I'm currently taking two diuretics (aldactone and lasix), digoxin, micardis, metoprolol, and cardizem. I'm also on several meds for chronic asthma/COPD, which has been a problem for several years now. I had a pacemaker/ defribrillator implanted in fall of '06; I have had only one episode of sudden cardiac arrest. I continue to be plagued with a resting heart rate of 125 minimum most days, which keeps me from doing a lot. I'm desperately looking for a straight answer as to my possible life expectancy if things continue at this current rate, so I and my family may take whatever steps are needed in preparation. Sorry for the length of this question and thanks in advance for your response.


76% helpful
Stephanie Trelogan answered...

Anjilwing55, I'm so sorry you're dealing with so many health issues – not to mention the uncertainty you're grappling with. I wish I could give you the straight answer you See also:
Heart failure stages: what to expect (and what to ask a doctor)
so desperately need; unfortunately, it's not possible. I'm assuming you've asked your doctor to tell you how much time you have left, and she probably told you that there's no real way to say. That is the absolute truth, believe it or not: it's been more than two years since your diagnosis, and if you continue to take good care of yourself, you could have years left. Caring.com expert Virginia Frantz recently answered a similar question about heart failure and life expectancy; you can read her answer here.

That said, I think it's always worth living your life as if it could end at any time, and this is even more important when you have a serious, chronic health condition. Your family and you should sit down now and talk about what needs to be done to get your affairs in order. Once you have sorted out those practical, mundane issues, you can get on with the business of living your life to the fullest.

Best of luck to you, and much love to you and yours.


More Answers
25% helpful
christychick answered...

My Mom lived with CHF for over 30 years. She had a great wonderful active life even with CHF. She recently passed away at age 60 on July 5th. There is no 'set' time limit put on your life. I am not saying it was always easy but she had a great full life even living with CHF. I wish you joy, peace & love and many happy years with your loved ones.



54% helpful
well, I'm just as ?? answered...

Hello, I just visited this place an hour or so ago. I need help in matters that are ugly in a legal way. But I am sending you this little e-mail because there are things YOU can do, not only to prolong your life, but make it easier. I have a doctor who supports my investigation of what is done in countries with medicine sometimes more advanced than ours. Japan and Germany are the 2 better known. First, after investigating and finding that some legal natural remedy is available, and how it is used etc.. I print this and share with him MD. I have been on stage III to IV since March 07. It's bilateral (considered worse) an ejection fraction of just barely 20%, so transplant is out. And in a way, this was an "accident" A dental infection caused an infection of the heart's lining. Feeling too tired, I lay around for a while which then caused no less than 3 simultaneous pulmonary emboli. The odds of surviving that was considered rare. I did,and for 3 weeks without treatment. Insurance issues... I periodically have an echo. At one time, it appeared my heart might be healing. It is interesting that it seems to loose ground when I have painful upsets. Lots, in fact. So, I learned to use meditation to calm my system. To calm palpitations and that chocking feeling, I use magnesium, a citrate base one is better absorbed. In Germany and Japan, an amino-acid (protein) TAURINE is the main medication used. I like it because if I take consistently, I feel a wonderful calm. Look it up & make sure to put the word: "studies" to prevent snake-oil vendors (joke) CQ-10, Vinpocetine, curcumin (tumeric) and definitely: wild salmon oil. Everything needs to be checked with what meds you take. Doc cannot be kept in the dark. Walk. Walk and walk.

12 meds= Mach '07. Lisinopril and diuretic now.

There is something powerful about doing your own research. A doc cannot be with us 24 hrs a day, and they can and do, miss stuff. When you research, you begin to get a picture of your own body. Doctors are beginning to appreciate patients who, in a way, become lab trials. Since my heart was so damaged, I had been told to make end of life plans. 6 months would be a miracle. It has been 2 1/2 years.

IMPORTANT. Never follow another's advise, check all on and for yourself.

Intend for all, what you wish for yourself. And the good you desire, wish it for all. Intentions are like boomerangs.

Love, Diana


25% helpful
Thick madame answered...

Anjilwing 55,Im 50 years old with Congestive heart failure,high blood pressurer, diabetics and im sorry to hear that you have CHF i know that we have good days and bad days and wish that this would go away but it want.And having this pacemaker/defribrillator is hard to get use to too. But GOD has the last say so in our life and you just have to keep believing in Him and hold your head up and dont let go of your Faith. I`m believing in GOD for you and me and everyone else with our problem. Best of luck to you and much love to you. GOD Bless You!


29% helpful
ralphrad answered...

I have had CHF and a EF of about 20% and I have had it since 1992. I had a massive heart attack. I have been in the ICU 3 times already this year with CHF fluid build-up around the heart. I don't get a lot of swelling around the ankles or legs. My fluid build-up is trunkal. So my point is, think positive always and just keep trying.


23% helpful
sjaweha answered...

I advise that a proper diet and excercise to your ability slowly. Diet means what you place in your body. Low fats hi fiber, whole foods, absolutly no processed foods and cut out red meats or all meats for a short time. Like a puification. Seek out a combination of both medical and holistic assistance. the earth has given us all we need and all the answers.

Dr. Schultz is amazing a living example of a Heart cure. Both parents died of heart disease and he was told he would die at the age of 23 or so because his parents both died of heart disease. he is alive at over 55 or 60 because he took responsility upon himself to R&D and started a huge successful Business helping others to help themselves and COME TO LIFE. He is amazing !!! Too Dr. Lorraine day a self healed cancer and healed her Mother of heart disease. use to be the head of Surgery at Unive. of SF. healed herself profundly and her Mother. Goolge the two above names and you will be saved and given a gift to yourself.



8% helpful
jacobite answered...

I was diagnosed with CHF, and had pills by the cart load. In France, the doctor thought I was off the wall, and assured me I had chronic bronchitus. That was 12 years ago.


50% helpful
HollyMarie0807 answered...

Hope for all:

My father was diagnosed with chf over 10 years ago. He was stage 3 (pushing 4). He has had 5 heart attacks, 2 open heart surgeries, numerous angiograms and stents put in. He has diabetes, obese, fibromyalgia, asthma, 40% working heart, and the list goes on and on. Doctor's have been shocked for years that he is still going. This is not to say that everyday of my life since I was 15 we know it can be his last. The doctors told him over a year ago he probably had only 6 months. Well, I got married last month and danced with my daddy so HA they were wrong.

The VA and University of Minnesota refuse to give him another angiogram because there are too many risks. DO NOT GIVE UP when you get turned down. Some Doctor at Mayo is giving my dad a chance and doing the angio on Wednesday (fingers crossed).

My point is....No one can know how long you have. My mother was told she had six months to live when she had cancer and she lived 2 years. Just keep on keeping on...hope for the best...and if it is your time to go, well then, it's your time. ;o/

Do not let a number be your death sentence. I believe once you start thinking that then you created your sentence. HOWEVER, I do think you need to be prepared and take care of all loose ends and wills....being prepared is different than expecting the worse!

Good luck to All.


30% helpful
Broken answered...

hi Anjilwing55 :) , I too, was in the same situation.Altough I have a HUGE phobia about hospitals and doctors and stopped going a few yrs back.

I will only go to the ER in a case that i can't breathe or the chest pains are incredibly painful. I have 6 LAD stents, and a triple bypass (all several yrs back). They had to "go back in" a 2nd time with the bypass surgery due to internal bleeding-None the less the bypass surgery left alot of problems that i suffer with everyday. There was alot of nerve damage done to the (thoracic )my chest ,and the heart lung machine caused a pleurotic lesion that will never heal which developed into 'COPD' . Because of the COPD- I couldn't even be put on the transplant list for a heart...

For the first 4-5 yrs I've been on every medication on the market-each one causing side effects that made the situation worse-or made my existence unbearable. As for the nerve damage done to the chest-wearing a 'baggy' shirt that was 3-4 sizes bigger than me-as the only relief i could immediately find-but the pain was unbelievable when anything touched the skin. I also had the sternal wires sticking out of my skin at the top of my sternum (near my neck ) which used to get hooked onto my hair, my clothing etc. I couldn't find a dr that would help with that...not even the original cardio thoraic surgeon. I spent alot of time at 'Pain Management'... and seemed to spend most of my time sleeping through the pain-on pain management meds.. Between angina... repiratory problems & breathing.. i really couldn't see the point of these dr's handing me all kinds of meds.... each with their own form of tortorous side effects that made " life"- or just "Existing" unbearable I've gone through 5 cardiologists (after being with each one for at least a year)-while each one would tell me how seriously damaged my heart was and the damage was irreversible. Each dr tried to talk me into get the ICD-of which i researched carefully and for great lengths of time.. .....But I kept coming back to what is already IN my body.. and how the quality of life seems non existent. I refused.. and still refuse.The Dr's have insisted that 'sudden death' is a high possiblity -even yrs back... plus i have 'Sleep Apnea' I am dependent on Oxygen Cannisters and an Oxygen Regulator. I can barely walk.. my body has limited my 'activities' to bare minimuns, and I've had the appetite of a sickly bird since the beginning-which i'll chalk up the medications. I can't sleep.. unless i'm propped up with 3 thick pillows. I've experimented with hemeopathic remedies which offer the tiniest bit of help-even if it's psycological.. and take an aspirin a day. I've always been 'thin', active, athletic and on the go.Never did drugs,or abused alcohol etc. Was rarely sick.. never even had the flu or allergies.I only came to find out a year after the bypass surgery.. that heart problems are congenital-but no one ever spoke of them. Like i said... i have a horrible phobia about dr's and hospitals.. but will go when i am almost suffocating.. or the chest pains are unmanagable and unbearable. My last 'visit' to the ER showed that i have Pneumonia (I can barely tolerate to get once a month with help,in wheel chair w/ portable O2-to the store -) ,and that half my body weight is water-and i'm drowning inside. Needless to say after all the testing.. that my Ejection Fraction is 13, I have CHF stage 3, Class 3 with COPD, etc etc... i was given a total of 14 different meds, and several serious speeches about my condition... yet no one would give me even a vague idea of how long. Again-they tried to implore me to get the ICD-with no guarantees that even with the ICD-that i won't end up with brain damage on life support. And Again -most of the medications had side effects that made me feel worse than before i got there. I'd take just the water pill,and what i usually take. I have fantastic health & pharmacutical insurance.. but i always get the feeling.. that the better the insurance... the more tests,"procedures" and pills i'll get.. which i tell them i won't take anyway. Once i start to feel 'alittle' better.. when in the hospital... (which isn't saying much)..and i my "usual" breathing is back-I sign out "AMA"- and have a cab take me home.

Like yourself.. I too wanted to know the Prognosis/ Mortality...so i could at least have time to get my affairs in order. ***My advice to you - is that you have your affairs in order regardless. I believe everyone should have theirs done... as one never knows what tomorrow holds. I have my living will and other papers in order...-just to give myself piece of mind. The same for you... if it offers nothing else... you will have piece of mind.. that you are prepared. My children are grown adults.. and married.. and they all have their 'affairs in order'... . Better to be prepared.


47% helpful
Dgibson969 answered...

I was diagnoised with CHF at age 46 with an EF of 15%. No episode, leaning towards rheumatic fever when I was young. Artries are wide open thanks to chelation EDTA, and Cardio Renew. Now, that my heart has been medicated and has had time to remodel itself. I have a 30-35% EF. I'm take 80mg of Lasix ace inhibutors, calcium blockers and potassium. I take the xanax.025 mg before bedtime. I'm a class III I guess no dry coughing but can get short of breath with continous movement. I'm now 54 and still get things done but nap several times a day. My best advice is, stay away from the salt shaker, deep fried foods, mashed potatoes, bacon, pork, anythiong that has hidden or high concentrations of salt. Do your own cooking, Oatmeal is you very best friend! Check out Standard Process vitamins and see a reflexologists to get the right nutrition for you.


15% helpful
AnonMomandDaughter answered...

My Mother was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure when she was 54. Although she had bouts with it and was hospitalized a few times, she did not die of CHF. She was 80 when stomach cancer took her life. My daughter is 30 and was diagnosed with CHF and a Pulmonary Embolism after the birth of her first child. She ended up in the hospital when her baby was 7 days old and had to be resuscitated. She is following the instructions given her by the Dr's, taking her medicine as prescribed and avoiding salt. With proper diet and medical care I believe that CHF should not stop a person from living a good long life.


25% helpful
PIAANITA answered...

Please ask the doctor about the medicine Digoxin and the side effects. I am not a doctor but I do suspect that this medicine caused a lot more harm than it did to help her.


26% helpful
45 and Alive answered...

I too have stage 3 CHF, Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis and Chronic Kidney Failure. I take Coreg, Lasiz, Losartan, Zaroxyln, Protonix, Rebif Injection for my MS. Oct 12, 2007 my doctors told me I had 6-12 months to live. October 12, 2012 I celebrated 45 and Alive!!!!!!!!!! I too have a pacemaker and defibillator but I livemy life to the fullest. I was on the transplant list and my EF has been as low as 8-11 and now its 25. I believe I will contine to live a strong healthy life for many years to come. I may be sick but I'm not dead yet. I LIVE!!!!!!


29% helpful
ag85 answered...

My father was diagnosed with Stage III CHF in 2003 at the age of 55. The first year upon diagnoses he suffered from an arrhythmia and went into cardiac arrest and flat lined...paramedics were able to necessitate him. He was given a pacemaker and defibrillator to manage his irregular heartbeat. He's had many stable years with the help of proper diet and medications. Unfortunately due to all his medications he developed poor kidneys and was hospitalized a few times due to edema in his legs/feet and lungs. My father recently just passed away in Feb 2013 at the age of 65. His health declined quite rapidly unfortunately with his final months, and he was hospitalized and passed away in the hospital. He died of another episode of an arrhythmia just like 10 years ago but unfortunately his heart was too weak to respond to his defibrillator. Only now were they going to set up the process of a heart transplant when he was already too far gone :( His doctor said he beat all odds and he shouldn't have lasted as long as he did...but he did :) If you stay true to doctors orders and have love and support of people around you, I really believe that has a huge impact on the survival rate. This is a HORRIBLE illness and is very upsetting to see anyone suffer from it.


25% helpful
bridget ireland answered...

hi I just looking at the posts,,,i have heart faiure at the age of 38 due to major stress my heartbeat was 198 b,p,m I didn't realise I went to the doctor with a stomach ulser ,,,well I work as a carer and after been off work for 6 months,,begged my doctor to let me go back which he hesatited for only light duties,,,ended up getn a angigram which was clear also got my heart stopped and started 3 times to try regulate it but didn't work ,,,im back to living my life normal but was just given 2 years the other day as im under so much stress wit my x and family and have no support ,,,but I try not to dwell on it and try live my life as much as normal I still smoke which doesn't help but why deprive myself at this stage ,,,,ill die any way but im a load of meds and 80g of water tablets a day 2,,,so my motto is we ere for a good time not a long time ,,so try not to think about being sick ,,,it wat keeps me going and I have kids to think of ,,,,when god wants me he will take me xxxx


Elle@Medical answered...

It can happen to younger people too. I was 44 when i was diagnosed. My GP wasn't convinced there was anything to be concerned about despite me taking the blood pressure readings in every now and then over 3 years!!! Now i can't have children because of the meds and can only work part-time. take heed!


17% helpful
christinahorton answered...

I can let you know my father has CHF, and has had it sense about 2009. He is now 81 years old and is still doing ok!!!!!!!!! Just keep fighting and know you have something to live for! That is what I tell him.


toyoungforthis answered...

young .. oh yes it dose happen to young people..im 32 ,a mother of 6 my youngest being close to two months old .. thought i had the flu.. went to the er.. went to a couple different hospitals ,got my results congested heart failure ,only 25 percent of my heart is working ..not to mention the bread winner ... money maker ..can anyone please tell me if i am going to be able to return to work anytime soon?


Cranky*Girl answered...

Anjilwing55, I am on a quest for the same information. I recommend you find a source of actuarial tables, possibly on line or from an insurance agent. I have found it helpful to see that data. The actuarial tables will tell you the percent of people with your combination of health issues who live an additional 5, 10, 20 years, etc. You will at least get a range that will help you make the decisions you are facing.


molly2014 answered...

I am reading all of these posts, and I realize I am not alone. I had a triple bypass at 40 years old. prior to that I had several stints that closed off. I am now 55 and have and EF of 15% and some days are good other days I have to stay in bed. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to how the week plays out. I know I can't go back to work, but I keep trying. I know one day I will die and I have been near death too many times to count. I have decided to let God take care of tomorrow, and I'm gonna try to do my best with what I have.


25% helpful
Old pirate answered...

I'm a male,62,smoker,,I too had a massive heart attack after 2 yrs of juicing ,losing 50lbs & trying to get healthy ..(after my wife of 20yrs passed i got lazy & drank heavily) my Ejc.Frac. is 15%, I too have a Pcmkr/de-fib...Get all affairs in order(gives peace of mind) ,talk to God alot , He is the only one that Knows our Expiration date (it was set the second we came into this world)...I'm on All the usual drugs too...........NOW......go out there and enjoy all within reason that you can ,find kind people or be one....& drive it like you Stole it !!! God's Blessings on all of you .


Bklyn answered...

My grandmother is 90 years old and has CHF. She was diagnosed appx 20yrs ago. Praise God. She is still here. My grandmother has ways lived a stress free life and never allowed anything to worry her. I hoped that I encouraged someone today!


100% helpful
Evez415 answered...

I'm looking for the same answers as you. I was diagnosed on Christmas Eve 2014. I am only 25 years old with no family history of heart disease. I was told it's CHF & left ventricular systolic dysfunction. I'm not sure what's going to happen yet, still waiting for final results of my last test, but I'm pretty sure I fall into a class 3. I found out that my ef rate was between 21-25%. I'm taking a few different medications at the moment, but I'm sure I will be neededing surgery soon, just not sure if it will be a implant or valve repair/replace. Hope you doing well and live a nice long life.


jbjburn21 answered...

At 56 my EF is 20% with defibulator 3 stints and copd. life sucks I was always so active but now you wake up and then I make my plans never before. Summer time is hard on me I seem to feel better during winter months mine started 12/19/2013 and in still here.keep taking them meds. And eat right with a little walking it helps....don't give up...get your mind right.... Don't let it beat you. And talk to god he has all control.


Madison1962 answered...

I was just diagnosis with chronic systolic. Heart failure. I still having a hard time accepting this. My left side of My heart is working @ 18 percent. After 15 minutes of doing something I am tired and the pain and tightness begin in my. Mychest. I will be meeting with a social worker for possible transplant. I so wake up everyday praying Healed. I been reading that life expectancy is not long. I believe GOD IS A HEALER....I ask for strengths as I go through this JOURNEY. My family think that I'm not keeping the faith, I do have faith but my flesh cry's out to Jesus see my grands and sons continue growing and for his healing. Please pray for me. My name is Jenny D.


Nabil answered...

I am now 45. Knew I have CHF just early 2014 but I am sure I had it many many years before considering the symptoms I wasnt able to figure out. I had a v.rare case of LMCA with a sack of 2.5×2.0 size so I had a surgery. My general health got better for a few months but since early 2015 everything started going backward especially my heart rate dropped to around 50 (sometimes as low as 45) with irregular HR. Fluids are also accumulating started early in the when I was diagnosed with an infection in my right leg was filled with fluid. Red and hot. It had me in bed for a month after that had social problems when I lost both my children by court order due to baseless accusations from my x. Before that I lost my job. Now the fluids are climbing up my body. I can feel the fluids in my abdomin tried to stop diuretics for 24 hours as a test the result I couldnt lay down to sleep went breathless. I have many other side problems that are related to heart issue that make things more complicated. I get dizzy when I stand up. I sleep many times a day which is complicating my proffessional life .... etc. I think my CHF is stage 3 but getting worse. But we keep fighting to live.


AmberBlzn answered...

When I was 48 years old doctors sent me home to die, with no treatment at all. My heart was very enlarged, I was in CHF and Pulmonary Hypertension, heart block, severe bradycardia, 3 leaking valves, paroxysmal tachycardia, etc. etc. etc. I had to sleep on 4 pillows just to keep from drowning in the fluids in my lungs. I could only speak 2 or 3 words at a time without gasping. I would occasionally black out if I did anything physical. But still I pushed myself to still be as active as I could be, as I really felt that if I quit forcing myself I would die. Doctors told me I could die of ‘sudden death’ at any time. I had several episodes of near-death experiences. I had to fight the doctors for any care at all, and was then put on ACE inhibiters. When I couldn’t take them any more I turned to homeopathic means to help my heart function. Doctors harassed me to no end over that, until I finally told them, “You sent me home to die with no treatment, and now I am staying alive long past what you predicted, so don’t ever again say anything to me about what I am taking.”

Initially I was given 3-5 months to live. Then about 8 months later they gave me 3-5 years to live. When I surpassed that they said, “At best you may live to be 60, but you can die of sudden death at any day.” When I got to 60 an NP told me, “If you refuse to take the meds (such as statins) that the doctors push on you, you could maybe live to 70.” That NP convinced me to go off my BP med, and surprisingly my BP then actually went DOWN. The NP was later sadly fired.

I am still using homeopathic means, though my ability to do much has gradually decreased with time. But, the reason it has decreased is because statins gave me what the doctors are terming ALS-Like Syndrome. Statins also gave me rhamdomyolitis, which damaged my kidneys, so now my kidney damage has progressed to early/middle stage kidney failure. If I had not taken the statins I would probably be ticking along pretty good still, even with my heart failure, as my heart has done so much better with time. My cardiomyopathy healed in great part, though now my heart is very stiff, to the point that the major artery filling my heart often collapses from the pressure it takes to try to fill such a stiff heart. But, generally my heart has been doing really good unless I undergo severe stress; then it decompensates for a period of time.

The way my health has gone downhill due to the damage statins caused, I do not anticipate seeing 70, though only God knows that. My last near-death experience a few months ago was so magnificent that it took away my fear of death.

I am still using high dose Fish Oil, CoQ10, L-Carnitine, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, Turmeric, 90,000 h.u. Cayenne Pepper, Vitamin D, Vitamin K etc. etc. With this regime I went from not hardly being able to talk to being able to sing again and be quite active for a long time. And I went from severe plaque deposits in my blood vessels to almost completely cleared blood vessels. I went from being told I was going to go blind from plaque to having pristine blood vessels in my eyes.

But now the doctors tell me that the ALS-Like Symptoms are permanent, progressive, and untreatable, and will be the end of me. It now has me almost completely disabled.


Musicareme58 answered...

I'm a 57 year old man. I had a major heart attack at 42 years old. Dr. Told me I'd had a minor one in the past. I had high blood pressure but not terrible. I've had ventricular difibrilation since I was born. Passed out in 2001. They implanted an ICD. I'm on my third one. My dad died of a heart attack at 55. I was 24. So I've known heart decease was common in my family. I had one stent when I had the major heart attack. Two more in 2004. I'm blessed. Monday,a week ago,I've lived with CHF for fifteen years. I take Coreg,Amioderone,Benazipril,Lipitor and spirolactone(a mild dihheretic). Mild case of liver cirrhosis due to Amioderone,I'm told. EJ is 20%. Sleep apnea. Thankfully,I have no angina. No adema. I'm overweight. I had a blood clot in February 2015 and have a stent in my groin. Left leg was broken in 2008 and required a plate and screws. That said. I quit smoking. It's tough to exercise as I'd like. We're all like snowflakes. All different. Worrying about your health is normal. I worry about my life span,but everyone dies at some point. I don't want to die,but I've had a blessed life. I hope to live as long as possible. See your doctors. Take your meds and be reasonable about what you eat and drink. I pray for all of you... Oh. I'm a 370lb man planning on a gastric sleeve surgery next spring. Less weight,less the heart has to work.