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

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.

Expert Answer

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 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.