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Heart failure - can anyone help?

(38 Posts)
jaabaar Fri 05-Apr-13 21:35:15


My uncle has been admitted to intensive care as he had swollen legs and swollen eyes and breathing difficulties. I am abroad and it is very difficult to get information. I managed to speak to one doctor who said it is serious but there are chances they can manage it. His heart is very weak and his blood pressure sky high.He is 72 has no children and lives with my mum who is older herself.

Does anyone know if there are chances that he will get well and if u can live with heart failure? I'm so worried, just want to hear maybe something positive or if someone has experience with it?

I would be so very gratefull for any reply please please.....


LittleFeileFooFoo Fri 05-Apr-13 21:37:15

Heart medicine has come a long way and many times is manageable depending on what exactly is going on. There is a good chance it can be managed with meds and possibly some intervention.

Not an expert, but my DH is a cardiac nurse

LittleFeileFooFoo Fri 05-Apr-13 21:38:20

sorry, hit post too soon!

Dh has lots of stories of heart patients being admitted very ill, and eventually being discharged in decent health!

DowntonTrout Fri 05-Apr-13 21:46:45

It depends if he has just been diagnosed with heart failure or if this has been ongoing for some time and has suddenly come to crisis point.

My dad lived for about two years after being diagnosed with heart failure. It was managed during this time with a combination of drugs, but there was never any chance of him getting better, it was just extending his life. They told him about 6 months before he died that there was nothing more they could do.The last six weeks when it was clear he was going to die at any time, they put him on morphine and he was in and out of hospital, his legs were swelling with the water retention and he was very weak.

It sounds as if your uncles onset has been more sudden? I'm no expert, but once it's under control you can live for quite a long time- years even.

jaabaar Fri 05-Apr-13 21:48:00


Thank you infinitely for this reply! Do you really think this refers to severe heart failure as well? And if the doctor said his heart is very weak? or did he leave it for too long to go? He refused to go to any gp in his entire life! I begged him for months to go! Gp wanted to send him by ambulance to hospital but he insisted to drive home have lunch and go later himself to hospital.

Do you really think he can recover? Sorry for asking again. I want to travel to Switzerland to see him but have 3 year old and no one to look after her.

Thanks again, very much xxxxxx

jaabaar Fri 05-Apr-13 21:50:56


He has been unwell for some time but refused to go to a gp till it become so urgent that he was put straight in intensive care. Do you think it can't get better just stabilised as it is? Thank u so much for sharing your experience. X

LittleFeileFooFoo Fri 05-Apr-13 21:55:42

From what I understand it will depend on why this is happening, and what sort of procedures he could tolerate if there one that would suit. Certainly they can make him comfortable and get the swelling down.

jaabaar Fri 05-Apr-13 21:59:43


From what the doctors says the blood pressure is a big problem because he never took any medications for it. If there are no other causes and they can bring bp under control is there a chance of recovery or is all the damage done?

Can a weak heart become stronger again or is it irreversible?

Thank u xx

DowntonTrout Fri 05-Apr-13 22:04:08

I think, that with the heart, even the doctors don't know. It could give up at any time.

However if he pulls through this and gets the correct treatment now, he could make a good recovery and live quite a long time. But you are talking as if it is very acute and once the damage is done and the heart is failing there is no real return to health. Not fully.

In your case, if he's in intensive care, I expect the next 24hours will be crucial. Only you can decide whether to go - with the information you have. I'm sorry, I'm not a doctor and as I've only been through it with my Dad I can only comment on how it was for us, yes we had some scares, and the recovery was less each time. Dying is a process and the death is only the final step in that process. Dad was dying for about 2 years, with some it is almost instant, and others take years. The heart nurse told me Dad could go on like he was for another 10 years. He died the day after. No one can tell you when.

LittleFeileFooFoo Fri 05-Apr-13 22:12:46

I agree with DowntonTrout, it's individual to the person. You should ask what the doctor means that his heart is weak.

If the muscle of the heart has been damaged, it won't grow back. Getting the blood pressure down and the extra fluid out will help the heart function, because it won't have to work so hard, but it won't regrow damaged tissue. If the cardiac artery is blocked, it can be helped with a stent. If it's muscle death, that can't be fixed, just worked around with meds.

As Downton said, your uncle could live a good long time, or not.

I'm very sorry for what you're going through, it must be very hard for you and your mother.

jaabaar Fri 05-Apr-13 22:16:08


Thank you again for sharing this painful experience. I am just shattered. I just want to have a bit of hope. I will wait till tomorrow. I was able to speak to him in intensive care. He was able to speak with some difficulty and he was saying the breathing is better. He even drove from gp home and was taken by car to hospital.

Thank you downtown for taking your time to answer. Xx

IamtheZombie Fri 05-Apr-13 22:16:39

jaabaar, this is my experience with my late DH.

In late 1991 / early 1992 he had 3 heart attacks which he ignored. About 3 months after the third one, he eventually had to give in and go to the GP when he was exhibiting the symptoms you describe in your OP. The GP initially referred him to a liver specialist. When he attended that appointment, the liver specialist spent about 3 minutes with him and told him that he needed to see a cardiologist. The liver specialist shared his consulting rooms with a cardiologist whom he immediately called in.

DH was in hospital within 30 minutes. They stabalised him over the course of a couple of days and carried out extensive tests. On the third day they told him that his only hope of survival was a heart transplant. By ignoring the heart attacks DH had allowed an almost unimaginable amount of damage to occur to his heart. Severe heart failure only begins to describe it. DH point blank refused to even consider a transplant. So, the cardiologist put him on all sorts of medications instead.

He was discharged from hospital a couple of weeks later. He went back to work a month later. He lived for a further 12 years.

That was years ago. Medicine has moved on and improved.

Please, don't give up hope.

jaabaar Fri 05-Apr-13 22:24:46

Thank you littlefeilefoofoo very much. I will keep the doctors comments in my mind that there are chances... And that he was talking to me. He also gets excellent medical care. At the end I guess God will have the last word.

Do you think it is rude to call the doctor again tomorrow and ask how he is? My mum is old school and will not bother doctors in their work... She also does not want to visit while he is in intensive care as she might disturb..

jaabaar Fri 05-Apr-13 22:34:33


That is an extraordinary story! There is always hope. Thank you for sharing your story. We're his symptoms really as severe as U described?

I know downtown and littlefeilefoofoo are right on the point that it really depends on the person.

I keep praying and hoping.

DowntonTrout Fri 05-Apr-13 22:35:07

There is always hope jaabaar

My dad was 82 and not strong enough for further intervention. A younger man, as zombie says, may well be.

What is important is that they stabilise him. If his breathing is already getting better, that is good. Even if he is not a candidate for surgery, he can make a certain amount of recovery and manage this, to an extent, with drugs.

jaabaar Fri 05-Apr-13 22:36:02

Sorry downtonTrout for misspelling your name!

LittleFeileFooFoo Fri 05-Apr-13 22:39:46

Do call the doctor, and also do tell your mother to go visit! Visits make people feel better and that helps recovery too.

the doctor probably won't get mad if you are concerned and asking questions and learning. A lot of times the patients don't really take everything the docs say on board due to stress and just not being well, so the medical folks like to have family members understand what needs to be done so they can relay that to the patient later. they don't take kindly to being yelled at or told off for not having all the answers!

LittleFeileFooFoo Fri 05-Apr-13 22:40:07

I wasn't implying that you would yell at them, OP!

IamtheZombie Fri 05-Apr-13 22:42:18

They were probably more severe than I have described, jaabaar. He was literally hours away from death when he was admitted to hospital.

jaabaar Fri 05-Apr-13 22:50:29

Littlefeilefoofoo their old school has rubbed off me regarding talking to doctors... I apologised several times for having called... No chance of yelling!

I told my mum that if I was in hospital I would want visits as it really can help patients feel calmer, specially the ones that never see gp or been hospital in 72 years..... When I spoke to him he was more concerned that he cannot go himself to the bathroom then his predicament....

Thank you littlefeilefoofoo x

jaabaar Fri 05-Apr-13 22:51:30

Thank you for the hope xx

jaabaar Sat 06-Apr-13 09:31:00

My mum spoke to him this morning. She said that his breathing is worse then when he was home. Is it encouraging that he is able to talk? Or is that normal that you r able to talk? Thanks....

jaabaar Sat 06-Apr-13 11:05:16

The more you google the worker everything seems.....

jaabaar Sat 06-Apr-13 11:06:07

Worker- worser

jaabaar Sat 06-Apr-13 16:34:22

I spoke to doctor today after talking to my uncle as he sounded much worser. Doctor however said he is better today. He said his kidneys not working well and he probably has chronic lung disease. And they have not made yet all tests..... Doctor said he will be with us a while longer but will have to stay in hospital long time.

Do you think doctors comments are encouraging or just words of hope?

I find it so hard seeing my family members getting all week and ill and im living in another country when all they have is me.

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