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Heart failure is a syndrome resulting from a structural or functional cardiac disorder. For a diagnosis of heart failure to be made, there should be symptoms or signs, such as breathlessness, effort intolerance or fluid retention, together with objective evidence of cardiac dysfunction.
Heart failure is an increasingly important chronic disease syndrome, associated with poor prognosis, poor quality of life for patients, and high healthcare costs. In the general population, where all grades of heart failure are represented, 5 year mortality is around 42%; however, where the diagnosis is established during a hospital admission, 5 year mortality is between 50–75%, although the prognosis has improved in the past 10 years.