Heart Failure

Ask your doctor

The following questions can help you talk to your physician and care team about treating and managing your heart failure. Print or write down these questions and take them to your appointment. Taking notes can help you remember your physician’s responses when you get home.

Questions adult heart failure patients may wish to ask

  1. Is a cause for my heart failure apparent?
  2. How severe, or at what stage, is my heart failure?
  3. What is my ejection fraction? What does that mean?
  4. How will we treat my heart failure? Will I require surgery or an interventional procedure, medications, and/or lifestyle changes?
  5. What is my prognosis?
  6. What is a safe level of physical activity for me?
  7. Are medical professionals available to help me make lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or reducing sodium in my diet?
  8. Should I be keeping a log of my weight each day?
  9. What follow-up appointments should I be keeping?
  10. When should I call my heart failure care team? What symptoms should I be looking for? When is shortness of breath, leg swelling, or sudden weight gain serious enough to warrant a call?

Questions you may wish to ask if your baby or child has heart failure

A child's diagnosis of heart failure is a difficult one for any parent. The following questions can lay the groundwork for a discussion between you and your child’s doctor about how to manage and treat the condition, as well as how to ensure the best possible quality of life for your child.

  1. Is the cause of my child’s heart failure apparent?
  2. How severe is my child’s heart failure?
  3. How will we treat my child’s heart failure?
  4. What is my child’s prognosis?
  5. What pediatric specialists will my child need to see?
  6. How active can my child safely be?
  7. What foods should I be feeding my child?
  8. What else should we do at home for my child’s best health?
  9. What can we do to support my child in having the best possible quality of life, including play, education, and socialization?
  10. My teenager has heart failure and will soon be an adult. What do we need to do to help my child take over his or her own care?