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The Four Grades of Heart Failure

The Four Grades of Heart Failure

Heart failure is the inability of the heart to pump blood as it is needed around the body. Failure can occur at any age but is most frequent in older patients.

Heat failure cannot usually be cured, but it is manageable. A major part of understanding how to manage heart failure comes from assessing how bad the heart failure symptoms are. Let’s discuss why heart failure is graded and what those stages are.

Why is heart failure graded in stages?

The stages (commonly referred to as classes) will correspond to how severe a doctor believes the individual’s case is, with class 1 being the least bad and progressing towards class 4, the most severe. This grading helps describe where a patient is at, and how to best treat them.

What are the four grades of heart failure?

The four grades of heart failure are:

  • Class 1
  • Class 2
  • Class 3
  • Class 4

Here is more information about each of those stages.

Class 1 Heart Failure

This is when an individual is diagnosed as having heart failure where symptoms aren’t present during regular activity. Someone with Class 1 heart failure wouldn’t expect to feel fatigued or have any noticeable symptoms while being active.

Class 2 Heart Failure

An individual with Class 2 Heart Failure wouldn’t notice any problems with their heart while resting but will get symptoms, usually of shortness of breath, while being quite active. Someone with Class 2 heart failure may notice heart palpitations as well as breathlessness.

Class 3 Heart Failure

An individual with Class 3 Hear Failure typically feels be fine while resting or sitting down, but would quickly notice symptoms, usually of shortness of breath, on mild exertion, i.e. anything that wouldn’t be considered ordinary physical activity.

Class 4 Heart Failure

With Class 4 Hear Failure, an individual would experience symptoms while sitting or resting or on minimal exertion.

How is someone tested for heart failure?

There are various tests carried out to check if a patient has heart failure.  Blood tests are very helpful and may indicate if the heart is responsible for shortness of breath or fluid retention.

A patient should also expect some form heart tests, including imaging tests, being carried out to help doctors get a picture of the heart’s condition. These tests can include:

Learn more about heart failure

Diagnosing and treating heart failure is important to help symptoms and to optimise life expectancy. A dedicated treatment plan needs to be put into place. OneWelbeck works with patients on an individual basis to deal with both systolic and diastolic heart failure. You can find more information on our heart failure page.

Talk to heart health specialists

OneWelbeck Heart Health provides tests and care for patients experiencing any of the stages of heart failure.

If you have any questions about heart failure, please get in touch, via our contact page. And if you would like to talk over the phone about booking an appointment, call us on 0203 653 2005.