A heart device might save your life but leave you miserable. That awful possibility is the reason for new advice urging doctors to talk more honestly with people who have very weak hearts and are considering pumps, pacemakers, new valves or procedures to open clogged arteries.
Too often, patients with advanced heart failure don’t realize what they are getting into when they agree to a treatment, and doctors assume they want everything possible done to keep them alive, says the new advice, published Monday by the American Heart Association and endorsed by other medical groups.
It calls for shared decision making when patients face a chronic condition that often proves fatal and they need to figure out what they really want for their remaining days. If they also have dementia or failing kidneys, the answer may not be a heart device to prolong their lives.
“Patients may feel that the treatment was worse than the disease,” said Dr. Larry Allen of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center, who helped draft the new advice.
Read the whole story: USA Today
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