The signs of the end-stage heart failure can vary, but a few are common among those with this disease. Also, it is crucial to be aware of those less common ones in order to avoid ignoring them as heart issues can be dangerous.

Cardiac treatment is required to help manage these symptoms to increase the individual’s comfort and manage pain. One option is hospice care, which offers round-the-clock nursing care, psychological support, and other services to meet individual needs. At Haym Salomon Home in Brooklyn, NY, we offer hospice care, including nursing, emotional and psychological care, and pain management. Our goal is to provide clients with peace, dignity, and comfort during their final days while managing their symptoms.

Nurse giving injection to patient with heart failure. Subacute nursing care services at Haym Salomon Home for Nursing & Rehabilitation.

Symptoms Of End-Stage Heart Failure

Those with heart failure may experience several symptoms during the final stages of the disease. These often include an irregular heart rate, sudden weight fluctuations, or fluid buildup in various areas. Cognitive issues, including disorientation or memory loss, are also possible issues. These signs aren’t always linked to late-term heart failure, though the following are common among most individuals.

1. Chest and or upper left side back pain

One chronic symptom experienced during the last stage of heart failure is angina, also known as chest pain. Such discomfort is usually recurring and often requires specific pain medications to ease. The pain may vary, with some individuals suffering higher levels and more frequent instances than others.

Also be aware that in some cases, upper left side back pain can be a heart attack sign. 

2. Severe fatigue

Fatigue is another common sign of end-stage heart failure. It occurs after any physical activity, including walking, climbing stairs, or shopping. Even eating a meal may result in overwhelming tiredness. The heart can’t pump enough blood to all areas, focusing on getting it to the brain and back. Sacrificing other less vital areas causes weakness and breathing difficulties, resulting in chronic fatigue.

3. Severe shortness of breath

Shortness of breath is caused by the lack of blood flow to the body, which reduces the body’s breathing functions. The blood also isn’t being pumped back to the heart efficiently, causing backed-up fluid in the pulmonary veins. The fluid then leaks into the lungs, causing breathing difficulties. It’s especially dangerous when lying down, requiring pillows or other supports to keep the body upright.

4. Digestive Issues

End-stage heart failure often results in a loss of appetite, weakening the body and causing the muscles to waste away. Nausea is also a symptom, making it more difficult to maintain the required calories for proper tissue and organ functions. Eating smaller meals of easily digested foods helps combat these issues and maintain a healthy weight.

5. Coughing and wheezing

As mentioned above, fluid buildup in the lungs is common in those with late-stage heart failure. The body tries to dispel this fluid, causing frequent coughing fits, often accompanied by white or pink mucus. The fluid makes it more difficult to inhale and exhale oxygen, resulting in wheezing.

These five signs of end-stage heart failure may vary in severity and frequency. Those receiving palliative care may notice improvements in the symptoms that allow them to resume their regular cardiac rehab.

This content comprises informative and educational resources only and can not be considered as a substitute for professional health or medical guidance. Reliance on any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk. If you have any inquiries or apprehensions about your medical condition or health goals, talk with a licensed physician or healthcare provider.