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Dr Stan
Dr Stan, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 2043
Experience:  Physician at Stanley L Simpson, DO
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My dear friend age 86 has congestive heart failure diagnosed

Customer Question

My dear friend age 86 has congestive heart failure diagnosed in May after a week or two of extreme weakness. She also has AFIB. Doctors stopped her heart 2 times to try to regulate her heart beat. It did not help. Her legs and feet have been terribly swollen. She called me yesterday to tell me her legs started seeping water a week ago. She is in pain. The medical staff is having her walk with a walker. Her feet hurt terribly, At a nursing home the staff is wrapping her legs in bandages and changing them daily. She told me the doctor said she has seep.......... A lolng name. When she called she told me how much our friendship has meant to her etc. WE went to school together and lived in the same neighborhood as kids. I felt she was preparing me for her death. How long can she live with this condition? Thank you.
JA: Do you know if your family has a history of heart disease? In general, how would you describe your health lately?
Customer: Yes, her father and his 3 brothers all died of heart attacks. Her health is critical.
JA: Anything else in your medical history you think the doctor should know?
Customer: Yes, her father and his 3 brothers all died of heart attacks. Her health is at the critical stage.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr Stan replied 1 year ago.

Hi, Dr. Stan here to help.

I'm so sorry to hear of your friend's medical problem. From your description it seems she is in a Nursing home. Hospice can be notified and will accept care to control her pain. This does not mean she is dying. Hospice can offer care for periods of time and when her medical condition changes, they will release her. I hope this is the answer that gives her help and relief. I am here to answer any additional questions you may have. Please leave a positive rating of 3-5 stars for this is how I am credited for my response. Thank you.

Expert:  DrRussMD replied 1 year ago.


This is a different expert with a different answer.

I am a double board certified US doctor, and one of my certifications is internal medicine.

We are trained specifically in heart failure and end of life care. As I read your question, it is long can one live in this condition.


There is no indication for hospice unless her doctor has determined 6 months or less to live.

That can not be said from the current description.

She might have 1, 3 or 5 years.

This needs to be discussed with her doctor.

This all depends on the actual type of, and stage of her heart failure.

With that information, more accuracy can be given.

Even if the heart failure is "end stage," the one year mortality is 50%.

This means that even some of those with the worst heart failure go on several years or more.

I am sorry about your friend, but the other issue is what type of failure does she have: it might be more right sided.

If it is both sides, that is more serious and might put her in the endstage catetory.

Other questions for her doctors:

Is the afib under control? This can affect the heart failure by 20%

Get her a second opinion as well.

Additional information: It is not clear wht type of facility your friend is in, if she is getting home care, etc. Her degree of energy and activity is a prime factor in her prognosis as well. It also sounds like depression is a possibility, and her primary care doctor and/or cardiologist need to be taking this into account.

An ideal consultation woudl be a geriatric specialist, another type of internal medicine doctor. They will not simply write her off because she is older, or has a serious illness, or needs assistance, but in fact will attempt to optimize here care, medical treatement, mood, and longevity.

OK, so you might have more questions or want to give me more information: Please use reply to expert if you have further questions. Also, please click a positive rating [hopefully excellent (5)—that’s how we are paid, per rating]. If you forgot something, just use reply and come back. I am here

Expert:  Dr Stan replied 1 year ago.

This is the first expert. The family should discuss the problem with her doctor.

Expert:  Dr Stan replied 1 year ago.

Hospice is not just for the dying and can be called in in serious medical situations when life and death have not been definitely determined.