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It is apparently an open secret that some medications prescribed to individuals suffering heart failure may actually worsen their condition.

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a relatively common condition in the US.  Heart failure results when the heart muscle weakens and causes symptoms of fatigue, shortness of breath, and swelling of the limbs.  CHF results from vascular troubles, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity, among other factors.

With more than five million people currently living with CHF, more than 550,000 new patients are diagnosed each year.  While CHF affects people of all ages, about 10 people per 1,000 are diagnosed with CHF after reaching 65.

CHF is a costly and chronic condition that results in more hospitalizations than all forms of cancer and causes about 11 million physician visits each year.  Unfortunately, more than half of those diagnosed with CHF pass away within five years of diagnosis, contributing to an annual death toll to CHF of about 287,000 people per year.

A recent study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology Heart Failure, researchers found an increase in prescription of potentially dangerous drugs to elderly patients suffering heart failure.

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In the JACC study, researchers looked at the experience of 500 patients hospitalized for heart failure over 700 hospital admissions.  Most of these were elderly patients who were routinely prescribed medications to treat their condition either prior to admission, or during their hospital stay.

The use of medications that can worsen the condition of patients suffering heart failure is well-known. These medications are often used to treat competing conditions suffered by the patient like chronic pain, respiratory problems, or diabetes.  In 2016 and 2017, reports noted dangerous medications are commonly prescribed to elderly patients with congestive heart failure.

The research current research found the following:

  • Of 558 patients, 18 percent saw a reduction in the number of HF-exacerbating (heart-failure exacerbating) medications between their admission and discharge from the hospital.
  • About 19 percent of those patients experienced no change, receiving the same number of potentially damaging medications.
  • For approximately 12 percent of the 558 patients, the number of HF-exacerbating medications increased during their hospital stay.

Study author Dr. Parag Goyal at Weill Cornell Medicine, notesMedications that can worsen heart failure are commonly used in older adults with heart failure.”

While the problem is known, the remedy for the prescription of potentially dangerous drugs to vulnerable patients is not.  If injured by medication error, speak with a knowledgeable injury attorney.

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At Schochor, Staton, Goldberg, and Cardea, P.A., we represent clients and families injured by negligence and medical malpractice locally and across the US. We fight for your right to compensation when you suffer an injury due to medical mistake.  Contact us  today or call 410-234-1000 to schedule a free consultation.