How Long Can You Live With Heart Failure?

Medically Reviewed on 9/14/2022
how long can you live with heart failure
What is the life expectancy of people with heart failure? Learn about survival rates and determining factors

Heart failure is a condition in which your heart becomes so weak that it is unable to pump blood effectively to other parts of your body. This can cause symptoms such as shortness of breath, edema (swelling) of the legs, and bloating in the face and abdomen.

Although there have been improvements in treatments for heart failure, survival rates. The best way to understand how long you can live with heart failure is to ask your doctor, who can calculate life expectancy based on your age, risk factors, and heart failure stage (stage A to D).

What are the survival rates for heart failure?

Survival rates are based on studies of large groups of people with certain diagnoses and generally presented as a 5-year survival rate, which is the percentage of people who lived for at least 5 years after diagnosis.

You can find online calculators that ask you to submit information to get a life expectancy prediction. However, these calculators are not always accurate since they are based on studies of certain population groups over a period of time (1 year, 5 years, or 10 years).

Table: Survival rates for patients with heart failure
Survival (in years) Survival rate (in percentages)
1 About 75.9% on average
5 About 45.5% on average
10 About 24.5% on average

For example, the 5-year survival rate for patients with heart failure is about 76%. This means that about 76 out of 100 people who were diagnosed with heart failure could live for at least 5 years.

Generally, young patients with heart failure have a better prognosis than older patients. Early diagnosis and treatment help increase life expectancy as well.

What factors determine your life expectancy with heart failure?

Your life expectancy with heart failure depends on many factors including the following:

  • Age at diagnosis
  • Stage at diagnosis
  • Alcohol intake
  • Ejection fraction of your heart
  • Any underlying medical conditions
  • Your response to treatment
  • Your adherence to treatment

How can you prolong your life expectancy with heart failure?

Once you have been diagnosed with heart failure, your doctor will likely recommend that you make certain lifestyle modifications. Small but effective changes can reduce your risk of hospitalization and help you live longer.

Exercise, especially aerobic activities like running and walking, can help improve your heart health. The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days a week. Before selecting an aerobic workout, make sure to discuss it with your doctor and ask which one is right for you.

Your doctor may also tell you to make changes to your diet, the most important one being restricting salt intake. Salt increases fluid retention in the body which can lead to edema. It’s important to keep a watch on how much salt you’re eating and switch to low-sodium food alternatives where possible.

Other lifestyle changes that can prevent your heart failure from worsening include...

  • Avoiding alcohol or at least limiting alcohol intake
  • Quitting smoking
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Managing stress

It is also crucial to take all medications prescribed by your doctor. Recent research shows that taking a combination of medications for heart failure can improve life expectancy.


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Medically Reviewed on 9/14/2022
Huff C. "Ways to Maximize Your Lifespan With Heart Failure." <>.

Jones NR, Hobbs FR, Taylor CJ. "Prognosis Following a Diagnosis of Heart Failure and the Role of Primary Care: A Review of the Literature." BJGP Open. 1(3) 2017: bjgpopen17X101013. <>.

Taylor CJ, Ordóñez-Mena JM, Roalfe AK, Lay-Flurrie S, Jones NR, Marshall T, Hobbs FDR. "Trends in survival after a diagnosis of heart failure in the United Kingdom 2000-2017: population based cohort study." BMJ. 364 Feb. 13, 2019: l223. <>.