Medical Specialty >> Cardiology

Doctors Lounge - Cardiology Answers

Back to Cardiology Answers List

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Doctors Lounge ( does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site. 

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Please read our 'Terms and Conditions of Use' carefully before using this site.

Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Heart Failure

Question: Congestive Heart Failure Prognosis - 5 years to live?

 Anonymous - Sat Dec 28, 2002 7:22 am

My husband was diagnosed with congestive heart failure about 2 years ago. In the past 6 years, he has had 5 heart attacks. His doctor says that his heart muscles
are very weak, and is treating him with medication.
Back in Sept.2001, he had a stenth put in the main artery; both the left and right have 85-87 percent blockage, but the surgeon told us that he is not a candidate for a triple bypass, because he is also a insulin dependent diabetic and has been for about 20 years. Also, he has very narrow arteries.

My question is my husband believes that he doesn't have very long to live since the muscles are so weak. The doctor has also indicated that it could be 5 years. I
looked up some info on this, and the update is 2-5 yrs. I have accepted this might be true, so whatever you tell me will not upset me. My husband just turned 60.

We lost our son 6 years ago, and his health seems to have deteriorated, but he still tries to work, since we are self employed.
Any input you have, I will appreciate it.
 Dr. Yasser Mokhtar - Thu Feb 06, 2003 9:09 am

User avatar Dear Joan,

Thank you very much for using our website.

First of all, you have my deepest sympathy for your husband condition and hope that he gets well.

Congestive heart failure unfortunately has no cure except heart transplantation.

Otherwise, the patients' symptoms are treated with medications. In the last few years, there was an actual jump over in the treatment of congestive heart failure.

Now, there are some medications that actually improve survival rates if the patient is maintained on them. i do not know what kind of medications is your husband taking but i think it is very important that he takes them if he can according to his doctors.

These medications are
- Beta blockers group of medication
- ACE inhibitors group of medication

The combination of these 2 groups of medications was found to have a very strong on the quality of life and the longivity of patients in all the clinical trials that were done.

In addition to other medications such as water pills and digoxin, these 2 groups should be taken unless contra-indicated for a reason or another.

Nobody can predict how long does a patient with congestive heart failure can live, unless his condition is deteriorating as regards repeated admissions to the hospital separated by very narrow intervals together with development of other organ failures such as the kidney or the liver then i think it is few months or may be even less.

The best thing to do is try to be on the best treatment available for the time being and try to improve the quality of life that you are living right now and if you or your husband have any postponned projects to do, just try to do them.

Now, i am not sure whether anybody has mentionned that to you or not (and i am not sure where you live). But, if you are a resident of the United States, then patients who have severe congestive heart failure who are judged by their physician to have 6 months or less to live are eligible for the hospice program and it will be covered by medicare as well. The hospice program is a very good program involving people who are dedicted to soothing other people's pains and standing besides them in the worst moments. So, you could also ask your husband's doctor about that as well.

I wish that there was more i and any body else could offer but science is rapidly progressing forwards and evey body hopes to discover more that could help people like your husband.

Once more, thank you vey much for chosing our website and hope to hear from you soon.

Yasser Mokhtar, M.D.

| Check a doctor's response to similar questions

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us