Patients suffering from end-stage heart failure have a one-year mortality rate of 50 percent, according to PubMed Central. Disease characteristics include advanced structural heart disease and symptoms of heart failure during minimal exertion or rest.
Heart failure is a leading cause of death and hospitalization among the elderly, with 10 million patients in Europe and 5 million in the United States. Families of patients suffering from end-stage heart failure are advised to include the patient in palliative care and advanced directives discussions before the disease renders the patient unable to participate. Common topics include resuscitation preferences and life support protocols, according to PubMed Central.