Elizabeth Taylor Dies from Congestive Heart Failure—ACC Explains

Contact: Amanda Jekowsky, ajekowsk@acc.org, 202-375-6645

Elizabeth Taylor Dies from Congestive Heart Failure—ACC Explains

CONTACT: Amanda Jekowsky ajekowsk@acc.org 202-375-6645
Amy Murphy amurphy@acc.org 202-375-6475
Kelsey Heinze kheinze@acc.org 202-375-6395

*ACC Heart Failure Experts are available for interviews

March 23, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor passed away this morning at the age of 79.  Taylor struggled with heart complications during the last years of her life- ultimately; she died of congestive heart failure.

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) through its CardioSmart National Care Initiative explains what heart failure is and how it can affect you. 

Contrary to the way it sounds, heart failure doesn’t mean that your heart has stopped beating. Heart failure (HF) affects the way the heart works (functions) and/or its structure (anatomy), making it harder and harder for the heart to supply enough blood flow to meet your body’s needs.

“Heart failure worsens over time and is considered a chronic condition," said Dr. Alfred Bove, immediate past president of the ACC. "Attempts to maintain normal function do not always compensate for the failing heart."

Most people with heart failure get short of breath. They also report not having the energy they once did. Even climbing the stairs or carrying groceries may leave you winded. But your symptoms will depend on the course of your heart failure.

There are two types of HF:
1. With systolic HF the pumping action of the heart is reduced or weakened.
2. With diastolic HF the heart’s squeezing capacity is normal, but the heart can’t keep the lungs from getting congested. This type is more common in older people with a long history of high blood pressure.

Three important contributors to HF are:
•        Coronary artery disease
•        High blood pressure
•        Direct injury to the heart muscle by infections, toxins, etc.

HF is a lifelong condition, so the more informed and equipped you are to manage it, the better you’ll feel. Visit www.cardiosmart.org and talk to your doctor about what you can do to protect your heart health.

The Survival Guides are part of the ACC's CardioSmart National Care Initiative, a patient-centered campaign to engage people to play an active role in their own heart health and empower them to make better, healthier lifestyle choices.


About the American College of Cardiology:
The American College of Cardiology is transforming cardiovascular care and improving heart health through continuous quality improvement, patient-centered care, payment innovation and professionalism. The College is a 39,000-member nonprofit medical society comprised of physicians, surgeons, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists and practice managers, and bestows credentials upon cardiovascular specialists who meet its stringent qualifications. The College is a leader in the formulation of health policy, standards and guidelines, and is a staunch supporter of cardiovascular research. The ACC provides professional education and operates national registries for the measurement and improvement of quality care. More information about the association is available online at http://www.cardiosource.org/ACC.


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