Typically the status of patients with heart failure can be classified on the basis of symptoms, impairment of lifestyle, or severity of cardiac dysfunction. The New York Heart Association (NYHA) classification is used to assess symptomatic limitations of heart failure and response to therapy:
The NYHA classification describes the functional status of patients with stages C or D heart failure. The severity of symptoms characteristically fluctuates even in the absence of changes in medications, and changes in medications can have either favorable or adverse effects on functional capacity in the absence of measurable changes in ventricular function. Some patients may demonstrate remarkable recovery associated with improvement in structural and functional abnormalities. Usually sustained improvement is associated with drug therapy, and that therapy should be continued indefinitely.
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