How to Prevent, Manage or treat Congestive Heart Failure during Covid using a Digital Therapeutic?

How to Prevent, Manage or treat Congestive Heart Failure during Covid using a Digital Therapeutic

Synopsis:  Heart failure remains a common and chronic illness across the world. It is not fully curable, but effective treatment and lifestyle changes can lead to reduced risks and stable life. With healthcare going digital, patients today are more empowered than ever before. Digital health solutions have become the need of the hour to keep up with an increasing number of patients participating in their own treatment decisions. It encompasses various platforms and systems that apply technological solutions to enhance healthcare delivery. Digital therapeutics (DTx) is one such category of digital health solutions that provides evidence-based software-driven therapeutic interventions for the prevention and management of a medical disorder.

 

The term “heart failure” can be frightening. It’s commonly heard but not well understood. It in no way means the heart has “failed” or stopped working, rather, it means that the heart works less efficiently than normal. Simply put, heart failure is characterized by the heart’s inability to pump an adequate supply of blood to the body. Due to various possible causes, blood moves through the heart and body at a slower rate, and pressure in the heart increases. As a result, the heart cannot pump enough oxygen and nutrients to meet the body’s needs.

While often referred to simply as heart failure, Congestive Heart Failure is a specific stage of the process, in which fluid builds up within the heart and causes it to pump inefficiently. Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a chronic progressive condition that affects the pumping power of the heart muscle. 1.The weakening of the heart’s pumping ability causes the blood and fluid to back up into the lungs, triggers the build-up of fluid in the feet, ankles and legs and leads to tiredness and shortness of breath that leads to everyday activities becoming challenging. This is the point when the symptoms of a heart failure start showing and need to be understood and treated well within time. Heart failure can be ongoing (chronic), or the condition may start suddenly (acute).  Symptoms of heart failure are varied and might include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Swelling
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Lack of appetite and nausea
  • Chest pain if the heart failure is caused by a heart attack

Heart failure is commonly caused by coronary artery diseases, high blood pressure and diabetes. It is mostly witnessed in people who are 65 years or older, overweight, those with an inactive lifestyle and people who have a history of a heart attack. Men have a higher rate of heart failure than women. Complications of heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases are the most common causes of rehospitalization. Doctors diagnose heart failure by doing a physical exam and heart tests. The treatment varies depending on the severity and usually includes treating the underlying cause of the heart failure, medicines, and heart transplantation if other treatments fail.

2.There are four stages of heart failure that require different treatment and lifestyle changes. With healthcare becoming digital, patients today are more empowered than ever before, making digital health solutions the need of the hour to keep up with an increasing number of patients participating in their own treatment decisions. 3. Off late, what has helped in keeping in line with the treatments and management of Heart Failure is a new category of medicine known as Digital therapeutics (DTx). An advancement from the traditional medical treatments, DTx are essential to healthcare delivery systems as they deliver medical interventions directly to patients using evidence-based, clinically evaluated software to treat, manage, and prevent a broad spectrum of diseases and disorders. In respect to Heart Failure patients they can come in handy by reducing the disease progression once patietns are out of special care or Hospitals These can detect heart failure exacerbation and augment guideline-directed use of heart failure medications. DTx based intervention have shown real world effectiveness of remote monitoring in Heart Failure Patients to reduce the risk of rehospitalization. With continuity of care and cardiac rehabilitation, DTx solutions help improve medication adherence with a personalized intervention that encourages long-term behavioural change in patients impacting better health outcomes. Especially focused on people with chronic conditions like heart failures, diabetes etc, DTx can play a vital role to help ensure the patients are adhering to the dose guidelines, leading to lower rates of hospitalisations and readmissions.

Heart failure affects nearly 6 million Americans. Roughly 670,000 people are diagnosed with heart failure each year. It is the leading cause of hospitalization in people older than age 65. It is one of the few chronic conditions that incurs a huge cost on healthcare and the hospital readmission rates, specifically for patients with heart failure. 5. As per a Publication on National Library of Medicine, 5.7mn Americans are living with heart failure (2021) and the number is projected to grow by 46% by 2030, a total of 8 million Heart Failure patients. The total cost of heart failure patients in 2012 was estimated to be $30.7 bn in the US. As per Medicare, the median risk-standardized 30-day Hospital readmissions rate was 23.0%. Thus, 30-day readmissions remain a focus in controlling healthcare spending. The cost of healthcare remains a pain point for patients who are entitled to zero or partial reimbursement. Reduced hospitalization helps in cost savings for payers in insured markets such as the EU and US. The outcome is reduced Economic burden on payers, reduced rehospitalization of patients, and improved heart failure medication management.

Heart failure is a serious condition that worsens with time, and there is usually no cure. It can be life threatening but seeking early treatment for heart-related conditions can help prevent complications. Not all conditions that lead to heart failure can be reversed, but treatments can improve the signs and symptoms of heart failure and help patietns improve their quality of life. Lifestyle changes — such as exercising, reducing sodium in your diet, managing stress, and losing weight — can improve your quality of life.

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References:

  1. https://medlineplus.gov/heartfailure.html
  2. https://www.wellthytherapeutics.com/blog/understanding-heart-failure/
  3. https://dtxalliance.org/understanding-dtx/