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Congestive Heart Failure


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Hi all,

My mom received some sad, but not unexpected news yesterday...after some tests on her heart, she was told by her oncologist that she is in heart failure.  It is suspected that this is contributing to her shortness of breath.  The oncologist was specific in saying that Keytruda (immunotherapy) was not the cause of the heart failure, but more than likely prolonged high blood pressure, stress, and weight.  The oncologist put her on a water pill and potassium and she has an appointment with a heart doctor next week.  I know little about heart failure and how it relates to lung cancer.  Does anyone have any knowledge about it?  I see that there are several drugs available for treatment and we don't know how advanced the heart failure is.  My biggest hope is to find something that will relieve her shortness of breath, but don't know if that's a feasible hope.  And if I'm being honest with myself, I'm just wanting to be told that my mom will be alright.  She's feeling defeated and so am I.  


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Hi Steff,

I'm so sorry to hear about your mom's diagnosis. I know little about heart failure. I do know people who have lived a good long while with it  Oxygen was helpful to one woman I knew who had extremely low oxygen sats from heart failure, Give Debbie  a big hug for me. i'll be thinking about both of you.

Bridget O

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Oh my, I do understand your concern.

My mother had heart failure along with COPD and these did complicate her life, especially in her later years.  She did not have lung cancer, however.  I suspect, treatment wise, things are going to get complicated.

I'm not sure there is a direct correlation between lung cancer and heart disease but suspect the indirect correlation of reduced lung function is the problem one faces.  My mother was encouraged to remain active and to walk as much as she could.  She survived two heart attacks, a pacemaker surgery after the last heart attack, and a number of TIA strokes in her mid eighties but lived about 10 years in congestive heart failure.  I do recall having to coach my mom about diet and exercise and the coaching was not a pleasant experience.  Having met your mother, you will have a much easier time with the coaching.

Stay the course.


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