New Hope for an Ailing Heart

Heart failure sounds fatal. It doesn't have to be, with new drugs and now, maybe, pacemakers

This year, some 550,000 Americans will learn that they have congestive heart failure. While that might sound like a death sentence--particularly if you fixate on the word failure--it's not. Cardiologists have got pretty good at treating the degenerative condition with drugs that prolong life and reduce symptoms.

Now comes word, from a report in last week's New England Journal of Medicine, that almost a third of patients with heart failure may also benefit from having a pacemaker implanted in their chest. But before we get into that, we need to clarify what heart failure is--and what it is not.

First what...

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