Recent American Heart Association statistics indicate that approximately 5 million people experience heart failure, and that an estimated 400,000 to 700,000 new cases are expected annually. Improved efforts in the emergency care of myocardial infarction and the increased life expectancy of the population in general are credited for the rapidly increasing number of elderly adults with such chronic cardiac diseases as heart failure. New drug therapies are tested daily to improve the treatment of heart failure. However, drugs alone cannot improve the lives of elderly men and women with this disorder. Skillful delivery of expert care is necessary if advanced practice nurses are to reduce the burden of heart failure and improve the lives of the individuals who must live with this devastating disease.

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