Classification of Heart Failure

Topic Overview

The following is a classification for heart failure devised by the New York Heart Association (NYHA). It is important to be familiar with this classification, because it may be referred to during the course of your care.

Classification of heart failure symptoms
Class I

People whose physical activity is not limited. Ordinary physical activity does not cause undue fatigue, heart palpitations, trouble breathing, or chest pain.

Class II

People who have some limitation on physical activity. They are comfortable at rest, but ordinary physical activity causes fatigue, heart palpitations, trouble breathing, or chest pain.

Class III

People who have a marked limitation on physical activity. They are comfortable at rest, but less-than-ordinary physical activity causes fatigue, heart palpitations, trouble breathing, or chest pain.

Class IV

People who are unable to carry on any physical activity without discomfort. Symptoms may be present even at rest. If any physical activity is done, discomfort increases.

Related Information

References

Other Works Consulted

  • Hunt SA, et al. (2009). 2009 focused update incorporated into the ACC/AHA 2005 guidelines for the diagnosis and management of heart failure in adults. A report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation, 119(14): e391–e479.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
Last Revised April 26, 2012

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