Heart Failure Life Expectancy Calculator

Created by Łucja Zaborowska, MD, PhD candidate
Reviewed by Bogna Szyk and Jack Bowater
Based on research by
Freed BH, Daruwalla V, Cheng JY, Aguilar FG, Beussink L, Choi A, Klein DA, Dixon D, Baldridge A, Rasmussen-Torvik LJ, Maganti K, Shah SJ. Prognostic Utility and Clinical Significance of Cardiac Mechanics in Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging (March 2016)See 2 more sources
Pocock SJ, Ariti CA, McMurray JJ, Maggioni A, Køber L, Squire IB, Swedberg K, Dobson J, Poppe KK, Whalley GA, Doughty RN Predicting survival in heart failure: a risk score based on 39 372 patients from 30 studies European Heart Journal (May 2013)Hunt SA, Baker DW, Chin MH, Cinquegrani MP, Feldman AM, Francis GS, Ganiats TG, Goldstein S, Gregoratos G, Jessup ML, Noble RJ, Packer M, Silver MA, Stevenson LW, Gibbons RJ, Antman EM, Alpert JS, Faxon DP, Fuster V, Jacobs AK, Hiratzka LF, Russell RO, Smith SC Jr ACC/AHA Guidelines for the Evaluation and Management of Chronic Heart Failure in the Adult: Executive Summary A Report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines (Committee to Revise the 1995 Guidelines for the Evaluation and Management of Heart Failure) Circulation (December 2001)
Last updated: Jan 17, 2023

The heart failure life expectancy calculator is a simple, yet effective, tool for predicting the 1-year and 3-year survival odds of someone with congestive heart failure.

In the article below, we will focus on congestive heart failure/CHF prognosis, the estimates on how long can you live with congestive heart failure, and the average CHF life expectancy for a given stage of the disease.

Our tool is based on a research conducted by the Meta-Analysis Global Group in Chronic Heart Failure (MAGGIC) lead by a professor Stuart Pocock, PhD.

How to use the congestive heart failure life expectancy calculator?

To find a person's survival odds with our heart failure life expectancy calculator, you'll need the exact values of:

  • The age of the patient;
  • The patient's weight/height, or BMI (given in kg/m²);
  • Their creatinine levels - creatinine is a product of the muscles' metabolism. It is found at increased levels when the kidneys do not work properly;
  • Ejection Fraction (EF) - the amount of blood that is pushed out of the heart during systole, out of the total amount of blood in the heart; and
  • Systolic blood pressure - the larger value of the blood pressure measurement made during a routine blood pressure check-up, given in mmHg.

In addition, you need to answer the following questions:

  1. What's your patient's sex?
  2. Does your patient take angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors (ACEi), for example, captopril, or angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARB, sartans)?
  3. Does your patient take beta-blockers, for example, propranolol, metoprolol, bisoprolol?
  4. Was your patients heart failure diagnosed ≥ 18 months ago?
  5. What's your patient's NYHA class?
  6. Does your patient suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?
  7. Does your patient still smoke? Or have they managed to quit?
  8. Does your patient suffer from diabetes?

How long will I live with heart failure?

The congestive heart failure lifespan depends on many variables, such as the cause of heart failure, its severity, and other comorbidities.
The survival rates for those affected in the general population are:

  • 1-year: 81.3%;
  • 5-years: 51.5%; and
  • 10-years: 29.5%.

There are 6 million people alive in the US that suffer from this disease, and almost 1 million in the UK. The data shown above tells us that only a half of these people will survive the next 5 years.

❤️ A heart transplant, being the ultimate treatment for such a disease, prolongs the estimated survival. 20 years after a transplant, around 21% of patients are still alive. (Some hospitals report the survival rate of even 50% during that time!)

There's a special tool, SAPS II calculator for assessing the mortality rate of heart failure patients admitted to the ICU.

Congestive heart failure prognosis and progression stages

The ACC/AHA Guidelines specify four stages of HF, indirectly determining how long can a person live with congestive heart failure, depending on the given phase of the disease.





Patients at risk of developing HF

Hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease, in general: their cardiovascular risk


Patients with anatomical changes and no symptoms

Heart attack, valves, atria or ventricles changes


Patients with anatomical changes and the presence of symptoms

Tiredness, shortness of breath, treatment due to the presence of symptoms


Advanced disease, require special medical attention

Hospitalized patients, patients awaiting heart transplant, patients with mechanical device supporting heart function

Progressing through the above stages is exaggerated by:

  • Lack of treatment;
  • Heart events, such as heart attack;
  • Improper diet;
  • Age; and
  • General health (units of alcohol consumed, smoking, exercise, etc).

We can slow down the progression of the disease by:

  • Maintaining the correct blood pressure; and
  • Keeping our heart healthy by meeting certain target heart rates close to our maximum heart rate during exercise and everyday activities. Check the max heart rate calculator and heart rate calculator

💡 Find out your patient's cardiovascular risk with the HEART score calculator.

Also, you may be interested in our qp/qs calculator which helps in determining the magnitude of a cardiac shunt.

What's the systolic heart failure life expectancy?

Systolic heart failure is an insufficiency of a heart caused by the malfunction of its left ventricle. This kind of HF is characterized by a low ejection fraction (EF), also taken into account in this heart failure life expectancy calculator.

EF is given in percent, and should be equal to around 50-70%. Mortality increases as the ejection fraction value decreases. The smaller the EF, the shorter the estimated survival.

Unfortunately, plenty of studies proved that the mortality in patients with systolic heart failure and low EF is higher than in those with preserved EF.

For example: 1 year mortality rate for low EF = 26%, and for the high EF = 22%.

How to calculate how long can you live with CHF?

If you'd like to check out how our heart failure life expectancy calculator works, here's the method we used. Add all of the points scored for each separate variable together for the final result.




Male, +1

Female, 0


Yes, 0

No, +1


Yes, 0

No, +3

HF history

Yes, +2

No, 0


I class, 0

II class, +2

III class, +6

IV class, +8


Yes, +2

No, 0

Current smoker

Yes, +1

No, 0


Yes, +3

No, 0

Age (in years, when EF <30%)

<55, 0

55-59, +1

60-64, +2

65-69, +4

70-74, +6

75-79, +8

≥80, +10

Age (when EF 30-39%)

<55, 0

55-59, +2

60-64, +4

65-69, +6

70-74, +8

75-79, +10

≥80, +13

Age (when EF ≥40%)

<55, 0

55-59, +3

60-64, +5

65-69, +7

70-74, +9

75-79, +12

≥80, +15

BMI (in kg/m²)

<15, +6

15-19, +5

20-24, +3

25-29, +2

≥30, 0

Creatinine (in µmol/L)

<90, 0

90-109, +1

110-129, +2

130-149, +3

150-169, +4

170-209, +5

210-249, +6

≥250, +8

Ejection fraction (in %)

< 20 +7

20-24, +6

25-29, +5

30-34, +3

35-39, +2

≥40, 0

sBP (in mmHg, EF <30%)

<110, +5

110-119, +4

120-129, +3

130-139, +2

140-149, +1

≥150, 0

sBP (EF 30-39%)

<110, +3

110-119, +2

120-129, +1

130-139, +1

140-149, 0

≥150, 0

sBP (EF ≥40%)

<110, +2

110-119, +1

120-129, +1

130-139, 0

140-149, 0

≥150, 0

We based our calculations on the findings of The Meta-Analysis Global Group in Chronic Heart Failure (MAGGIC), published by Pocock et all and Freed et all.


What is heart failure life expectancy for women?

Life expectancy in heart failure for women is slightly longer according to MAGGIC meta-analysis. In this method, more points equal a worse prognosis, and male patients get an extra point.
General, non-gender-specific survival rates for heart failure are:

  • 1-year - 81.3%;
  • 5-years 51.5%; and
  • 10 years 29.5%

What is the prognosis of class III heart failure?

The 1-year survival rate in NYHA III heart failure is 90-85%, and the 10-years survival rate is ~30%.

How do I test for congestive heart failure?

A diagnosis of congestive heart failure must always be made by a physician. Doctors first take a detailed medical history and run a basic physical examination. Then, to confirm the diagnosis, they use a variety of tests, including blood tests, ECG, echocardiography, or even a CT scan or heart biopsy.

How do I prevent congestive heart failure?

Preventing congestive heart failure means leading a healthy lifestyle. Some useful tips:

  1. Do a regular physician check-up.
  2. Don't neglect any chronic conditions, even if you don't feel symptoms.
  3. Maintain a healthy body weight.
  4. Eat a healthy, plant-based, diverse diet.
  5. Move a lot, practice exercise regularly.
  6. Quit smoking and drinking if you do (1-2% of people who drink alcohol excessively will develop heart failure solely because of alcohol use).
Łucja Zaborowska, MD, PhD candidate
Test results
NYHA class
I class
Patient's history
Heart failure history
Current smoker
Risk score
1-year survival probability
3-years survival probability
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