Heart Failure and Social Security Disability Benefits
Heart Failure originates from the heart’s inability to pump blood to rest of the body efficiently. Symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, and swelling amongst extremities. The illness, in most cases, is caused by the narrowing of blood vessels that deliver oxygen-poor blood to the heart. As a result of this, the heart is starved for oxygen and performs poorly.
Any type of physical activity can fatigue the sufferer greatly, because the muscles are not receiving enough blood from the heart. This can limit the individual’s ability to work.
Heart Failure and Filing for California Social Security Disability Benefits
If the applicant’s impairment falls within any of the following categories set forth by Social Security’s Listing, then a strong claim may exist. The Listing is as follows;
A. Medically documented presence of one of the following:
- Systolic failure (see 4.00D1a(i)), with left ventricular end diastolic dimensions greater than 6.0 cm or ejection fraction of 30 % less during a period of stability (not during an episode of acute heart failure); or
- Diastolic failure (see 4.00D1a(ii)), with left ventricular posterior wall plus septal thickness totaling 2.5 cm or greater on imaging, with an enlarged left atrium greater than or equal to 4.5 cm, with normal or elevated ejection fraction during a period of stability (not during an episode of acute heart failure); and
B. Resulting in one of the following:
- Persistent symptoms of heart failure which very seriously limit the ability to independently initiate, sustain, or complete activities of daily living in an individual for whom an MC, preferably one experienced in the care of patients with cardiovascular disease, has concluded that the performance of an exercise test would present a significant risk to the individual; or
- Three or more separate episodes of acute congestive heart failure within a consecutive 12-month period (see4.00A3e), with evidence of fluid retention (see 4.00D2b (ii)) from clinical and imaging assessments at the time of the episodes, requiring acute extended physician intervention such as hospitalization or emergency room treatment for 12 hours or more, separated by periods of stabilization (see 4.00D4c); or
- Inability to perform on an exercise tolerance test at a workload equivalent to 5 METs or less due to:
a. Dyspnea, fatigue, palpitations, or chest discomfort; or
b. Three or more consecutive premature ventricular contractions (ventricular tachycardia), or increasing frequency of ventricular contractions per minute; or
c. Decrease of 10 mm Hg or more in systolic pressure below the baseline systolic blood pressure or the preceding systolic pressure measured during exercise (see 4.00D4d) due to left ventricular dysfunction, despite an increase in workload; or
d. Signs attributable to inadequate cerebral perfusion, such as ataxic gait or mental confusion.
Sufferers of heart failure often experience weakness during physical exertion because the heart is not able to provide the muscles with the blood they need to function properly. With physical activity being severely limited, many occupations will be unavailable to an individual suffering from heart failure.