NYHA Criteria

Cardiology

A 62 year old man is breathless following his heart attack. He is unable to climb a flight of 10 stairs without stopping. Which of the following is true?

  • He has NYHA (New York Heart Association) class I heart failure
  • He has NYHA class II heart failure
  • He has NYHA class III heart failure
  • He has NYHA class IV heart failure
  • NYHA class is not appropriate for use in patients who have sustained myocardial infarction.

He has NYHA class III heart failure.

NYHA Class I = significant exertion to make you breathless
NYHA Class II = SOB on moderate exertion
NYHA Class III =SOB on minimal exertion (e.g. one flight of stairs)
NYHA Class IV =SOB at rest

CLINICAL PEARL – this is critically important in clinical exams. You can’t comment on a patients functional status unless you’ve seen them exert themselves or they are SOB at rest.