DALLAS, April 17, 2018 —  The American Heart Association joins the nation in mourning the loss of former First Lady Barbara Bush. Mrs. Bush passed away this evening after reports that she had chosen comfort care over further medical treatment for her failing health.

Mrs. Bush most recently suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure. According to media reports, in 2008, she underwent surgery to replace a hardened aortic valve. She was treated for decades for Graves' disease, a thyroid condition that can lead to heart rhythm disorders, changes in the structure and function of the heart muscles and congestive heart failure.

Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart muscle is unable to keep up with its workload to pump enough blood through the body. While it can be successfully managed for years, over time, as blood flow out of the heart slows, blood returning to the heart through the veins backs up, causing congestion in the body's tissues, including the lungs and kidneys.

As a heart disease survivor, Mrs. Bush lent her voice and support to the American Heart Association as keynote speaker at the 2010 Brazos Valley (Texas) Go Red For Women luncheon. Her message then was much in line with how she lived her life: Get active in your community. Find your own niche. And take care of your health.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Bush family and to our country at the loss of this true American icon.

Heart Failure Facts:

  • More than 6.5 million Americans are living with heart failure.

  • Heart failure is a progressive condition in which the heart muscle can’t keep up with its workload to pump blood through the body.

  • Heart failure can be successfully managed for years with therapies to slow the disease progression and maintain a strong quality of life. However, heart failure cannot be reversed or cured.

  • As heart failure advances, blood flow slows, causing congestion in the body’s tissues, including the lungs and kidneys.

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Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For Media Inquiries: 214-706-1173

For Public Inquiries: 800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org