This category of impairments includes chronic heart failure, ischemic heart disease, recurrent arrhythmias, congenital heart disease, heart transplants, aneurysms involving the aorta and its major branches chronic venous insufficiency, peripheral arterial disease, and complications of the above.
All cardiac disorders are serious and potentially deadly. However, as a result of great strides in the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders, they are encountered less frequently now in disability practices than was the case a generation ago. Still, cardiovascular disease can and often does result in significant disability.
Disability attributable to cardiac illness must be predicated on diagnostic findings documented by recognized cardiovascular tests, and the presence of characteristic symptoms such as angina, shortness of breath, edema, reduced exercise tolerance and fatigue. Where there are appropriate diagnostic findings and evidence of persistent symptoms, most carriers will make a finding of disability.
On all disability claims, one must take into account the effect of prescribed treatment when attempting to determine the degree of an individual’s impairment. This is particularly true in cardiac cases.
Thanks to modern medical advances, many victims of cardiovascular disease can now continue to live active and productive lives. It is generally prudent for individuals with acute cardiac disorders, including heart attack, to defer filing for disability benefits until their physician is in a position to assess the success of treatment and the long-range prospects for returning to work.