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Congestive Heart Failure Swelling Abdomen

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An Osmosis Video: Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) Explained

Any form of cold therapy can be beneficial, such as: ice packs, ice baths, and ice machines that deliver cold water to wraps. Ice should be used a few times a day for about 20-30 minutes at a time to reduce swelling effectively. Pressure on an injury helps constrict blood flow and excess fluid from reaching the injury.

How Does This Happen

The left side of your heart pumps blood through your arteries. Your arteries send oxygenated blood to all the tissues of your body. Veins are the vessels that return unoxygenated blood to your heart. All your veins lead unoxygenated blood to a large vein called the superior vena cava. This large vein carries all your unoxygenated blood to your right heart.4

With right-sided heart failure, your right heart is a weaker pump. This means it is less able to pump this unoxygenated blood through your lungs. For this reason, some of this blood pools in your right heart, and it becomes backed up in your veins.2-3

Edema Related To Circulation Heart Or Liver Problems

A variety of diseases can cause edema. Most of the time, the edema is not a serious illness, but it may be a sign for one. Here are some examples:

Venous insufficiency can cause edema in the feet and ankles, because the veins are having trouble transporting enough blood all the way to the feet and back to the heart. This means that it gathers in the legs, and fluid is forced out of the blood vessels into the surrounding tissue. Edema can also be caused by varicose veins.

Congestive heart failure can cause both peripheral edema and abdominal edema . This is because the heart is too weak to pump blood around the body properly, so the blood gathers in front of the heart. Because of this, and due to the increased blood pressure in the veins, fluid seeps out into the surrounding tissue. This may cause swelling in the legs or a build-up of fluid in the abdomen. If the person spends a lot of time lying down, the edema might show up on his or her back . Congestive heart failure can also cause edema in the lungs . This is not common, but the condition is life-threatening. It means the lungs are filling with fluid because the left side of the heart is not strong enough to pump the blood returning from the lungs. The blood gathers in the blood vessels of the lung, and fluid seeps out into the lung tissue. The signs are shortness of breath and rapid, shallow breathing or coughing.

Read Also: What Should Heart Rate Variability Be

General Puffiness Or Swelling Caused By Water Retention

Signs of this kind of edema include puffiness of the hands, feet and / or face. This kind of edema is temporary and goes away without treatment. It can happen because you have been standing or sitting for too long. Edema is common after a long flight, for example, or in people who have to stand for long periods at work. Many women experience edema during their monthly period or during pregnancy. Edema in pregnancy is usually harmless, although it can be a sign of other problems if blood pressure is also high.

Can You Prevent Congestive Heart Failure

Stomach bloating: Swollen stomach causes include heart failure ...

Congestive heart failure can be the ultimate result of a number of diseases, or lifestyle choices, that damage the heart. Some of these can be prevented. Others cannot be prevented but can be treated successfully.

Some examples of illnesses or lifestyle choices that can lead to congestive heart failure are as follows:

  • Coronary heart disease , including heart attack
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Infection
  • Damage to the heart valves
  • Alcoholism
  • Smoking

In some cases, a family history of heart failure can be present. Many cases are a combination of factors, and in other cases, the cause is unknown.

If a person has congestive heart failure, they are at increased risk of developing pneumonia. They probably should receive both the pneumonia vaccination and annual flu shots. Patients should ask their doctor or other health care professional to be sure.

Also Check: What Will Blood Pressure Be During Heart Attack

What Causes Abdominal Swelling

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Some people with heart failure develop abdominal swelling. This is when your stomach gives the appearance of fullness. You may feel bloated or full. So, what is it about heart failure that causes abdominal swelling? Here is what to know.

There are other names for abdominal swelling you may hear. One of them is abdominal distension. Another is ascites. Ascites is essentially the medical term for when fluid collects within the tissues of your abdominal regions.1

Other Symptoms Of Heart Failure To Know

While edema may be the most obvious external heart failure symptom, there are some other common symptoms that you should know about. This is especially true if youre a heart attack survivor or otherwise at high risk for heart failure.

Other heart failure symptoms include:

Treating edema usually means treating the underlying cause of the swelling. In the case of heart failure, that could involve the use of medications like:

  • diuretics to reduce fluid levels in the body
  • medications like ACE inhibitors and ARBs or ARNI to help the blood vessels relax, so circulation is a little easier
  • beta blockers and ivabradine to reduce the burden on the heart
  • mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists

In very serious cases, implantable pumps or defibrillators are needed to help the heart muscle keep up with the bodys demand for blood. And in the most severe cases of heart failure, a heart transplant may be necessary.

Treating the edema itself may include:

  • compression stockings to help increase the pressure in your lower legs, which may help push blood up to the heart
  • exercise to get the leg muscles affected by edema working harder and pumping blood back to the heart
  • elevating your legs or other swollen part of the body above the heart to help keep blood returning to the central circulation.

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Causes Of Heart Failure

The heart is a double pump made up of four chambers. Deoxygenated blood from the veins enters the right upper chamber , is passed to the right lower chamber , and then pumped to the lungs.

Oxygenated blood from the lungs enters the left upper chamber and then enters the left lower chamber . The blood is then pumped around the body, under pressure, via arteries.

In a person with heart failure, one or both ventricles dont empty properly. This leads to increased pressure in the atria and the nearby veins. This backlog of blood can affect the kidneys and lungs interfering with their function and leading to a build-up of fluid in the lungs, abdominal organs and legs.

In some people with heart failure, rather than failed pumping of the blood from the ventricle, there is failed relaxation of the ventricle.

If the heart is not pumping and becomes stiff and unable to relax, it can cause the blood to pool in the hearts ventricles. This can cause pressure build up and can put strain on the heart.

Heart failure can be caused by several conditions, including:

When Should You Go To The Hospital With Congestive Heart Failure

Heart Failure Warning Signs and Symptoms

Red = Danger. Go to the emergency room or call your local emergency number if you have heart failure and have gained more than 5 pounds in a week. Also seek help if you cant lie flat, are short of breath at rest, have increased swelling and discomfort in the lower body, or have a constant, hacking cough.

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Other Causes Of Edema

Heart failure is not the only cause of swelling in the feet. Allergic reactions, burns, trauma, blood clots, or severe inflammation can cause edema as well.

Other causes can include:

  • Gravity: If youve been sitting or standing in one place for too long, gravity gradually pulls the fluid in your body down to your legs and feet.
  • Varicose veins:Veins in your legs cant get blood back up to your heart, causing blood to collect in your legs.
  • Medications: Blood pressure or pain medications can cause swelling.
  • High salt intake:You may not be aware that your sodium intake is high. Processed or packaged foods, olives, legumes, and cheese can have high amounts of sodium.
  • Pregnancy: As the baby grows, the uterus puts pressure on the blood vessels in the lower half of your body.
  • Thyroid disease: Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause edema.

What Is Congestive Heart Failure

Heart failure describes the inability or failure of the heart to meet the needs of organs and tissues for oxygen and nutrients. This decrease in cardiac output, the amount of blood that the heart pumps, is not adequate to circulate the blood returning to the heart from the body and lungs, causing the fluid to leak from capillary blood vessels. This leads to symptoms that may include shortness of breath, weakness, and swelling.

Understanding blood flow in the heart and body

The right side of the heart pumps blood to the lungs while the left side pumps blood to the rest of the body. Blood from the body enters the right atrium through the vena cava. It then flows into the right ventricle where it is pumped to the lungs through the pulmonary artery, which carries deoxygenated blood to the lungs. In the lungs, oxygen is loaded onto red blood cells and returns to the left atrium of the heart via the pulmonary veins. Blood then flows into the left ventricle where it is pumped to the organs and tissues of the body. Oxygen is downloaded from red blood cells into the various organs while carbon dioxide, a waste product of metabolism, is added to be removed in the lungs. Blood then returns to the right atrium to start the cycle again. The pulmonary veins are unusual in that they carry oxygenated blood, while the pulmonary artery carries deoxygenated blood. This is a reversal of duties versus the roles of veins and arteries in the rest of the body.

Read Also: How Many Heart Rate Zones Are There

Stages Of Congestive Heart Failure

the four stage of heart fail

Congestive Heart Failure doesnt happen in a day it takes many months if not years to develop. To help stage patients and their treatments correctly, doctors use a four-stage classification of Congestive Heart Failure. Each stage is accompanied by certain mechanisms happening inside the body, but what really matters to us is what we can see outside, as symptoms and therefore, how seriously we need to take them.

The stages of Congestive Heart Failure based on this approach are:

  • Stage 1: Normal physical activity like walking or taking a flight of stairs does not lead to shortness of breath, fatigue, or palpitations. However, when you do any moderate exercise, like a brisk walk or a jog or taking four flights of stairs, you feel breathless or tired.
  • Stage 2: You feel comfortable when you are resting. But as soon as you take a flight of stairs or walk a block, you may feel breathless or feel your heart race or feel tired.
  • Stage 3: You feel okay till youre at rest. But even the simple task of getting up from the sofa and walking over to the kitchen causes makes you want to rest or pant or feel palpitations.
  • Stage 4: You feel your heart and breath faster even at rest, tire even though you are sitting and feel anxiety and palpitations almost all the time.

What Are The Symptoms Of End

Congestive Heart Failure Signs and Symptoms #nursestudent # ...

The most primary symptoms of the end-stage congestive heart failure involve the inability to do any physical activity. Any form of activity result in shortness of breath in the patient. The other symptoms associated include-

Tiredness or Fatigue The heart muscles actually worn out and any activity becomes novel for the patient. The end-stage congestive heart failure patient may feel tired all the time and would want to rest.

Edema Excessive swelling is seen to take place in most body parts, especially at the periphery like the ankles, feet, hands and legs. Sometimes patients of end-stage congestive heart failure also have swollen tummy. This basically occurs due to the inability of the heart to pump blood and circulate throughout the body. As a result, fluid retention occurs. The patient may also gain weight due to such retention.

Loss of Appetite The patient may tend to eat less and may not even ask for food. The drive of hunger slowly starts to die and with progression of the disease loss of appetite gets more pronounced. However, there is no weight loss because of fluid retention over the period.

Heart Palpitations The patient of may feel his heart to beat too fast or hard at times. This is basically the palpitations which occur due to irregular pumping efficiency of the diseased heart. Since the heart cannot pump normally, sometimes it tries to make up by pumping faster than normal. Such a symptom is quite common in the end-stage of congestive heart failure.

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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Congestive Heart Failure

Shortness of breath

The hallmark and most common symptom of left heart failure is shortness of breath and may occur:

  • While at rest
  • While lying flat
  • While awakening the person from sleep or
  • Due to fluid accumulation in the lungs or the inability of the heart to be efficient enough to pump blood to the organs of the body when called upon in times of exertion or stress.
  • Chest Pain

  • Chest pain or angina may be associated, especially if the underlying cause of the failure is coronary heart disease.
  • Right heart failure, left heart failure, or both

  • People with right heart failure leak fluid into the tissue and organs that deliver blood to the right heart through the vena cava.
  • Backpressure in capillary blood vessels causes them to leak water into space between cells and commonly the fluid can be found in the lowest parts of the body.
  • Gravity causes fluid to accumulate in the feet and ankles but as more fluid accumulates, it may creep up to involve all of the lower legs.
  • Fluid can also accumulate within the liver causing it to swell and within the abdominal cavity .
  • Ascites and hepatomegaly may make the patient feel bloated, nauseated, and have abdominal pain with the feeling of distension.
  • Depending upon their underlying illness and the clinical situation, patients may have symptoms of right heart failure, left heart failure, or both.
  • Odema In Certain Parts Of The Body Is Indicative Of Congestive Heart Failure

    Written by Agencies | Published : December 20, 2017 2:22 PM IST

    Heart failure is the term used for the condition describing the inability of the heart to keep up with the demands on it, specifically the failure of the heart to pump blood with normal efficiency. When this occurs, the heart is unable to provide adequate blood flow to other organs such as the brain, liver and kidneys. Heart failure may be due to failure of the right or left or both ventricles. When the blood flowing out of the heart is slower in comparison to the blood being brought in through the veins, the blood starts backing up causing congestion in the tissues and organs of the body. Due to this, different parts of the body such as the liver, abdomen, legs may develop swelling or edema. Heart failures that cause this congestion are known as congestive heart failure. Reduce or blockage in regular ventricular function is characteristic of congestive heart failure.

    Read Also: How To Increase Heart Rate Immediately

    Related: The Surprising Reason Most People Get Cancer

    Before you pop a Tylenol and shrug off that head pain, know that severe headaches can be symptomatic of a stroke or blood clot, too, says Goldenberg. While a headache alone isn’t necessarily indicative of a heart issue, if you’re experiencing it along with other symptoms like stiffness in your neck, fatigue, or dizziness, or it comes on suddenly, you could be in danger of an aneurysm and should seek medical attention.

    We asked a hot doc how to treat a headache without meds. Here is what he said:

    This might be the hardest sign to decipher because there are a million reasons you might feel tiredlack of sleep, stress, etc. But here we’re talking an abnormal level of fatigue. “If you’re relatively fit and all of a sudden start feeling winded climbing a flight of stairs, there’s a problem,” says Goldberg. Another sign: If you’re feeling a level of weakness that you’d previously only experienced when sick with the flu. In this case, your heart may be struggling to oxygenate your body.

    While this symptom is easy to dismiss, particularly for women who refuse to slow down, it should be a red flag if you’re experiencing it along with any other strange symptoms.

    Congestive Heart Failure Drugs

    Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) for Nursing & NCLEX

    There are several medications that can be used to treat CHF, including ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, and more.

    ACE inhibitors

    Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors open up narrowed blood vessels to improve blood flow. Vasodilators are another option if you cant tolerate ACE inhibitors.

    You may be prescribed one of the following:

    voluntary recall of 5 lots of the drug Accupril due to the presence of nitrosamine. Nitrosamine, a known carcinogen with the potential to cause cancer, was found to exist in the drug at levels greater than the Acceptable Daily Intake as determined by the FDA. This recall is specific only to a handful of lot numbers and does not affect all Accupril tablets made by Pfizer. If you take Accupril tablets, talk with your pharmacist or doctor and they will help you determine if your medication has been impacted by the recall.

    ACE inhibitors shouldnt be taken with the following medications without consulting a doctor, because they may cause an adverse reaction:

    • Potassium-sparing diuretics and potassium supplements. These diuretics can cause potassium buildup in the blood, which may lead to abnormal heart rhythms. Examples include: riamterene , eplerenone , and spironolactone .
    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs .NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen, can cause sodium and water retention. This may reduce the ACE inhibitors effect on your blood pressure.


    This may be achieved with:


    Your doctor may recommend:

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