Congestive Heart Failure: Prevention Treatment And Research
Congestive heart failure is a serious condition in which the heart doesnt pump blood as efficiently as it should. Despite its name, heart failure doesnt mean that the heart has literally failed or is about to stop working. Rather, it means that the heart muscle has become less able to contract over time or has a mechanical problem that limits its ability to fill with blood. As a result, it cant keep up with the bodys demand, and blood returns to the heart faster than it can be pumped outit becomes congested, or backed up. This pumping problem means that not enough oxygen-rich blood can get to the bodys other organs.
The body tries to compensate in different ways. The heart beats faster to take less time for refilling after it contractsbut over the long run, less blood circulates, and the extra effort can cause heart palpitations. The heart also enlarges a bit to make room for the blood. The lungs fill with fluid, causing shortness of breath. The kidneys, when they dont receive enough blood, begin to retain water and sodium, which can lead to kidney failure. With or without treatment, heart failure is often and typically progressive, meaning it gradually gets worse.
More than 5 million people in the United States have congestive heart failure. Its the most common diagnosis in hospitalized patients over age 65. One in nine deaths has heart failure as a contributing cause.
Coronary Bypass Surgery Preventing Chronic Heart Failure
CABG and percutaneous interventions can in some cases to preventing CHF in patients who have severe blockages in their coronary arteries that severely reduce blood flow and the delivery of oxygen and nutrition to heart cells by increasing blood flow, explains Norman E. Lepor, MD, Co-director, Cardiovascular Imaging, Westside Medical Imaging and Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCLA.
Why cant CABG prevent congestive heart failure in ALL the patients who undergo this heart procedure?
Dr. Lepor explains, Patients who do not seem to benefit from CABG or angioplasties to prevent CHF include those with milder disease (fewer blockages, blockages that are not in critical areas such as the widow maker and less severe blockages.
The widow maker refers to the left main artery in the heart, which supplies the left anterior descending artery and left circumflex artery. Sometimes, however, this term refers only to the LAD.
If a blockage occurs to the left main artery, a significant portion of heart muscle will be left without oxygen. If not treated promptly, a victim can suffer a quick death.
Surgical Options To Treat Underlying Causes Of Heart Failure
- Coronary artery bypass graft or angioplasty to prevent and treat heart failure caused by blocked arteries. During bypass surgery, blood vessels taken from another part of the body usually the leg are used to link the open parts of a blocked artery around the blockage. In angioplasty, a thin flexible tube called a catheter is inserted through a small incision in the groin or neck into a blood vessel. In one procedure, a balloon is introduced through the catheter into the center of a blocked blood vessel. When the balloon is inflated, the blockage material is compressed back against the walls of the artery. A small metal device, called a stent, may be inserted through the catheter to serve as a permanent barrier to keep the plaque compressed. In another type of procedure, instruments are introduced through the catheter to remove the plaque.
- Implantation of pacemakers and other devices such as artificial heart valves
- Repairing congenital heart defects
Surgical treatments for heart failure itself include:
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Common Signs And Symptoms Of Heart Failure
It is very important for you to manage your other health conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease, anemia, high blood pressure, thyroid disease and asthma or chronic lung disease. Some conditions have signs and symptoms that are similar to heart failure. If you have new or worsening non-urgent symptoms, tell your healthcare provider.
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- Destination therapy
Bridge to transplantation
Each year, more people with end-stage heart failure are evaluated and listed for transplantation. Unfortunately, there are not enough suitable donor organs for all of the patients waiting for a heart transplant.
People who are listed for heart transplantation and are too ill to wait any longer, or are expected to have prolonged wait times, are referred for a VAD as a bridge to transplantation. The VAD allows them to recover and wait at home for an organ to become available.
Bridge to recovery
In some cases of heart failure particularly newly diagnosed CHF or heart failure after other cardiac surgery the heart may recover after a period of support on a VAD. These patients are supported temporarily as a bridge to recovery.
After implantation, the VAD is turned down and the heart is reassessed to see if its function has improved enough to allow the VAD to be removed.
Typically, people recommended for VAD as a bridge to recovery have CHF as a result of:
- Viral infection
What’s The Difference Between Heart Failure And Congestive Heart Failure
4.8/5Heart FailureHeart failureheartcongestive heart failure
Congestive heart failure is a chronic progressive condition that affects the pumping power of your heart muscles. While often referred to simply as âheart failure,â CHF specifically refers to the stage in which fluid builds up around the heart and causes it to pump inefficiently. You have four heart chambers.
Furthermore, what is the life expectancy of someone with congestive heart failure? Life expectancy with congestive heart failure varies depending on the severity of the condition, genetics, age, and other factors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , around one-half of all people diagnosed with congestive heart failure will survive beyond five years.
Considering this, what are the 4 stages of congestive heart failure?
There are 4 stages of heart failure . The stages range from “high risk of developing heart failure” to “advanced heart failure,” and provide treatment plans. Ask your healthcare provider what stage of heart failure you are in.
Can you reverse congestive heart failure?
The new CHF: It’s treatable. There was a time when a diagnosis of congestive heart failure meant that a physician would merely try to ease a patient’s symptoms. Now, through the early recognition of heart failure and swift treatment, we can not only treat the symptoms, we can slow the disease â and even reverse it.
Warning signs of worsening heart failure
What Are The Types Of Heart Failure
Systolic dysfunction happens when the heart muscle doesn’t contract with enough force, so there is less oxygen-rich blood pumped throughout the body.
Diastolic dysfunction happens when the heart contracts normally, but the ventricles donât relax properly or are stiff, and less blood enters the heart during normal filling.
A calculation done during an echocardiogram, called the ejection fraction , is used to measure how well your heart pumps with each beat to help determine if systolic or diastolic dysfunction is present. Your doctor can discuss which condition you have.
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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.
Right heart failure, left heart failure, or both
Congestive Heart Failure Procedures And Interventions
Other treatment or procedures may be offered, depending on the underlying cause of the heart failure.
Angioplasty: This is an alternative to coronary bypass surgery for some people whose heart failure is caused by coronary artery disease and may be compounded by heart damage or a previous heart attack. Angioplasty is performed to treat narrowing or blockage of a coronary artery that supplies the left ventricle with blood. The narrowing or blockage is caused by cholesterol deposits.
- Angioplasty begins with the cardiac catheterization procedure during which a long, thin tube called a catheter is inserted through the skin, into a blood vessel, and threaded into the affected artery. This procedure is performed while the person is under local anesthesia.
- At the point of the atherosclerotic narrowing or blockage, a tiny balloon and/or an expandable metal stent, attached to the end of the catheter, is inflated and/or deployed.
- The expanded stent pushes aside the cholesterol deposits that are blocking the artery so that blood can flow through in a more normal manner.
Pacemaker: This device controls the rate of the heartbeat. A pacemaker may keep the heart from going too slow, increasing heart rate when the heart is not increasing enough with activity. It also helps sustain regular rates when the heart is not beating in a coordinated way. Or, the pacemaker performs some combination of these.
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Is There Surgery For Congestive Heart Failure
Surgeries are available to treat congestive heart failure. However, selecting the appropriate type of surgery relies on the doctor. The reason is that not all the patients are same and possess same metabolism or severity of the congestive heart failure condition. Therefore, the doctor chooses to proceed ahead only after acquiring detailed information related to the illness.
What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Failure
You may not have any symptoms of heart failure, or the symptoms may be mild to severe. Symptoms can be constant or can come and go. The symptoms can include:
- Congested lungs. Fluid backup in the lungs can cause shortness of breath with exercise or difficulty breathing at rest or when lying flat in bed. Lung congestion can also cause a dry, hacking cough or wheezing.
- Fluid and water retention. Less blood to your kidneys causes fluid and water retention, resulting in swollen ankles, legs, abdomen , and weight gain. Symptoms may cause an increased need to urinate during the night. Bloating in your stomach may cause a loss of appetite or nausea.
- Dizziness, fatigue, and weakness. Less blood to your major organs and muscles makes you feel tired and weak. Less blood to the brain can cause dizziness or confusion.
- Rapid or irregular heartbeats. The heart beats faster to pump enough blood to the body. This can cause a rapid or irregular heartbeat.
If you have heart failure, you may have one or all of these symptoms or you may have none of them. They may or may not indicate a weakened heart.
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How Can I Prevent Heart Failure
You can prevent heart failure by preventing coronary heart disease and heart attack. The best way to do this is to reduce or eliminate the risk factors that lead to heart failure. You could:
If you have had a heart attack, its even more important to manage your risk factors and follow your treatment plan. Make sure you check in frequently with your healthcare team.
Some risk factors such as your age, whether you have other health conditions, or your genes may be outside your control. Speak with your doctor if you have concerns about developing heart failure, and how you can manage it.
What Procedures And Tests Diagnose Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure can be a medical emergency, especially if it acutely decompensates and the patient can present extremely ill with the inability to breathe adequately. In this situation, the ABCs of resuscitation need to be addressed while at the same time, the diagnosis of congestive heart failure is made.
Common tests that are done to help with the diagnosis of congestive heart failure include the following:
- Electrocardiogram to help assess heart rate, rhythm, and indirectly, the size of the ventricles and blood flow to the heart muscle.
- Blood tests may include a complete blood count , electrolytes, glucose, BUN, and creatinine .
- B-type natriuretic peptide may be helpful in deciding if a patient has shortness of breath from congestive heart failure or from a different cause. It is a chemical that is located in the heart ventricles and may be released when these muscles are overloaded.
- Echocardiography or ultrasound testing of the heart is often recommended to assess the anatomy and the function of the heart. In addition to being able to evaluate the heart valves and muscle, the test can look at blood flow within the heart, watch the chambers of the heart contract, and measure the ejection fraction .
Other tests may be considered to evaluate and monitor a patient with suspected congestive heart failure, depending upon the clinical situation.
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Medicines For Heart Failure
Most people with heart failure are treated with medication. Often you’ll need to take 2 or 3 different medicines.
Some of the main medicines for heart failure include:
- ACE inhibitors
- hydralazine with nitrate
You may need to try a few different medicines before you find a combination that controls your symptoms but doesn’t cause unpleasant side effects.
Stages Of Heart Failure
In 2001, the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology described the “Stages of Heart Failure.” These stages, which were updated in 2005, will help you understand that heart failure is often a progressive condition and can worsen over time. They will also help you understand why a new medication was added to your treatment plan and may help you understand why lifestyle changes and other treatments are needed.
The stages classified by the AHA and ACC are different than the New York Heart Association clinical classifications of heart failure that rank patients as class I-II-III-IV, according to the degree of symptoms or functional limits. Ask your doctor what stage of heart failure you are in.
Check the table below to see if your therapy matches what the AHA and ACC recommend. Note that you cannot go backward in stage, only forward.
The table below outlines a basic plan of care that may or may not apply to you, based on the cause of your heart failure and your special needs. Ask your doctor to explain therapies that are listed if you do not understand why you are or are not receiving them.
The New York Heart Association clinical classifications of heart failure rank people as class I-II-III-IV, according to the degree of symptoms or functional limits. You can ask your doctor if you want to know what stage of heart failure youâre in.
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Life Expectancy With Congestive Heart Failure
The life expectancy of someone with congestive heart failure depends on the type of heart failure, the cause, the stage of the disease, and how effective treatment is.
When heart failure results from cardiomyopathy or coronary artery disease, a person typically has a less positive outlook than someone with heart failure in its earliest stage.
What Diet Plans Lifestyle Changes And Management Tips Help Treat Congestive Heart Failure Naturally
Lifestyle changes recommended by your doctor or other health care professional can help relieve symptoms, slow the progression of heart failure, and improve one’s quality of life. Lifestyle changes that may be helpful in preventing or relieving heart failure include those recommended by the American Heart Association and other organizations as part of a heart-healthy lifestyle.
- Once diagnosed and under the care of a qualified medical professional, patients can and should do several things at home to increase their comfort and reduce the chance of the condition getting worse.
- In fact, the more active role patients take in managing heart failure, the more likely they are to do well.
- Making the lifestyle changes described here will make a real difference. Not only will patients feel better, but they will increase their chances of a longer, healthier life.
Treat swelling with the following measures:
- Elevate the feet and legs if they are swollen.
- Eat a reduced-salt diet.
- Weigh in every morning before breakfast and record it in a diary that can be shown to a health care provider.
Avoid the following:
- Excessive emotional stress and/or depression
- High altitude
- Herbal or other complementary medicine without first consulting a doctor to see if they are safe
Patients with congestive heart failure should know the following information that may apply to their disease:
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