Congenital Heart Disease In Dogs
Your beloved pet can have heart problems just like you. Know the symptoms so you can get your companion the help they need.
Heart disease can affect one side of the heart or sometimes both sides. It can progress slowly and may take years to spot.
What Is Heart Failure
Heart failure, or congestive heart failure, is a long-term condition that gets worse over time. Although the name sounds like your heart has stopped working, heart failure means your heart isnt able to pump blood as well as it should. When your heart has less pumping power, that can damage your organs and fluid can collect in your lungs.
What Are The Main Causes Of Heart Failure
Heart failure can have many causes. The most common causes are:
- Coronary heart disease this is where the arteries that supply blood to the heart become clogged up with fatty substances called atherosclerosis which may cause symptoms of chest discomfort called angina or heart damage from a heart attack.
- Hypertension high blood pressure can put extra strain on the heart, which over time can lead to heart failure.
- Cardiomyopathy conditions affecting the heart muscle and can be hereditary or acquired condition that causes the changes in the heart muscle tissue leading to failure of function.
- Arrhythmias heart rhythm problems such as atrial fibrillation which impairs the contraction strength of the heart by the persistent fast heart rate is one of the many rhythm disturbances causing the heart to pump less efficiently.
- Heart valve disease valve defects and damage will increase volume and strain on the heart and weaken it.
- Congenital heart disease birth defects that affect the normal workings of the heart.
- Metabolic hyperthyroid with overactive thyroid and diabetes are endocrine causes of heart failure.
- Toxicity alcohol and certain chemotherapy drugs can be toxic to the muscle cells and damage their function.
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How Is Heart Failure Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask you many questions about your symptoms and medical history. Youâll be asked about any conditions you have that may cause heart failure . Youâll be asked if you smoke, take drugs, drink alcohol , and about what drugs you take.
Youâll also get a complete physical exam. Your doctor will listen to your heart and look for signs of heart failure as well as other illnesses that may have caused your heart muscle to weaken or stiffen.
Your doctor may also order other tests to determine the cause and severity of your heart failure. These include:
Other tests may be ordered, depending on your condition.
Types Of Heart Failure
The main types of heart failure are named for where they occur in the heart:
- Left-sided heart failure
- Biventricular heart failure
Clinicians also may classify heart failure as:
- Acute: You have active symptoms of heart failure, with either a new diagnosis or with long-term heart failure.
- Chronic: You have a history of heart failure, but your condition is relatively stable with no symptoms or with manageable symptoms.
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About Congestive Heart Failure
Heart failure, sometimes called congestive cardiac failure , is a condition in which the heart muscle is weakened and cant pump as well as it usually does. The main pumping chambers of the heart can change size and thickness, and either cant contract or cant relax as well as they should. This triggers fluid retention, particularly in the lungs, legs and abdomen.
The major causes of heart failure include coronary heart disease and heart attack, high blood pressure, damage to the heart muscle , heart valve problems and abnormal heart rhythms. Of these, coronary heart disease and heart attack are the most common causes.
The major factors that contribute to coronary heart disease include:
- reduced emotional and social wellbeing
- physical inactivity.
Heart failure is more common in elderly people. The survival rate for people with this disorder depends on the severity of their condition.
You Don’t Have To Face Hf Alone
The term heart failure makes it sound like the heart is no longer working at all and theres nothing that can be done. Actually, heart failure means that the heart isnt pumping as well as it should be. Congestive heart failure is a type of heart failure that requires seeking timely medical attention, although sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably.
Your body depends on the hearts pumping action to deliver oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to the bodys cells. When the cells are nourished properly, the body can function normally.With heart failure, the weakened heart cant supply the cells with enough blood. This results in fatigue and shortness of breath and some people have coughing. Everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs or carrying groceries can become very difficult.
Heart failure is a term used to describe a heart that cannot keep up with its workload. The body may not get the oxygen it needs.
Heart failure is a serious condition, and usually theres no cure. But many people with heart failure lead a full, enjoyable life when the condition is managed with heart failure medications and healthy lifestyle changes. Its also helpful to have the support of family and friends who understand your condition.
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Congestive Heart Failure Drugs
There are several medications that can be used to treat CHF, including ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, and more.
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:
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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:
Signs Of Heart Failure Progression
As heart failure progresses, your symptoms will most likely worsen. You may also begin to experience:
- Shortness of breath: Fluid may leak into the lungs, causing breathlessness, especially during physical activity. As your condition progresses, this symptom may also occur while youre at rest.
- Irregular heartbeat: A weakened heart may develop arrhythmia or an irregular heartbeat. You may feel like your heart is racing, fluttering or skipping a beat.
- Coughing: Because heart failure may cause fluid to build up in your lungs, you may experience persistent coughing. Some people cough up white mucus tinged with blood.
- Confusion or memory loss: A lack of nutrients in your blood can cause confusion and disorientation.
- Abdominal pain: Restricted blood flow to your digestive system makes it challenging for your body to process food. You may lose your appetite or feel sick to your stomach. Fluid retention may also cause swelling and pain in this area.
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Is Chf Due Mainly To Heart Valve Disease
CHF is most commonly caused by valvular insufficiency. It is estimated that 80% of the canine CHF cases are caused by MVI. However, there are many other causes. Disease of the heart muscle , irregularities of rhythm, and narrowing of some of the major blood vessels can also cause CHF. Initially, MVI results in left-sided congestive heart failure. If left untreated, the heart failure may progress to involve both sides of the heart.
What Does Moving To Hospice Care Involve
If you and your family have made the decision to pursue hospice care while receiving inpatient care, a case manager or social worker can help facilitate the process. If you are at home and would like to transition to hospice care, hospice agencies can help make the arrangements. Hospice agencies will review your needs and have a doctor order the appropriate medications for you. These medications will focus not on treating your condition, but on managing your symptoms and comfort as much as possible.
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What To Expect During The Final Stages Of Congestive Heart Failure
Heart failure refers to when the heart cant or doesnt work well enough to provide oxygen and nutrients to the parts of the body and brain that need them. This decrease in cardiac output means the heart isnt strong enough to move blood from the body and lungs back to the heart. This causes fluid to leak from capillary blood vessels.
Shortness of breath, weakness, and swelling are some things that might happen because of this. Before we dive into the depths of the heart failure signs of death, lets understand what goes on in the body.
When To Get Medical Advice
See a GP if you experience persistent or gradually worsening symptoms of heart failure.
Call 999 for an ambulance or go to your nearest A& E department as soon as possible if you have sudden or very severe symptoms.
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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.
What Makes Yale Medicines Approach To Treating Congestive Heart Failure Unique
Yale Medicines multidisciplinary team comprises heart failure cardiologists and cardiac surgeons, dedicated advanced-practice, registered nurses and nurse coordinators, dietitians, exercise physiologists, financial counselors, immunologists specializing in transplants, psychologists, and specialists in palliative care.
With a multidisciplinary approach, Yale Medicine physicians include the patients desires as well as input from the family to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that’s right for them.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Congestive Heart Failure
Following are the most common signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. CHF signs and symptoms in children may include:
- Failure to gain weight in infancy. Some babies will have normal length, but low weight for age
- Shortness of breath or labored breathing
- Needing to take frequent rest breaks while playing with friends
- Falling asleep when feeding or becoming too tired to eat during infancy
- Cough and congestion in the lungs
The severity of the condition and symptoms depends on whether and how much of the heart’s pumping capacity has been affected and/or how much extra blood is going to the lungs.The symptoms of CHF may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child’s physician for a diagnosis.
How To Treat And Prevent Congestive Heart Failure
Treatment for heart failure varies depending on the severity of your condition. Adopting a healthy lifestyle tends to significantly impact treating and preventing congestive heart failure. If you form these habits early, you can lower your risk of developing heart failure in the first place. Consider the following strategies to prevent heart failure:
- Avoid smoking: People who smoke are 2-4 times more likely to develop coronary heart disease that can lead to heart failure.
- Eat healthy foods: Eating primarily fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, healthy fats and lean protein promotes your heart health and overall well-being.
- Stay active: Exercising regularly is great for your heart, and it helps control your weight. Maintaining a healthy weight lowers your risk of heart failure.
- Take care of yourself: Many types of heart disease can lead to heart failure. If you have an existing cardiovascular condition, monitor and manage it carefully. Take your medications as prescribed to maintain your heart health.
For most people, heart failure is a lifelong condition. Fortunately, treatment can reduce your symptoms and increase your chances of enjoying a long and healthy life. Here are some treatment options to slow the progression of congestive heart failure:
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Weird Aches And Pains
Heart failure rarely causes chest pain. Instead, weirdly enough, strange aches and pains may appear in odd places during mild exertion, such as climbing stairs. The jaw is a common location to experience heart failure pain. Other sites the pain can occur are the arms, the shoulders, the back, and even the abdomen. If you feel weird pains during exertion that subside once youve rested, you should consult a doctor.
Symptoms Of Heart Failure
Symptoms of heart failure include:
- new or worsening shortness of breath
- difficulty lying flat at night
- fainting or passing out
- weight gain
- muscular fatigue, tiredness
- swelling of ankles or legs
- swelling of abdomen
- heart palpitations
- chest pain or discomfort in parts of the upper body
- unexplained coughing and wheezing
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How Is Heart Failure Treated/managed
Treatment of heart failure depends on the underlying cause and this will direct the main treatment to prevent further deterioration. Heart failure can be cured if it has a treatable cause.
If the causes are due to coronary heart disease then the patient may require coronary stents or . If there is a heart valve cause, then the defective valve will need surgery to repair or replace the valve.
All heart failure patients will need:
- Lifestyle changes including eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and stopping smoking and watching fluid intake and reduce alcohol consumption.
- Medicine a range of medicines can help many people need to take three to four different types which have evidence to show they strengthen the heart and improve prognosis. This includes beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, ARNI and SGLT2 inhibitors. Other medicines, such as diuretics, may be used to help with the symptoms.
In cases where patients are seen to be experiencing continued deteriorating heart function despite the best and optimal medication, the following may be considered:
- Cardiac resynchronising therapy In very severe heart failure conditions, a specialised type of pacemaker has shown to benefit and improve symptoms as well as prolonging life by resynchronising the contractility of the two main pumping chambers of the heart.
- Cardiac transplant If there is no scope for recovery and the condition deteriorates then in suitable patients, a heart transplant may be considered.
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 help decide if a patient has shortness of breath from congestive heart failure or 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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