What Are The Causes
Sometimes it just happens. But usually itâs left-side heart failure that causes right-side heart failure. As the left chamber of your heart loses some of its ability to pump, blood continues to back up — sometimes into your lungs.
Heart failure is a long-term condition that gets worse over time. In most cases, you get it because you have other health issues that have damaged or weakened your heart.
Some other causes of right-side heart failure include:
Coronary artery disease. This is the most common form of heart disease and cause of heart failure. When you have coronary artery disease, plaque blocks your arteries, causing blood flow to your heart muscle to slow or even stop. Read more on clogged arteries and the causes of arterial plaque.
High blood pressure. It measures how hard your heart pumps blood through your arteries. The higher your blood pressure, the harder your heart is working to pump it. That means over time, your heart muscles can thicken and weaken because of the extra work they do. Learn about the symptoms of high blood pressure.
Damaged heart valves. Valves keep blood flowing in the right direction through your heart. If they get damaged, by an infection or heart defect, for instance, your heart has to work harder to pump blood. Eventually, it will become weakened. Get more information on heart valve disease symptoms and causes.
Congestive Heart Failure Nursing Diagnosis & Care Plan
Heart failure is a chronic condition in which the heart is unable to pump as effectively and efficiently as possible to meet the bodys demands. Heart failure can be right- or left-sided, as well as, systolic of diastolic in nature. Systolic heart failure is when the heart is unable to contract completely, and therefore, will not pump the appropriate amount of blood out of the heart. Diastolic heart failure is when the heart is unable to relax completely between beats likely due to cardiac muscle stiffness, which results in the heart being unable to properly fill with blood. Congestive heart failure refers to left-sided heart failure and means the left side of the heart is unable to contract and pump properly thereby resulting in a backup of blood and congestion.
Why Does Heart Failure Cause Edema
Although it sounds like the heart is failing to work at all, the term heart failure really means that the heart has grown weaker or stiffer. It still pumps blood, but its not enough to meet the bodys needs.
Heart failure can result from several issues, including:
- various types of heart disease
- valve disease
Diseases like diabetes and sleep apnea can also weaken the heart.
Since the heart isnt able to adequately pump blood out through the arteries and bring it back through the veins, blood can begin to pool, especially in the legs and feet.
The veins require a certain amount of force from the heart to keep blood flowing up to the heart and lungs, where it receives oxygen and other nutrients. The pressure inside the veins is also higher due to higher pressures in those with heart failure.
Without medications or devices to improve the heart muscles strength, blood doesnt circulate properly in someone with heart failure. Excess blood and other fluids in the capillaries can leak out into bodily tissues, causing edema.
Sometimes edema is the first sign of heart failure. Once heart failure is diagnosed, it becomes important to monitor increases in body weight that may result from increased fluid retention.
One 2021 review of studies suggests that increases in edema may also predict worsening heart failure.
There are three main types of heart failure. Each one reduces the hearts ability to pump effectively.
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What Are The Symptoms
Your feet, legs, and ankles will likely to swell because blood is backing up in your veins. This symptom is called edema.
- If it backs up into your stomach or liver, you may notice that your abdomen is distended, too.
- You might find that you have to go to the bathroom more, especially at night. This is caused by fluid buildup, too.
As your heart failure gets worse, you may also see some of these symptoms:
- Itâs hard to breathe.
- Your neck veins are swollen.
- Your pulse is fast or feels âoff.â
- Your chest hurts.
- Youâre gaining weight from excess fluid.
- You donât feel like eating.
- Your skin is cold and sweaty.
- Youâre very tired.
Heart Failure With Reduced Ejection Fraction Treatment
Treatment for anyone with heart failure should start with lifestyle modification such as:
- Diet modification, including low sodium and fluid intake
- Smoking cessation
- Increased exercise
- Maintaining a healthy weight
Pharmacotherapy is the cornerstone of the treatment of HFrEF. The main validated heart failure medications are:
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors/angiotensin receptor blockers : Proven to reduce mortality rates and improve kidney function
- Beta-blockers: Proven to reduce mortality rates by decreasing strain on the heart
- Diuretics: Includes drugs like thiazides, which not only reduce mortality, but also reduce congestive symptoms by removing fluid around the heart and lungs. Loop diuretics produce a more intense and shorter diuresis effect than thiazides.
- Mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists , such as spironolactone and eplerenone: Used when beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors fail. They should be used cautiously in those with kidney disease, as the medication can exacerbate renal dysfunction.
- Digoxin: Has a high side effect profile and is used as a last-ditch effort to reduce hospitalization
- Ivabradine: Works like a beta-blocker to slow the heart often prescribed to those who cannot tolerate beta-blockers and used together with ACE inhibitors/ARBs or MRAs/ARBs
Finally, if you are still asymptomatic, digoxin, an LV assist device, or heart transplantation should be considered.
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Treatments For Congestive Heart Failure
Heart failure has no known remedy. The goal of treatment is to alleviate symptoms while also slowing the progression of the disease to avoid life-threatening conditions. The stage and type of heart failure determine the treatment plan, as well as the patients underlying diseases. Although the treatments vary in terms of medications, lifestyle changes are crucial to prevent heart failure. Due to fluid retention, patients may be advised to avoid salt. Caffeine consumption may also be reduced due to irregular heartbeats. Lastly, a physician will tell you how much and what kind of liquids to drink, as fluid consumption may need to be restricted at times.
What Causes Heart Valve Problems In Dogs
There are many causes of mitral valve insufficiency, such as infection, age, infection , but the most common cause is congenital. Smaller dogs, such as Shih Tzus , Poodles, and Terriers are most susceptible to this disorder. Mitral valve insufficiency eventually will cause heart failure unless you catch it early and if it is treatable.
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What Is Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure is another word for heart failure. Heart failure is a severe disease in which the heart fails to pump blood as efficiently as it once used to. Heart failure, despite its name, does not imply that the heart has failed or is going to cease working. It just means the heart is working at low efficiency. Rather, it indicates that the heart muscle has grown less capable of contracting with time or that it has a mechanical issue that prevents it from filling with blood. The risk of heart failure becomes more likely as a person ages.
What Causes Heart Failure
Heart failure can be caused by many medical conditions that damage the heart muscle. Common conditions are:
- Coronary artery disease affects the arteries that carry blood and oxygen to the heart . The normal lining inside the arteries breaks down, the walls of the arteries become thick, and deposits of fat and plaque partially block the flow of blood. Over time, the arteries become very narrow or completely blocked, which causes a heart attack. The blockage keeps the heart from being able to pump enough blood to keep your organs and tissues healthy. When arteries are blocked, you may have chest pain and other symptoms of heart disease.
- Heart attack. A heart attack happens when a coronary artery suddenly becomes blocked and blood cannot flow to all areas of the heart muscle. The heart muscle becomes permanently damaged and muscle cells may die. Normal heart muscle cells may work harder. The heart may get bigger or stiff .
- Cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy is a term that describes damage to and enlargement of the heart muscle not caused by problems with the coronary arteries or blood flow. Cardiomyopathy can occur due to many causes, including viruses, alcohol or drug abuse, smoking, genetics and pregnancy .
- Tobacco and illicit drug use.
- Medications. Some drugs used to fight cancer can lead to heart failure.
Medical History And Physical Exam
Bring a list of your symptoms to your doctors appointment, including how often they happen and when they started. Also, bring a list of any prescription and over-the-counter medicines you take. Let your doctor know if you have any risk factors for heart failure.
During your physical exam, your doctor will:
- Measure your heart rate, blood pressure, and body weight.
- Listen to your heart with a stethoscope for sounds that suggest that your heart is not working properly.
- Listen to your lungs for the sounds of fluid buildup.
- Look for swelling in your ankles, feet, legs, liver, and veins in your neck.
What Happens If Left Side Of Heart Fails
When the left side of the heart is failing, it cant handle the blood it is getting from the lungs. Pressure then builds up in the veins of the lungs, causing fluid to leak into the lung tissues. This may be referred to as congestive heart failure. This causes you to feel short of breath, weak, or dizzy.
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What Are The Complications Of Heart Failure
Untreated heart failure can eventually lead to congestive heart failure , a condition in which blood builds up in other areas of your body. In this potentially life threatening condition, you may experience fluid retention in your limbs as well as in your organs, such as the liver and lungs.
Additional complications of heart failure can include:
- arrhythmias, like atrial fibrillation
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.
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Risk Factors Associated With Left
As you may have guessed, there are people who are more prone to left-sided heart failure than others. Some of the left-sided heart failure risk factors are out of our control, while others are an indication of how important it is to pay attention to our overall health since we can have influence over it.
Here are some of the common risk factors:
- Blood clots: Clots in the lungs are known to lead to left-sided heart failure
- Chronic diseases: HIV, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, diabetes, or a build-up of protein or iron can lead to left-sided heart failure.
- Congenital heart defects: These can prevent proper blood flow from the heart.
- Aortic stenosis: Blood flow slows and then the heart weakens when the aortic valve opening narrows.
- Cardiomyopathy: This is a hereditary condition that can lead to heart damage.
- Irregular heartbeats: Abnormal heart rhythms can weaken the heart muscle.
- Myocarditis: This is a condition that is caused by inflammation of the heart
- Pericardial constriction: This is inflammation that creates a sac covering the heart, which can scar and tighten the heart muscle.
- Previous heart attack: In some cases, this can impact the pumping of blood
- Medications: Some chemotherapy and diabetes medications may increase risk.
- Valvular heart disease: Damage to one of the four heart valves can prevent the heart from pumping blood properly.
- Viral infection: Some viral infections have the potential to damage heart muscle.
Symptoms Of Congestive Heart Failure
Symptoms of heart failure can range from mild to severe and may come and go. Heart failure worsens over time for most people. More or different signs or symptoms may appear as it worsens. It is crucial to track and share these symptoms with your physician to avoid acute heart failure.
- Trouble breathing
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How Does Heart Failure Affect Quality Of Life And Lifestyle
With the right care and treatment plan, heart failure may limit your activities, but many adults still enjoy life. How well you feel depends on how well your heart muscle is working, your symptoms and how well you respond to and follow your treatment plan. This includes caring for yourself and living a healthy lifestyle .
Because heart failure is a chronic long-term illness, talk to your doctor and your family about your preferences for medical care. You can complete an advance directive or living will to let everyone involved in your care know your desires. A living will details the treatments you do or dont want to prolong your life. It is a good idea to prepare a living will while you are well in case you arent able to make these decisions at a later time.
Reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional.
What Are The Symptoms Of Left Ventricular Failure
There are a number of different left-sided heart failure symptoms. As we mentioned earlier, shortness of breath occurs because of fluid backing up into the lungs. This shortness of breath often gets worse at night, so some sufferers have to sleep upright. As time goes on, left-sided heart failure can cause shortness of breath at any time of day even when resting.
Here are the other common symptoms of left ventricular failure:
Some of the symptoms described here are due to forward failure, which means the heart isnt pumping enough of the blood out to other parts of the body. Fatigue, chest discomfort, and a decrease in urine are caused by forward failure.
Other symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, coughing with blood, and weight gain are a result of backward failure, which occurs when the heart isnt receiving enough blood.
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Heart Failuresigns And Symptoms
Heart failure is a condition in which the heart fails to function properly. The terms “heart failure” and “congestive heart failure ” don’t mean that the heart has actually “failed” or stopped but mean one or more chambers of the heart “fail” to keep up with the volume of blood flowing through them.
Heart failure is brought on by a variety of underlying diseases and health problems.
Your condition may involve the left side, the right side or both sides of the heart. Each side has two chambers:
- An atrium or upper chamber
- A ventricle or lower chamber
Any one of these four chambers may not be able to keep up with the volume of blood flowing through it.
Two types of heart dysfunction can lead to heart failure, including:
- Systolic Heart Failure This is the most common cause of heart failure and occurs when the heart is weak and enlarged. The muscle of the left ventricle loses some of its ability to contract or shorten. In turn, it may not have the muscle power to pump the amount of oxygenated and nutrient-filled blood the body needs.
- Diastolic Failure The muscle becomes stiff and loses some of its ability to relax. As a result, the affected chamber has trouble filling with blood during the rest period that occurs between each heartbeat. Often the walls of the heart thicken, and the size of the left chamber may be normal or reduced.
Women And Heart Failure
Women are just as likely as men to develop heart failure, but there are some differences:
- Women tend to develop heart failure later in life compared with men.
- Women tend to have heart failure caused by high blood pressure and have a normal EF .
- Women may have more shortness of breath than men do. There are no differences in treatment for men and women with heart failure.
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Heart And Vascular Care For The Whole Person
Norton Heart & Vascular Institute offers patient resources to support you and your family, including free classes for people of all ages who are seeking to improve cardiovascular health or living with a heart condition.
Prevention is the best way to manage heart disease, and screenings are available to detect early signs of cardiac and vascular disease and identify risk factors.
Why Its Important To Know Your Ef
If you have a heart condition, it is important for you and your doctor to know your EF. Your EF can help your doctor determine the best course of treatment for you. Measuring your EF also helps your healthcare team check how well our treatment is working.
Ask your doctor how often you should have your EF checked. In general, you should have your EF measured when you are first diagnosed with a heart condition, and as needed when your condition changes.
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Coronary Angiography And Cardiac Catheterization
A coronary angiography and cardiac catheterization are two diagnostic procedures often used to identify problems with the heart. It is a surgical procedure that involves a small incision made into the groin, arm, or neck and into a large blood vessel. A catheter is fed through the blood vessel, via the incision, to the heart.
The coronary angiography portion of this procedure involves the administration of a contrast dye . After you are given the contrast dye, the doctor can take X-rays, which allow them to watch where the dye goes and observe its flow through the blood vessels and heart. This is helpful in identifying any blockages.
Other things can be done through a cardiac catheterization. Biopsies of tissue can be taken, stents can be placed to open up blockages, and the pressure of blood flow through the heart can be measured.
These tests are invasive procedures and are usually able to be done on a same-day surgery basis. Depending on where your incision is made and what is done during the procedure, you may need to lay flat for a period of time following your cardiac catheterization. You should follow your doctor’s or nurse’s instructions precisely during your recovery period.