Heart Failure Facts


Case, Jameson

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First aid - Look, listen and feel for breathing

Heart failure is a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough oxygenated blood to meet the needs of the body's other organs. Heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure, may result from the following conditions: heart valve disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), infections of the heart valves and/or heart muscle, previous heart attack, coronary artery disease, congenital heart disease/defects (present at birth), cardiac arrhythmias, chronic lung disease, or diabetes.

A weakened heart also interferes with the kidney's ability to eliminate excess sodium and waste from the body. In heart failure, the body retains more fluid--resulting in swelling of the ankles and legs. Fluid also collects in the lungs, which causes shortness of breath.

Patients tend to have a lot of questions about heart failure. What does heart failure mean for your future? How is it different from a heart attack? This video clears things up.

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Apr 6, 2017

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