Everything you need to know about heart failure (2023)

Heart failure occurs when the heart does not pump blood efficiently through the body. This can cause a number of symptoms that includeedema, weakness and difficulty breathing.

It becomes a life-threatening condition when the heart continues to fail and cannot supply enough blood to the body. The most common causes are coronary heart disease, heart attacks and high blood pressure.

This article discusses the types of heart failure, its symptoms and treatment. Ways to diagnose and prevent heart failure will also be discussed.

Everything you need to know about heart failure (1)

Types of heart failure

Heart failure is chronic or acute. Chronic heart failure develops slowly while acute heart failure develops suddenly. From there, heart failure can be divided into three categoriesPolite: right-sided heart failure, left-sided heart failure and congestive heart failure.

To understand heart failure, it's important to know that blood flows through the heart.

  1. The right atrium receives deoxygenated blood from the body and sends it to the right ventricle.
  2. The right ventricle then sends blood to the lungs for oxygenation.
  3. Oxygenated blood returns from the lungs to the left atrium.
  4. The blood then goes to the left ventricle and pumps it around the body.

Left heart failure

smallleft heart failure, also called left ventricular heart failure, when the heart does not pump blood efficiently throughout the body. It has to work harder to get the blood to all the organs and tissues.

There are two subtypes in left heart failure:

  • Heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF):HFrEF is also known as systolic heart failure. In this type, the heart cannot contract well enough to pump blood out of the body.
  • Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF):HFpEF is also known as diastolic heart failure. In this type, the ventricular heart muscle is very stiff and does not allow the heart to fill with enough blood between heartbeats.

Right heart failure

Right heart failure, also called right heart failure, occurs when the right ventricle fails to pump bloodlungseffective. This may be the result of left heart failure or other conditions.

Congestive heart failure

Congestive heart failure(CHF) is an advanced stage of heart failure. This happens when the heart does not pump blood efficiently and blood stagnates in the body. This causes fluid to build up in the lungs, tissues, organs, and many other places.

Heart failure and COVID-19

When someone has COVID-19, it can make heart problems like heart failure worse. The inflammation caused by COVID-19 can damage the heart by making it harder for the body to pump blood.

What you need to know about heart failure and COVID-19

Symptoms of heart failure

Every person will experiencesymptoms of heart failuremiscellaneous. Symptoms may appear suddenly or develop slowly over time. Most people experience shortness of breath and swelling. Symptoms of heart failure may include:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Shortness of breath when lying down
  • Cough
  • Decreased appetite
  • Sensation and weakness
  • Edema
  • Abdominal distension

Later stages of heart failure can cause the following symptomssymptoms:

  • Fast heartbeat
  • Feet swelling
  • Changes in lung sounds (crackles)
  • Heart rate changes (gallop)

What is it like to have heart failure?

When someone has heart failure, it can be difficult to put into words exactly how they feel. Fluid buildup in the body and lungs can cause severe coughing and abdominal swelling, and make it difficult to breathe.

They may feel their heart speeding up or beating. If they develop high levels of certain blood byproducts, such as ammonia, they may feel disoriented.Each person's experience will be different, so it's important to share your symptoms with your doctor.

Stages of heart failure

There are twoClassification of heart failuresystems that healthcare professionals can use to classify the severity of a person's heart failure.

The New York Heart Association (NYHA) uses a staging system from stage 1 to stage 4. A person's stage may move forward or backward depending on symptoms. The stages are:

  • Step 1:Diagnosed with heart failure, but has no symptoms and limited activity.
  • Phase 2:Mild symptoms with little activity limitation.
  • Phase 3:Activity is very limited, and a person feels comfortable only when resting.
  • Phase 4:There are significant limitations in activity and symptoms at rest.

The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) use a different onestaging system. In this system, once a person reaches a certain level, they cannot go back to a lower level.

  • Phase A:There are no symptoms or signs of heart failure. This phase is also known as vestibular failure.
  • Phase B.:There are no symptoms, but the heart rate is reduced.
  • Phase C:Heart failure is diagnosed and symptoms are present.
  • Phase D:Symptoms of heart failure occur when a person is minimally active or resting. The person does not see the benefit of treatment.

What causes heart failure?

People diagnosed with heart failure usually have or have had another heart condition. Having more than one condition can greatly increase your risk of developing heart failure. The conditions that most commonly cause heart failure are:

  • Coronary artery disease:This condition causes the coronary arteries to narrow, making it harder for the heart to pump. This can weaken the heart muscle and lead to heart failure.
  • Myocardial infarction:A heart attack damages the heart muscle and causes scar tissue to form, making it difficult for the heart to pump effectively.
  • High blood pressure:Continuously high pressure in the heart can make the heart weak.

Other conditions that can cause heart failure include:

  • Heart arythmia
  • infections
  • Pulmonary disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Congenital heart defect

How is heart failure diagnosed?

Heart failure is diagnosedusing various diagnostic tools. Your healthcare professional will determine the best combination based on your needs.

Medical examination

A physical examination is one of the first things a healthcare professional will do when evaluating heart failure. The examination includes auscultation of the heart, lungs and abdominal cavity. The healthcare professional will ask questions that may include your medical history,family historyand information on lifestyle choices, such assmoking, diet and exercise.

Blood test

Blood tests can detect changes in the body and show if someone has heart failure. ANDbrain natriuretic peptide (BNP)blood test increases with heart failure.

Other blood tests may include electrolytes andcreatinine levels.


Oneechocardiogram (lub echo)it's an ultrasound of the heart. It can see how well the heart is working, look for thickening of the heart muscle, and measure the ejection fraction.Ejection fraction is a measure of the percentage of blood that leaves the heart with each heartbeat. The average extrusion fraction is 50-70%. An ejection fraction of 40% or less indicates heart failure.

Other tests

The healthcare professional may schedule other tests based on the person's symptoms and the results of previous tests. Other tests that can be used to diagnose heart failure include:

  • electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Stress test
  • heart MRI

Treatment of heart failure

Treating heart failure will optimize the heart's ability to pump blood to the lungs and body. The treatment plan will vary from person to person depending on the severity of the disease and other conditions they may have.

Lifestyle changes

When someone has mild to moderate heart failure, lifestyle changes can have a real impact on their daily lives. Lifestyle changes that can slow the progression of symptoms include:

  • Stop smoking
  • Weight loss or maintenance
  • To avoidalcohol
  • Monitor fluid intake
  • To avoidcaffeine
  • Stress reduction
  • Practice


Many medications can treat heart failure. Each drug treats different symptoms (if taken as directed).

  • beta-blockers:This class of drugs causes the heart to pump less forcefully and at a more regular rate. Examples include Coreg (carvedilol) and Toprol XL (metoprolol).
  • Aldosterone antagonists:These drugs block aldosterone and help the body get rid of water and sodium. An example of this is Aldactone (spironolactone).
  • Inhibitory ACE:This type of drug relaxes the veins and arteries, lowering blood pressure. Examples include Capoten (captopril) and Vasotec (enalapril).
  • Angiotensin Receptor Neprilysin Inhibitor (ARNI):it makes it easier for the heart to pump blood around the body by reducing fluids. The only available ARNI is sacubitril/valsartan.
  • diuretics:This group of drugs draws fluid from the body, reducing blood pressure and swelling.

Left ventricular assist device

ONELeft ventricular assist device (LVAD)it is a mechanical pumpsurgicalit is inside the body and is connected to the heart. An LVAD is implanted when the heart is weakened and cannot pump enough blood through the body. It supports the heart by pumping blood through the body.

LVAD is usually reserved for people who don't respond to other treatments. It can serve as a "transplant bridge", which means it supports the person until a heart transplant is performed. Or it can act as a "target therapy," meaning that the person will not receive a heart transplant and will remain on an LVAD for the rest of their lives. A person can go home with an LVAD and have a high quality of life.

Heart transplant

ONEheart transplantperformed when someone has end-stage heart failure. This is a complicated operation where the patient's heart is removed and replaced with a donor's heart.When someone receives a heart transplant, they will have to take preventive medicine for the rest of their livesrefusal. There are many risks associated with a heart transplant, but the recipient can return to many of his or her activities and hobbies after recovery.

Can heart failure be prevented?

While not every case of heart failure can be prevented, there are many steps you can take to reduce your risk. Ways toprevention of heart failureswitch on:

  • To avoidsmoking
  • Eat healthy
  • Lose weight if necessary
  • Follow your doctor's advice for other heart-related conditions

Chances of heart failure

Heart failure is a condition that has been and continues to be studied extensively to find better treatments and solutions. Current treatment options can be improvedLifeand quality of life. It's important to follow your doctor's instructions and take your medications as directed.


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