Heart failure

Alternative Names

CHF; Congestive heart failure; Left-sided heart failure; Right-sided heart failure – Cor pulmonale

Definition of Heart failure

Heart failure, also called congestive heart failure, is a condition in which the heart can no longer pump enough blood to the rest of the body.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Heart failure is a chronic, long-term condition, although it can sometimes develop suddenly.

Symptoms

Symptoms of heart failure most often begin slowly. At first, they may only occur when you are very active. Over time, breathing problems and other symptoms may be noticed even when you are resting.

Signs and tests

A physical examination may reveal the following:

Treatment

MONITORING AND SELF CARE

Expectations (prognosis)

Heart failure is a serious disorder. It is usually a chronic illness, which may get worse with infection or other physical stress.

Review

Issam Mikati, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Director, Northwestern Clinic Echocardiography Lab, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 6/22/2010

Heart, section through the middle
Heart, front view
Circulation of blood through the heart

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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