Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure (or heart failure) is a condition in which the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood to meet the needs of the body. When a specific cause of congestive heart failure is discovered, it should be treated or, if possible, corrected. Most cases of mild and moderate congestive heart failure are treatable. With proper medical supervision, people with heart failure don't have to become invalids.

Causes of Heart Failure

  • untreated high blood pressure
  • heart attack
  • coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis)
  • congenital heart defects
  • viral diseases of the heart muscle
  • a disease of the heart muscle called dilated cardiomyopathy
  • rheumatic fever
  • high blood pressure in the lungs, resulting from lung disease

Symptoms of Heart Failure

The "failing" heart keeps working but doesn't work as efficiently as it should. As blood flow out of the heart slows, blood returning to the heart through the veins backs up, causing congestion of fluid in the tissues. Often swelling (edema) results, most commonly in the legs and ankles, but possibly in other parts of the body as well. Sometimes, fluid collects in the lungs and interferes with breathing, causing shortness of breath, especially when a person is lying down or exerting oneself.

You can find further information here: The American Heart Association Website