Sunday, April 24, 2011

Understanding Heart Failure

Heart failure is a syndrome that occurs when heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s metabolic needs. This results in intravascular and interstitial volume overload and poor tissue perfusion. It may be classified according to side of heart affected, either left-sided or right-sided heart failure, or cardiac cycle involved (systolic or diastolic dysfunction).

How does this happen?


  • Ineffective left ventricular contractility 
  • Reduced left ventricular pumping ability 
  • Decreased cardiac output to body 
  • Blood backup into left atrium and lungs 
  • Pulmonary congestion, dsypnea, activity intolerance 
  • Pulmonary edema and right-sided heart failure.


  • Ineffective right ventricular contractility 
  • Reduced right ventricular pumping ability 
  • Decreased cardiac output to lungs 
  • Blood backup into right atrium and peripheral circulation 
  • Weight gain, peripheral edema, engorgement of kidneys and other organs.

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