Cardiac Decompensation

Cardiac Decompensation: What You Need to Know

Cardiac decompensation is a weak, irregular, or ineffective performance of the heart, which can lead to life-threatening cardiac events. It is a modern-day epidemic, playing a role in 25% to 30% of all hospitalizations in the United States. Here, we’ll take a look at what it is, what causes it, and how it can best be prevented.

What is Cardiac Decompensation?

Cardiac decompensation is an abnormal heart condition in which an underlying cardiac problem arises and affects the overall heart rhythm and functioning. It can be caused by either sudden or gradual problems, such as a heart attack, cardiac arrhythmia, or a chronic condition, such as coronary heart disease, hypertension, or congestive heart failure. In other words, it’s a way of saying that the heart is failing to perform normally.

What are the Symptoms of Cardiac Decompensation?

The most common symptoms of cardiac decompensation include:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Difficulty exercising
  • Swelling of the feet or ankles
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Confusion or lightheadedness

What Causes Cardiac Decompensation?

The most common cause of cardiac decompensation is a condition called cardiomyopathy, which is a weakening of the heart muscle. This is often caused by coronary artery disease, an enlarged heart, or an infection. Other causes include high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, metabolic disorders, and certain medications.

Can Cardiac Decompensation be Prevented?

The best way to prevent cardiac decompensation is to practice a healthy lifestyle and routine. Managing and controlling other chronic conditions (such as hypertension, diabetes, or metabolic disorders) can help reduce the risk of it developing. Seeing your doctor regularly, exercising, eating a balanced diet, and not smoking can also help. Your doctor may also recommend medications and lifestyle changes to help manage it.

When to See the Doctor About Cardiac Decompensation?

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, consider seeing your doctor as soon as possible to have your condition evaluated. Early diagnosis and treatment can help slow the progression of the underlying problem and improve your prognosis.