Chronic Heart Failure (CHF)

Chronic Heart Failure (CHF)

Chronic Heart Failure (CHF) occurs when the heart is no longer able to pump effectively, leading to a range of symptoms, including fatigue, breathlessness and swelling of the extremities.

What Causes CHF?

CHF can be caused by many factors, including:

  • Ischemic heart disease (coronary artery disease)
  • Heart valve disorders, such as aortic stenosis or mitral regurgitation
  • High blood pressure or hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiomyopathy (disease of heart muscle)
  • Viral or bacterial infections, such as Lyme disease
  • Inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis

What Are The Symptoms of CHF?

Symptoms of CHF can vary but may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swollen legs, ankles, and feet
  • Cough
  • Increase in heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Weight gain

How is CHF Diagnosed?

A doctor may diagnose CHF based on the patient's symptoms and by performing a physical examination. Tests that may be used to diagnose CHF include:

  • Echocardiography (ultrasound of the heart)
  • Chest x-ray
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Stress test
  • Blood tests
  • Cardiac catheterization and angiography

How is CHF Treated?

Treatment of CHF depends on the underlying cause. Treatment may involve lifestyle changes, medications, and in some cases, implanted devices or surgery. Treatment may involve:

  • Medications to reduce symptoms and improve heart function.
  • Lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly
  • implanted devices, such as a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)
  • Surgery to repair damaged or defective heart valves.