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Heart Failure

Also called: Cardiac failure, CHF, Congestive heart failure, Left-sided heart failure, Right-sided heart failure

Summary

Heart failure is a condition in which the heart can't pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. Heart failure does not mean that your heart has stopped or is about to stop working. It means that your heart is not able to pump blood the way it should. It can affect one or both sides of the heart.

The weakening of the heart's pumping ability causes

  • Blood and fluid to back up into the lungs
  • The buildup of fluid in the feet, ankles and legs - called edema
  • Tiredness and shortness of breath

Common causes of heart failure are coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. It is more common in people who are 65 years old or older, African Americans, people who are overweight, and people who have had a heart attack. Men have a higher rate of heart failure than women.

Your doctor will diagnose heart failure by doing a physical exam and heart tests. Treatment includes treating the underlying cause of your heart failure, medicines, and heart transplantation if other treatments fail.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Start Here

  • (Consumers Union of U.S., National Center for Farmworker Health) - PDF
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

Symptoms

  • (American Heart Association)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

Diagnosis and Tests

Prevention and Risk Factors

Treatments and Therapies

  • (American Heart Association)
  • (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • (American Heart Association)
  • Pacemakers and Implantable Defibrillators: FreeFacebookCredits2012 Health Topic From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

Living With

  • Easy-to-Read (American Heart Association) Also in
  • (American Heart Association)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • (Heart Failure Society of America)
  • (American Heart Association)
  • (American Heart Association)
  • (American Heart Association)

Related Issues

  • (American Heart Association)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (Merck & Co., Inc.)
  • (Texas Heart Institute) Also in
  • (American Heart Association)
  • (American Heart Association)
  • (American Heart Association)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (American Heart Association)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

Specifics

  • (American Heart Association)
  • (American Heart Association)

Videos and Tutorials

  • Video (BroadcastMed) - Montefiore Medical Center, New York, NY, 2/13/2008

Statistics and Research

  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Reference Desk

  • (Texas Heart Institute) Also in
  • (Texas Heart Institute) Also in
  • (American Heart Association)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

Find an Expert

  • (Heart Rhythm Society)
  • From the National Institutes of Health

Children

  • (American Heart Association)

Seniors

  • (AGS Foundation for Health in Aging)

Patient Handouts

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