Heart Failure

The heart is an important organ in the body that pump blood to the different parts of the body. When the heart muscle does not pump blood properly, the person may experience a discomfort called heart failure or congenital heart failure. Many people think that heart failure is when the heart stops working. It is absolutely wrong and a person can’t live with an inactive heart. Heart failure is the condition when the blood moves very slowly through the heart and body. The pressure of heart will also be increased during heart failure. There are many medical conditions which may cause damage to the heart muscle resulting in heart failure. It can be:

  • Coronary artery disease.
  • Heart attack.
  • Cardiomyopathy.
  • Conditions that pressurise heart to overwork etc.

Heart failure may be asymptomatic or may have mild as well as severe symptoms. Symptoms may be stable or unstable. Changes to the heart and body may affect heart failure symptoms to an extent. If the condition of the heart is very weak, symptoms can be severe. Some of the common symptoms are:

  • Rapid or irregular heartbeats
  • Congested lungs
  • Fluid and water retention
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness etc.

It is not necessary that you will have all the symptoms even if you have heart failure. Complete medical history analysis and physical examinations are part of heart failure diagnosis. Other diagnostic tests may include:

  • Blood tests.
  • B-type Natriuretic peptide.
  • ECG or EKG.
  • Stress test.
  • X-ray of the chest.
  • Echocardiogram.
  • Cardiac catheterization.
  • Ejection fraction.
  • Cardiac MRI.
  • CT coronary angiogram etc.

Various treatment options are available for heart failure. The first line of treatment may include medication, lifestyle changes and careful monitoring. Mild stages of heart disease may require medications like:

  • Heart pump medication.
  • Digoxin.
  • Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.
  • Beta-blockers.
  • Calcium channel blockers.
  • Blood vessel dilators.
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs).
  • Potassium or magnesium.
  • Diuretics.
  • Aldactone inhibitors.

Cases that do not respond to medications may require surgical management. Most common surgical procedures are:

  • Heart transplant.
  • Bypass surgery.
  • Infarct exclusion surgery.
  • Left ventricular assist device.
  • Heart valve surgery.

Regular consultations and monitoring of symptoms can prevent heart failure to an extent.