Heart failure or malfunctioning is the condition in which the heart fails to thrust out blood to fulfill the body’s requirement and when this happens all of a sudden it is referred as ‘Acute heart failure’.
The heart failure can start on the left area or right area or even both the areas may stop working simultaneously due to various reasons.
- Heart failure on the left side:This is the commonly occurring type and the patient becomes breathless due to fluid accumulated in the lungs. In systolic failure, the left ventricle stops from thrusting the blood and mainly the reason for acute malfunction. In diastolic failure, there will be trouble in filling out blood by the left ventricle.
- Heart failure on the right side: When the left side of the heart fails concurrently the right side starts to malfunction. As the left ventricles stops to works it increases the pressure on the right side and thus leads to damage. The right ventricle stops to pump and there will be collection of fluid in the veins which makes the legs and feet to swell.
The signs and symptoms include,
- Breathing difficulty especially during exercise and when in lying position.
- Feeling tired and weak
- Inflammation of ankles, leg and feet
- Increase in heart rate
- Relentless cough or wheezing which has white or pink color traced sputum
- Frequent urination at night
- Abdominal bloating
- Abrupt weight gain because of fluid retention
- Decreased desire for food and vomiting
- Lack of alertness and attentiveness
- Severe pain in the chest, if heart failure occurs due to myocardial infarction
If a person has any of the following conditions, failure or malfunctioning of the heart occurs.
- Coronary heart disease that is followed by the heart attack
- Raised blood pressure which makes the heart to work more and thus leading to malfunction
- Injury to the heart muscle that occurs due to several reasons such as infections, various diseases, consumption of alcohol and intake of certain drugs that has cocaine and others that is used in chemotherapy.
- Inflammation of the muscles(Myocarditis) in the heart that happens due to viral infection
- Severe other infections that affects the heart
- Some unknown allergic reactions
- Blood clots that occur in the blood
- Usage of certain drugs that harms the heart
- Any other sickness that affects the entire body
The cardiologist will take detailed medical history and also examines physically and asks for the symptoms. He might check for the risk factors such as CAD, hyper tension and diabetes. By means of stethoscope he will listen to heart for abnormal rhythms and also congestion in the lungs. He might advise the following test to confirm the failure of the heart,
- Blood tests to find out the functioning of the kidneys, liver and thyroid which indicates abnormalities.
- X-rays, it will show enlarged heart and also fluid accumulation in the lungs that shows the malfunctioning of the heart
- Electrocardiogram (ECG), it is done to discover the activity level of the heart, also rhythm abnormality and also any injury to the heart muscles because of heart attack
- Echocardiogram (Echo), it is one of the vital test to detect the heart failure and it differentiates the systolic from diastolic heart failure. It helps to diagnose valve problems,and other heart abnormalities. It determines the ejection fraction that reveals how well the heart pumps out the blood.
- Stress test, it is done to find out the response of the heart and blood vessel during exercise. It determines the cardiac disease and the pumping rate of the heart.
- CT and MRI scan, it helps to diagnose the heart problems and even the causes for it. It will give out accurate images that identifies the problem exactly
- Angiogram, it is day care procedure that is done by inserting the catheter into the blood vessel and it finds out the deposits in the blood vessels
It can be treated in the following ways,
- Certain medications are prescribed by the doctors to make the job of the heart to be easy. Mostly combination of two drugs is given.
- Surgical intervention is one of the options for treating heart failure. The several surgeries include replacement of heart valve, CABG, placing of defibrillators, using heart pumps and biventricular pacemakers and in severe cases heart transplant is advised.
- Making changes in the life style such as quitting up smoking, watching on their weight and consuming less salted foods and cholesterol low foods and also fluid intake should be limited mainly alcohol. Also regular exercise, meditation and proper rest will help to manage the stress and also keeps the heart active.