What is Heart Failure?

Heart Failure is defined as a state of abnormality of the cardiac function where the rate of pumping blood by the heart does not commensurate with the requirement of peripheral tissues.

Precipitating Causes of Heart Failure

1. Pulmonary Embolism

Patients of low physical activity or who are confined to bed are at an increased risk of developing a thrombus in the veins of the lower extremity. A part of this thrombus breaks off and gets impacted in the pulmonary veins of the lungs. This causesa severe backpressure on the right ventricle.

2. Infection

Any infection can precipitate heart failure. The resulting fever, high pulse rate, hypoxia (low oxygen) may place a burden on an overloaded heart.

3. Severe Anemia

The oxygen needs of peripheral tissues have to be fulfilled in the presence of severe anemia. Increased heart pumping can help achieve this in a normal heart. But a diseased heart is unable to cope up and fails.

4. Hyperactive Thyroid and Pregnancy

Places a tremendous strain on diseased heart, which then fails.

Causes of Heart failure

Acute heart attack, rheumatic heart disease, and hypertension.

Clinical Features of Heart Failure

Dyspnea, cold clammy skin, cyanosis (blue discoloration of nails and lips), coughwith pink frothy sputum, abnormal pulse. Lung bases filled with water.

Management of Heart Failure

Prop the patient up in bed with a backrest and immediately inform a doctor.

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