In congestive heart failure (CHF), the heart is unable to pump the necessary amount of blood throughout the body. This causes blood to back up in the veins. Fluid pools in the liver and lungs. Swelling occurs first in the feet, ankles, and legs. Then the swelling occurs throughout the body as the kidneys begin to retain fluid.
—uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to examine the size, shape, function, and motion of the heart
Exercise stress test
—records the heart's electrical activity during increased physical activity, may be coupled with echocardiogram
Patients who cannot exercise may be given a medication to simulates physical exertion
Nuclear scanning—radioactive material (such as thallium) is injected into a vein and highlights areas with diminished flow
Electron-beam CT scan (coronary calcium scan, heart scan,
)—measures the amount of calcium deposits in the coronary arteries to help to determine the risk of heart disease, including heart attacks
The American Heart Association (AHA) published guidelines in 2006 that heart scans are not for everyone and those most likely to benefit from the procedure are patients at intermediate risk of coronary artery disease
—x-rays with a special dye that allows the doctor to look for abnormalities (narrowing, blockage) in the arteries and evaluate the function of the heart
Treatment of Underlying Conditions
CHF may be caused by another condition. Treating the other condition should improve or cure your CHF.
This is a mechanical pump that can be implanted in your chest. It temporarily assists the heart's pumping. The pump may take over the function of either or both ventricles. Initially it has been used only for patients awaiting heart transplant. In recent years it has emerged as possible long-term treatment for some patients.
This is a surgical procedure in which a muscle from the back is removed and wrapped around the heart. A mechanical device stimulates the transplanted muscle to squeeze the heart, thus assisting the heart's pumping action.
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Hunt SA, Baker DW, Chin MH, et al. ACC/AHA guidelines for the evaluation and management of chronic heart failure in the adult.
American College of Cardiology Foundation (ACCF)
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Paterna S, Parrinello G, Cannizzaro S, et al. Medium term effects of different dosage of diuretic, sodium, and fluid administration on neurohormonal and clinical outcome in patients with recently compensated heart failure.
Am J Cardiol.
2009;103:93-102. Epub 2008 Oct 17.
*¹4/16/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
: Nilsson BB, Westheim A, Risberg MA. Effects of group-based high-intensity aerobic interval training in patients with chronic heart failure.
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2008 Nov 15;102:1361-1365. Epub 2008 Sep 11.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a