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Heart Failure

What is a definition of heart failure?

Heart failure is a chronic and progressive heart condition, described as an inability of the heart muscle to pump the blood effectively. Heart failure occurs when the heart’s pumping ability is compromised, leading to inadequate blood flow to the body’s organs and tissues. This can result from various underlying conditions that weaken or damage the heart muscle, such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, heart valve disorders, cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle) or congenital heart defects. With time, as the heart’s pumping function decreases, fluid may accumulate in the lungs, causing breathless and legs, causing swelling.;

Common signs and symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath,  fatigue,  ankles swelling,  gaining weight, cough or even blackouts as a result of arrhythmias,  which may be present in heart failure.

Heart failure can be classified into two main types based on the ejection fraction, which refers to the percentage of blood pumped out of the heart’s main pumping chamber (the left ventricle) with each contraction. It is important to note that ejection fraction of over 55% is a normal value. The two main types include heart failure with reduced ejection fraction, which is commonly seen as a result of heart attack. . Second type is heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, when the heart becomes stiff and less compliant.

The management of heart failure encompasses various medications such as: angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), beta-blockers, diuretics (“water tablets“) and aldosterone antagonists. They all play different roles in the treatment of heart failure, but the aim is to improve the symptoms and help with the recovery of the heart`s pumping function. 

In some patients, implantable devices such as cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) devices or implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) may be recommended to help regulate heart rhythm, improve cardiac function, and prevent sudden cardiac death.

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