Congestive Heart Failure

When you have heart failure, your weakened heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to your organs. You may be short of breath, retain fluid, or feel unusually tired. This condition can make everyday activities like walking and climbing stairs more difficult.

What is congestive heart failure?

Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart isn’t pumping blood as efficiently as it should. As a result, the flow of blood to the vital organs decreases and causes the pressures in the heart to increase. This prevents the heart from pumping enough blood that supplies the oxygen and nutrients to meet the body’s needs. Congestive heart failure can be caused by a number of conditions that damage the heart muscle, such as coronary artery disease, heart attack, cardiomyopathy, and high blood pressure. 

Congestive heart failure versus heart failure

Heart failure when associated with congestion or fluid retention is referred to as congestive heart failure. The fluid retention can be in the lungs (pulmonary congestion or pulmonary edema), legs, ankles, liver (hepatic congestion), or the abdomen (ascites).

Types of heart failure are:

Left-sided heart failure

The heart’s left ventricle is the most important chamber that is responsible for delivering blood and oxygen to all organs. When the left ventricle fails, the function of all organs is affected. There are two types of left-sided heart failure:

Systolic (HFrEF)

This occurs when the heart muscle doesn’t contract with enough force, which leads to less oxygen-rich blood being pumped through the body. 

Diastolic (HFpEF)

With this condition, the heart contracts normally, but the left ventricle is stiff, causing pressure, inside the heart to rise. 

Right-sided heart failure

The heart’s right ventricle works to pump blood into the lungs to be filled with oxygen. During right-sided heart failure, the right ventricle loses its ability to pump. This causes the blood to back up into the veins. Right-sided heart failure typically results in fluid retention and swollen feet, ankles, and legs.  

Acute heart failure

Acute heart failure, also referred to as decompensated heart fai