Heart Failure: Introduction and Types

  • Also called cardiac failure.
  • A condition where heart fails to supply sufficient amount of blood.
  • This condition of insufficient blood supply occurs in all parts of the body.
  • Involvement of left ventricle or right ventricle or both.
  • Can be acute and chronic.

a) Acute heart failure

  • Occurs suddenly and rapidly.
  • Shows signs and symptoms of abnormal heart
  • Symptoms seem severe initially.
  • However, symptoms are observed for short period.
  • Improved conditions achieved rapidly.
  • But requires treatment.

b) Chronic heart failure

  • Symptoms appear slowly over period of time.
  • Conditions become worst gradually.

c) Congestive heart failure

  • Results by accumulation of fluid in lungs and other tissues.
  • Blood remains in heart when unable to pump blood through aorta.
  • Results in dilation of the chambers.
  • This cause accumulation of blood in veins called vascular congestion.
  • Occurrence of fluid retention and pulmonary edema.

Various causes of heart failure

  • Arrhythmia
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Lung disorders
  • Anemia
  • Congenital heart diseases
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Defective heart valves
  • Cardiomyopathy (cardiac muscle disease)
  • Myocarditis(inflammation of heart muscle)
  • Genetic causes
  • Excess alcohol consumption
  • Previous heart attack
  • Infections(viruses)

Signs and symptoms

A) In acute heart failure

i) Signs and symptoms are similar to chronic heart failure.

ii) But appear suddenly and severely.

iii) Fluid accumulates in lungs no sooner heart fails to pump blood.

iv) This causes pulmonary edema.

v) Shortness of breath occurs immediately.

vi) Cough with pink, foamy mucus.

vii) Heart palpitations.

viii) Sudden death results if not treated immediately.

B) In chronic heart failure

i) Loss of appetite

ii) Cough

iii) Chest pain developed by myocardial infarction

iv) Rapid and irregular heart beat

v) Nausea and vomiting

vi) Fluid retention and weight gain

vii) Shortness of breathing

viii) Fatigue and weakness

What is Heart Failure? | GenesisCare

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Types of heart failure

a) Systolic heart failure

  • If heart ability to contract decrease, it occurs.
  • Right, left or both heart parts is involved.
  • Valvular defect and muscular weakness are the reasons.
  • Blood cannot be pumped forcely though the ventricles are filled with blood.
  • Ejection fraction is reduced by 20%.
  • Due to this, blood amount decreases to the lungs and to the other parts.
  • This cause accumulation of blood in ventricle more.
  • As a result later on, accumulation starts in lungs or systemic veins or both.
  • Enlargement of ventricle occurs in this type.

Congestive Heart Failure: Treatment, Symptoms, Stages, Prevention &  Survival Rate

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b) Diastolic heart failure

  • Problem in relaxation of ventricle properly is the main cause.
  • Reason for this is stiffening of cardiac muscle.
  • Results in delay in ventricular filling and cardiac output.

iii) Right sided heart failure

  • Reason is the loss in pumping action of right side of the heart.
  • Right ventricle cannot pump properly.
  • Accumulation of blood occurs in right atrium and blood vessels.
  • As a result, edema occurs in different parts of the body.
  • Legs, feet, ankles, abdomen are the major body sites.

d) Left sided heart failure

  • Left side of the heart if cannot pump properly, it occurs.
  • Results in the congestion of lungs.

Heart Failure: Causes and Risk Factors

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Other types

a) Compensated heart failure

  • Occurs with adequate cardiac output.
  • Heart maintains the cardiac output through various compensatory mechanisms.
  • Increase in heart rate, ventricular hypertrophy, increase in ventricular contraction are some.
  • Symptoms remain stable here.
  • Also, there is no fluid retention and pulmonary edema.
  • In most of the patient cases, these mechanisms cannot even fulfill the demand.
  • Thus, decompensated heart failure occurs.

b) Decompensated heart failure

  • Occurs due to inadequate cardiac output.
  • Deterioration and sudden and drastic changes in heart functions.
  • Worsens the condition of the heart more.
  • Finally death may result from it.


i) https://www.genesiscare.com/au/condition/cardiovascular-disease/heart-failure/

ii) https://www.emedicinehealth.com/congestive_heart_failure/article_em.htm

Heart Failure: Introduction and Types