Medical Encyclopedia

Heart failure

What is heart failure?

In some diseases, there is an infringement of the heartbeat. Pathological condition, which is caused by failure of the heart as a pump that provides blood supply to tissues and organs is called heart failure.

Heart failure is not a separate disease, and the result of various disorders - heart can not push the artery sufficient blood for normal metabolism or take blood from the veins. In heart failure, heart function does not increase during load of the heart (reduced stroke volume), ventricular failure develops. As a result, the heart can develop reverse blood flow, which is accompanied by an overflow of the lungs and liver blood. Heart failure may be right ventricular, left ventricular and mixed, acute (eg, myocardial infarction) and chronic. Acute heart failure is much faster, although the causes and symptoms of acute and chronic disease are similar. Sometimes heart failure appears at rest.

Symptoms of heart failure

  • Shortness of breath, weakness.
  • Decrease in exercise tolerance.
  • Tachycardia.
  • Swelling.
  • Pallor.
  • Cold sweat.
  • Chill.

Causes of heart failure

Heart failure

Heart failure is a consequence and manifestation of diseases that affect the myocardium, or impede its operation: coronary heart disease and its defects, hypertension, diffuse lung disease, cardiomyopathies. Often heart disease, which caused failure, could interfere with the functions of various body systems. There are cases where heart failure is a complication of a bacterial or viral infection. Toxic substances (toxins), which are released by infectious agents, can cause inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis). Often, heart failure occurs when the coronary vessels of the heart. But the most common cause of heart failure is a heart muscle due to overexertion compromising its function (eg, myocardial infarction). In addition, the heart is subjected to excessive stress in violation of the heart valves or high blood pressure. In these cases, heart failure occurs only after some time (decades). Therefore, valvular (failure) or hypertension for a long time can not be detected (not yet manifested heart failure). For example, when a person experiences a great exercise, the heart pumps more blood than usual. However, this does not occur in heart failure. Tight muscle fibers squeeze the thin capillaries of coronary vessels, resulting in insufficient oxygen-rich blood flows to the heart muscle.

Treatment of heart failure

In the treatment of heart failure, it is important to facilitate the work of the ventricles of the heart. Doctors prescribe vasodilator drugs (eg, the so-called ACE inhibitors). Additionally doctors prescribe drugs that stimulate the heart muscle, such as glycosides. In acute heart failure -medicines containing nitroglycerin. In addition to drugs acting on the heart often doctors prescribe diuretics that stimulate the kidneys, regulate salt metabolism, reduce blood volume and edema.

Patients with heart failure should be strictly in bed. Sometimes they have to sit or recline on special beds, which are designed for patients suffering from heart disease. Patient’s lungs in a bed are under less stress.

Patients with heart failure should eat no more than 3 grams of salt a day. Therefore, they do not add salt to food, as it is already contained in many foods. In humans, 1 g of salt binds 100 cc. water, so the heart has an additional burden.

Consequences of failure of the left heart

The main causes of failure of the left heart - high blood pressure, aortic valve defects, coronary vessels of the heart. Due to failure of the left heart the amount of blood, which is ejected by the left ventricle into the aorta, decreases. The load on the pulmonary circulation increases. In the lungs the blood begins to accumulate. This condition is called cardiac asthma. Its main symptom is suffocation. Most often the attack happens at night. A man wakes up from a lack of air and the feeling of heaviness in the chest, and often starts breathing shallow. With the increase in pressure in the lungs, the blood flows into the alveoli, which eventually leads to lung edema. If the attacks are long, the bronchitis developed. In patients with a cough with bloody sputum, the skin becomes bluish tint.

Consequences of failure of the right heart

At right heart failure, there is a reverse process. Due to the fact that the right ventricle is unable to push the lungs enough blood, it gradually accumulates in the systemic circulation. First, right heart failure does not cause any ill health, as the circulatory system to cope with the load. In more severe cases due to slowing of blood flow in the liver jaundice and ascites (accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity) occur. Activity of the stomach, intestines and kidneys is gradually deteriorating. Soon, liquid seeps through the capillaries and collects in the tissues: in the standing position there are swollen ankle and shin, in lying - hips and buttocks. Fluid may accumulate in the abdominal and pleural cavities and in the pericardial cavity. Sick people quickly get tired, they have a rapid pulse, shortness of breath, bluish lips.

How to help yourself?

Compliance with a special diet, which is designed for people suffering from heart disease, can significantly alleviate the symptoms of heart failure. It is important to limit the amount of salt. The maximum allowable daily amount of salt - 3 g (a salt enters the body through use of basic food products). Before the advent of serious ailments, the patient should perform regular exercise, of course, with the permission of a doctor.

Heart failure is most often concerned the elderly, but the first symptoms of the disease may occur at a young age. When shortness of breath, frequent attacks of breathlessness, swelling of the lower extremities, as well as other symptoms of heart failure, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

If heart failure can be suspected with the symptoms, your doctor first carefully examines the heart and circulatory system of the patient. During auscultation doctor can hear noises, ECG and veloergometry can identify the causes of fatigue. A lot of information X-ray images of the heart and echoscopy provide. Catheterization of the heart cavities and other complex research are conducted after the improvement of the patient. These research is performed in a hospital.

Is heart failure a dangerous disease?

Heart failure - rapidly progressive disease. Lack of treatment leads to deterioration and death. With regular use of medication and diet the patient is stabilized.

Other articles:

Hypotension

Heart defects