Congestive heart failure (CHF) occurs when the heart muscle is not able to pump enough blood to satisfy the metabolic needs of the tissues. Heart failure may be due to a primary disease of the heart muscle, which is called cardiomyopathy, or may be secondary to diseases which affect the heart muscle such as hypertension, coronary heart disease, or various diseases of the heart valves.
Heart failure is divided into various types. Left-sided heart failure is failure of the left ventricle (larger chamber that pumps blood to the body). This may result in fluid accumulating in the lungs and the patient complaining of shortness of breath. Right-sided failure is failure of the right ventricle (chamber that pumps to the lungs) and may result in fluid accumulating in the abdomen and in the ankles.
Heart failure is further subdivided into systolic dysfunction, which is an abnormality of contraction of the pumping chambers of the heart and diastolic dysfunction where the pumping chamber may be contracting normally but does not relax properly, i.e., they are stiff. It is important to try to understand the difference types of heart failure since the treatment may vary depending on the type.
Treatment usually consists of lifestyle alterations and a combination of medications, although surgery may be recommended in some cases.
The Medifocus Guide on Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:
What are the most common symptoms of CHF?
Are there any recognized risk factors for developing CHF?
What kinds of medical tests are used to establish the diagnosis of CHF?
What is the current standard of care for the treatment of CHF?
What treatment options are available for the management of CHF?
Are there any promising new developments or potential breakthroughs in treatment?
Who are the most notable medical authorities who specialize in CHF?
Where are the leading hospitals and centers of research for CHF?
What are the most important questions to ask my doctor about CHF?
What Your Doctor Reads:
This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:
Chronic heart failure. A guide for practical management. Australian Family Physician. 2000
Heart failure: future treatment approaches. American Journal of Hypertension. 2000
Role of tumour necrosis factor-alpha in the progression of heart failure: therapeutic implications. Drugs. 2000
Catabolism in chronic heart failure. European Heart Journal. 2000
Epidemiology, aetiology, and prognosis of heart failure. Heart. 2000
Vital epidemiologic clues in heart failure. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. 2000
Optimising management of patients with advanced heart failure: the importance of preventing progression. Drugs & Aging. 2000
Systematic review of the management of atrial fibrillation in patients with heart failure. European Heart Journal. 2000
Essentials of the diagnosis of heart failure. American Family Physician. 2000
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