Doctor's Notes on Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
Congestive heart failure (CHF) refers to a condition in which the heart is no longer able to pump blood sufficiently to meet all the body’s needs for oxygen. The inability of the heart to pump sufficiently ultimately causes fluid (mainly water) to leak from capillary blood vessels, causing many of the characteristic symptoms. Any disease that can weaken the heart can cause congestive heart failure. Some of the more common causes are:
- coronary artery disease,
- high blood pressure (hypertension),
- problems with the heart valves, and
- chronic alcohol abuse.
- Symptoms of congestive heart failure include
- swelling or edema,
- typically in the legs,
- ankles, and
- increased urination,
- decreased appetite, and
- problems sleeping when reclining.
What Is the Treatment for Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)?
The treatment for congestive heart failure is to some extent dependent upon the cause of the heart failure and usually involves a combination of different medications, which may include:
- Diuretics to control fluid buildup
- Medications to control blood pressure, including angiotensin converting inhibitors (ACEs), beta-blockers, androgen receptor-2 blockers, or others
- Medication to strengthen the heart’s activity such as digoxin
- Vericiguat (Verquvo), which a type of drug known as an oral soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) stimulator
- Nitrate medications to control chest pain
- Blood-thinning medications to prevent clots
Some people, depending on the cause of their CHF, may require:
- Surgery to repair or replace heart valves
- Coronary bypass surgery
- Insertion of a pacemaker, ventricular assist devices
- Heart transplantation
Heart Disease : Test Your Medical IQ QuizQuestion
In the U.S., 1 in every 4 deaths is caused by heart disease.See Answer
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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.