Symptoms and Signs of Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

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Medically Reviewed on 5/7/2020

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

Symptoms of congestive heart failure include

  • swelling or edema,
  • typically in the legs,
  • ankles, and
  • abdomen.

Fluid buildup in the lungs is known as pulmonary edema, which leads to shortness of breath. Other associated symptoms include fatigue, increased urination, decreased appetite, and problems sleeping when reclining.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.