Heart Failure

The term heart failure may sound alarming, but it doesn’t mean the heart has “failed.” Instead, heart failure simply means the heart is not pumping as effectively as it should to meet the body’s need for blood and oxygen. High blood pressure and narrowed arteries in the heart can leave the heart too weak to handle its normal workload. Other causes of heart failure include faulty heart valves, infection, abnormal heart rhythms and myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle). The most common symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath and reduced ability to exercise, as well as edema (swelling due to fluid buildup) in the legs and ankles. Treating heart failure usually involves a combination of medications, such as ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, diuretics and digoxin. Doctors will also try to treat the underlying cause of heart failure, such as replacing a diseased valve, if possible. In serious cases, an implanted heart pump, known as a left ventricular assist device, can help the heart meet its demands. Heart failure patients are advised to get some aerobic exercise, follow a...more


More Heart Failure

Ask The Doctors: November 2018

Whether to continue taking clopidogrel with aspirin over the long term is a different issue. Aspirin alone can...

The Evolution of a Heart Attack

 Subscribers OnlyImmediate testing is done to determine whether or not a heart attack has occurred. These include an electrocardiogram...

Heart Beat: November 2018

Patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) find their ability to walk and carry out the...

How to Stay Out of the Hospital

 Subscribers OnlyCleveland Clinic offers heart-failure education classes designed to teach patients and their families what they need...

Ask The Doctors: September 2018

You can improve your sleep habits by getting regular exercise, avoiding daytime naps, avoiding caffeine and powering...