Heart failure, also referred to as congestive heart failure, is a serious condition caused by the heart’s inability to provide sufficient blood flow to satisfy the demands of the body.
This usually happens when the heart is too weak or stiff to properly perform its function. This usually results in breathlessness, fatigue, and swelling of the ankles and feet. Sometimes, these symptoms can develop quickly (acute heart failure) or gradually (chronic heart failure).
Depending on what causes the heart failure, it can be separated into three types:
- as a result of left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD) – during this type of heart failure, the left ventricle becomes too weak to pump the blood throughout the body.
- with preserved ejection fraction – while the left ventricle remains strong enough to pump the blood, it is too stiff and is unable to properly fill with blood.
- due to congenital or acquired heart valve disease.
Also, depending on which part of the heart is affected, the heart failure can be:
- Left-sided – left atrium and/or left ventricle are unable to function efficiently.
- Right-sided – right atrium and/or right ventricle cannot provide sufficient pumping action.
- Biventricular – both the left and right half of the heart are affected by a pathological process.
Depending on which side of the heart is affected, the symptoms produced by the heart failure will be different.