Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Congestive Heart Failure Overview

What is congestive heart failure?
A person with congestive heart failure has a weakened heart that is unable to pump enough blood to meet the needs of the tissues in the body. Common causes of congestive heart failure include diabetes, hypertension, cardiac arrhythmia, and coronary artery disease. Congestive heart failure may affect the right ventricle, left ventricle, or both ventricles of the heart.

What are the symptoms of congestive heart failure?
Symptoms of congestive heart failure include cough, difficulty breathing with exertion, and swelling in both legs. Other symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath lying flat, and waking up with shortness of breath.

How does the doctor treat congestive heart failure?
Treatment depends on the underlying cause for the heart failure. Treatment options for congestive heart failure include stop smoking, heart diet, low cholesterol diet, low salt diet, exercise plan, weight reduction, fluid restriction, diuretics, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, aspirin, and potassium supplements. Other options include surgery and heart pacemaker.

Continue to Congestive Heart Failure Incidence

Last Updated: Dec 8, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Congestive Heart Failure References
  1. Bibbins-Domingo K, Lin F, Vittinghoff E, Barrett-Connor E, Hulley SB, Grady D, Shlipak MG. Predictors of heart failure among women with coronary disease. Circulation. 2004 Sep 14;110(11):1424-30. [1535349]
  2. Chen QM, Tu VC. Apoptosis and heart failure: mechanisms and therapeutic implications. Am J Cardiovasc Drugs. 2002;2(1):43-57. [14727998]
  3. Ebinger MW, Krishnan S, Schuger CD. Mechanisms of ventricular arrhythmias in heart failure. Curr Heart Fail Rep. 2005 Sep;2(3):111-7. [16138946]
  4. Mitchell J, Taylor A. Congestive heart failure in women. J Fam Pract. 2005 Jul;Suppl:6-7. [16134558]
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