Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a chronic condition that affects the overall pumping power of the heart muscles. Often referred to as heart failure, congestive heart failure is generally considered the stage at which fluid begins to accumulate around the heart and decrease pumping efficiency. As you know, there are four chambers in the heart. The upper half has two atria, while the lower half has two ventricles. When the ventricles cannot pump sufficient amounts of blood to the body, it is considered to be CHF.
Types of Congestive Heart Failure
The most common type of congestive heart failure is left-sided CHF. It occurs when the left ventricle does not pump blood properly throughout the body. As the disease progresses, fluid accumulates in the lungs, making breathing difficult.
There are two types of left-sided heart failure:
- Systolic Heart Failure – Occurs when the left ventricle cannot contract normally. This failure reduces the force available to push blood into circulation throughout the body. The heart cannot pump properly.
- Diastolic Failure – Occurs when the muscle of the left ventricle stiffens. It can no longer relax, so the heart cannot sufficiently fill with blood between beats.
Congestive Heart Failure Treatment
When you are diagnosed with congestive heart failure, you have numerous treatments available, depending on overall health and progression. Your doctor may prescribe heart failure drugs, such as ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, or diuretics.
If medication is ineffective, more involved procedures may be viable. Angioplasty, which is used to open blocked arteries, is one solution. Your chosen cardiologist may consider heart valve repair surgery to ensure all valves may open and close properly. You’ll want to schedule a consultation first, though.