SERVICES
HEART FAILURE



Heart failure, also referred to as "congestive heart failure", occurs when your heart fails to regulate blood as it should. Coronary heart disease and high blood pressure affect the strength and pumping ability of your heart muscles. Although lifestyle changes such as exercise and a low sodium diet can improve your quality of life, conditions that include diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure and coronary heart disease need to be managed to reduce your risk of heart failure.


What are the signs of heart failure?

General signs of heart failure include:

  • Difficulty breathing (dyspnoea)
  • Lethargy
  • Inconsistent or rapid heartbeat
  • Wheezing or coughing
  • Pink-coloured phlegm
  • Nausea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Chest discomfort or pain

What are some of the reasons for heart failure?

Heart failure arises from the advancement of other heart-related diseases that weaken your heart muscles. The heart, however, can also become stiff, and this ultimately leads to heart failure.

As soon as heart failure occurs, your heart muscle weakens and the primary chambers of your heart, or the ventricles, expand to such an extent that your heart cannot regulate blood adequately throughout your body. Heart failure involves either one side or both the right and left ventricle.


The following conditions weaken your heart muscle and may lead to heart failure:


Coronary heart disease:
A coronary heart illness is a prevalent form of heart disease. The disease results in an accumulation of plaque in your arteries. This build-up of plaque restricts the blood flow through your heart and can cause a heart attack.

Cardiomyopathy:
Diseases and infections result in damage to your heart muscle known as cardiomyopathy. Progressive and severe heart muscle damage leads to heart failure.

Heart arrhythmia:
Because of a rapid heartbeat, your heart beats faster and therefore works harder. Both a slow and fast heartbeat may cause heart failure.


What does the diagnosis of heart failure involve?

Heart failure is a chronic condition that requires long-term care. Treatment, however, depends on the cause of heart failure. To treat or manage heart failure, your cardiologist performs the following procedures:

Blood tests:
The doctor sends your blood samples to the laboratory to check for heart-related infections or diseases.

Electrocardiogram (ECG):
An ECG reveals your heart's electrical activity to diagnose heart arrhythmia.

Echocardiogram:
Through sound waves, an echocardiogram captures images of your heart. The doctor conducts an echocardiogram to view any structural abnormalities of your heart and reveals the pumping action of your heart.

Angiogram:
A coronary angiogram involves the insertion of a flexible catheter into a blood vessel in either your arm or groin. A cardiologist threads the thin tube through your aorta and into your coronary arteries. A special dye highlights your arteries on an x-ray and may reveal fat deposits in your coronary arteries.


How does my cardiologist treat heart failure?

Heart failure is a chronic condition that requires long-term care. Treatment, however, depends on the cause of heart failure. To treat or manage heart failure, your cardiologist performs the following procedures:

Repairs or replaces your heart valve:
Your surgeon performs surgery to correct your defective heart valve. To treat a faulty heart valve, your surgeon either repairs or replaces your valve.

Pacemaker:
The implantation of a biventricular pacemaker transmits electrical pulses to your heart’s chambers. These electrical pulses improve your heart’s pumping action so that your left and right ventricles remain in sync and pump efficiently.

Heart transplant:
For severe heart failure, a heart transplant is your best option as this will improve the quality of your life. When drug therapy or ventricular assist devices fail to work, your cardiologist will suggest a heart transplant. You might have to wait for a healthy donor heart, but your condition may improve during this time.