What Is Congestive Heart Failure?
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is often used to refer to heart failure. But since heart failure doesn’t always have symptoms such as congestion — fluid retention — the term “heart failure” is used to refer to the broad condition when your heart muscle doesn’t pump blood as well as it should.
Congestive heart failure results from blood backing up in the veins as the heart struggles to pump blood out to the body. The backup causes congestion in body’s tissues, leading to swelling (edema) typically in the legs and ankles.
Fluid can collect in the lungs (pulmonary edema) and cause shortness of breath, especially when lying down.
More patients with congestive heart failure and other heart conditions entrust their care to Norton Heart & Vascular Institute than any other provider in the Louisville and Southern Indiana area. Our board-certified and fellowship-trained cardiologists and other specialists in the Advanced Heart Failure and Recovery Program are at the leading edge of advanced treatments for congestive heart failure.
Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms
Symptoms vary, but often include:
- Swelling, often in the legs and ankles
- Shortness of breath — especially when lying down
- Reduced exercise capacity
Congestive Heart Failure Treatment
The experienced specialists at the Advanced Heart Failure and Recovery Program have the expertise and leading-edge treatments to control your congestive heart failure symptoms and slow progress of the disease.
We work with you to develop a customized treatment plan that fits your condition and goals.
We start by working with you on dietary changes and other lifestyle adjustments such as physical activity, stress reduction, and reduction of alcohol and other drugs. We often have success with lifestyle changes in conjunction with medication.
Implanted devices such as a pacemaker or cardioverter-defibrillator (either implanted or wearable) can control abnormal heart rhythms such as arrhythmia. Your Advanced Heart Failure and Recovery Program provider may use a sophisticated device to remotely monitor your blood flow daily for subtle changes that can signal a worsening condition.
Targeting the cause of your congestive heart failure may involve minimally invasive procedures such as ablations that carefully destroy small parts of diseased heart to restore blood flow or interrupt abnormal heart rhythms.
If your congestive heart failure is complicated by thickened muscle between the two ventricles, surgery may be needed to remove part of the muscle to improve blood flow through the heart.
Our surgeons have experience and sophisticated training with ventricular assist devices if necessary as either a long-term solution or a short-term bridge to a heart transplant.