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Tulane Doctors ~ Heart & Vascular Institute ~ Congestive Heart Failure

stethescope heart

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a disease in which the heart can no longer pump an adequate supply of blood to the rest of the body.



The most common symptoms of this disease include:

  • Unusual shortness of breath with activity, or after lying down for a while
  • Cough
  • Swelling of feet and ankles
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Weight gain
  • Irregular or rapid pulse
  • Sensation of feeling the heart beat (palpitations)
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue, weakness, faintness
  • Loss of appetite, indigestion
  • It is possible that you may have congestive heart failure and not have any symptoms that you would recognize

The most common cause of heart failure is coronary artery disease, a disease in which the blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart become increasingly narrow or blocked. Other health problems, such as congenital heart disease, heart valve disease, some types of abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), emphysema, severe anemia, hyperthyroidism, or hypothyroidism, may either cause heart failure or make heart failure worsen.