Heart failure means that the heart is weak and the pumping power is reduced. Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs for blood and oxygen. Basically, the heart can’t keep up with its workload. It is often the result of damage or injury to your heart caused by other heart problems and high blood pressure. Heart failure is a long-term condition that tends to get worse over time. It is important to manage your health to improve your quality of life.
1. Physical Assessment
The following physical signs, along with medical history, strongly suggest heart failure:
2. Blood Test
Blood tests are used to evaluate kidney and thyroid functions as well as to check cholesterol levels and the presence of anemia.
3. Chest X-ray
A chest X-ray shows the size of your heart and whether there is fluid build-up around the heart and lungs.
4. Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)
An EKG records the electrical impulses traveling through the heart.
This test is an ultrasound, which shows the heart’s movement, structure, and function. The Ejection Fraction (EF) is used to measure how well your heart pumps with each beat.
6. Exercise Stress Test
A stress test, sometimes called a treadmill test or exercise test, helps a physician find out how well your heart handles work. As your body works harder during the test, it requires more oxygen, so the heart must pump more blood. The test can show if the blood supply is reduced in the arteries that supply the heart. It also helps physicians know the kind and level of exercise appropriate for a patient.
7. Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing (CPET)
Cardiopulmonary exercise testing has become an important clinical tool to evaluate exercise capacity and predict outcome in patients with heart failure and other cardiac conditions. It provides an assessment of the integrative exercise responses involving the pulmonary, cardiovascular and skeletal muscle systems.
8. Cardiac Catheterization
This invasive procedure helps determine whether coronary artery disease is a cause of congestive heart failure. Right heart catheterization enables your physician to evaluate the pressures in the right side of your heart, your lungs, overall fluid status and cardiac output.
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This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of Mubadala Healthcare, and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.
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