Heart failure can be defined as the hearts inability to adequately pump the amount of blood the body needs. It is usually due to vasoconstriction and fluid retention. It can be characterized by reduced activity or exercise intolerance, diminished quality of life, shortened life expectancy, and ventricular dysfunction.
The leading causes of heart failure are hypertension and coronary artery disease (CAD).
Other risk factors include:
African American descent
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS:
Depending on the cause of heart failure, signs and symptoms may vary.
Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
Orthopnea (shortness of breath when lying flat)
Pulmonary edema (congestion in lungs)
Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea (sudden attach of shortness of breath at night)
Tachycardia (increased heart rate)
Swelling in the legs and other extremities
Oliguria during the day hours (decreased urination and frequency)
Nocturia (increased urination and frequency of the night hours)
Diagnostic Studies are used to determine the underlying cause of the heart failure. They may consist of:
Ejection Fraction Time
The main goal of treatment is to maximize cardiac output. Treatment should be geared at alleviating symptoms, improving ventricular function, quality of life and to preserve target organ function. Treatment should include a combination of nonpharmacological and pharmacological therapies.
Life style changes
Diet (sodium, fat, and cholesterol restriction)
WHEN TO CONTACT YOUR PHYSICIAN:
Sudden weight gain of 3-5lbs within 2 days
Loss of appetite
Shortness of breath
Dizziness or fainting
Sharon L. Lewis, RN, PhD, FAAN, Margaret M. Heitkemper, RN, PhD, FAAN, Shannon Ruff Dirksen, RN, PhD, Patricia Graber O’Brien, APRN BC, BSN, MA, MSN and Linda Bucher, DNSc, RN, “Medical-Surgical Nursing 7th edition” Evolve.