Congestive Heart Failure
Alternate Names : Heart Failure, CHF, Left-Sided Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure, also known as CHF, is a condition in
which a weakened heart cannot pump enough blood to body organs.
Since the pumping action of the heart is reduced, blood backs up into
certain body tissues.
What is going on in the body?
CHF is caused by a number of complex problems that
cause the pumping chambers of the heart to fail. The heart is divided into a
left heart and right heart. In a healthy heart, the right heart receives oxygen-poor blood from the body and pumps it to the
lungs. The blood receives a fresh supply of oxygen as it passes through the lungs. The oxygen-rich blood is then
pumped back into the left heart, which pumps it out to the rest of the body.
If the pumping chambers of the heart do not function well, blood stays in
the lungs or in the tissues of the body. These areas then become congested with blood and fluid. And that is the
basis for the name congestive heart failure. In time, the organs and tissues begin to suffer from not getting
enough blood and oxygen.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
CHF can be caused by many diseases and conditions.
Coronary heart disease, also called CHD, is a major cause of CHF. Multiple or severe
heart attacks can lead to
CHF as heart muscle is damaged. Other risk factors for CHF include:
certain infectious diseases common in underdeveloped countries
congenital heart disease, which are
heart defects present at birth
heart valve damage, such as the scarring from a heart valve infection known as
high blood pressure
high cholesterol levels
some genetic disorders that lead to conditions known as cardiomyopathies