Congestive heart failure affects nearly 5 million Americans, yet many do not understand what congestive heart failure exactly is or how to treat it. To combat that unintended ignorance, we’ve put together your complete congestive heart failure 101 guide.
Congestive heart failure (CHF), simply put, occurs when the heart is not able to pump out enough blood. When the heart is receiving enough blood but cannot pump it out adequately, it literally becomes congested with blood, which backs up behind the heart. This can quickly become fatal, both because of lack of blood flow to the body and because of the dangers of this backup itself.
There are different multiple types of CHF. The heart is made up of two pumps, one on the left side and one on the right, and either one of the pumps can fail independently of one another. When the left side fails, blood begins to back up into the lungs because the lungs are located behind the left side of the heart. This causes fluid in the lungs and shortness of breath. When the right side fails, blood backs up into the blood veins and capillaries throughout the body and leaks out into surrounding tissue. This causes swelling predominantly in the lower body.
Many things can cause CHF, with the most two most well-known factors being a congenital disposition toward heart failure, in which the risk of CHF is inherited, and high blood pressure, which forces the heart to work harder than it should have to. There are many other potential causes including disease of the heart valves, leaky valves, an overactive thyroid, unusual heart rhythms, anemia, or even an infection of the heart valves.
The three most common factors of heart disease include:
Coronary Artery Disease – A disease in the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart, causing decreased blood flow to the heart muscle.
Previous Heart Attack – Heart attacks cause severe damage to the heart muscle, which results in scarring that causes effected areas function poorly or not at all.
Cardiomyopathy – Infections, drug use, alcohol abuse, and other poor health choices can result in serious damage to the heart muscle.
Poor lifestyle patterns can also greatly increase the risk of CHF, including but not limited to obesity, bad cholesterol levels, smoking, drinking, and a lack of regular exercise.
We often discuss heart failure as if it is a single type of phenomenon. In reality, the two sides of the heart can fail independently of each other, and each event has its own causes and effects. So what is the difference between the two?
Understanding how the Heart Works
To see the difference between heart failure on the left and right side, it’s important to understand where the heart is located and how it works. The heart has two jobs: to collect returning, “used” blood and pump it into the lungs to be enriched with oxygen, and to take oxygen-rich blood from the lungs and pump it out to the rest of the body. The heart’s left and right sides are each responsible for one of these two crucial jobs.
We often think of the heart as being located in the center of the chest, but in reality the heart sits off slightly to the left side. This is the ideal position to allow it to do both its jobs. From this location, the left side of the heart is close to the top of the left lung, and this placement determines the respective jobs of the left and right ventricles of the heart.
The left ventricle is by far the larger of the two halves of the heart, because it does the difficult job of pumping blood out to the entire body. It draws the blood from the left lung where it has been filled with fresh oxygen. The pumping of this side of the heart sends the blood out to all the body’s organs and extremities, which need the oxygen to live and work.
As oxygen is depleted from the blood, it returns to the heart on the right side. The right ventricle pumps the blood back to the lungs to start the process over. Both the left and right ventricles‘ jobs are necessary for people to live—and either or both can be interrupted by heart failure.
Causes of Heart Failure
Heart failure occurs when one or both sides of the heart have difficult pumping (or difficulty relaxing between pumps). This can be caused by many things, from a blood clot or heart attack to congenital factors. However, heart failure has different effects, depending on which side it strikes.
In left-sided heart failure, the heart can no longer adequately bring in fresh blood from the lung and pump it out to the body. This causes blood to back up and pool in the left lung. Shortness of breath, heaviness in the chest and difficulty breathing are common signs of left-sided heart failure.
Right-sided heart failure often occurs in response to left-sided failure. The right ventricle becomes overworked and fails in turn. If right-sided heart failure occurs on its own, blood returning from the body becomes backed up.
Both versions of heart failure are extremely serious and need to be treated immediately. The earlier that heart failure treatment is administered, the more likely it is that the patient can survive and recover.
In a brief overview, a cardiologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases or conditions associated with hearth and blood vessels. Generally speaking, people will be referred to a cardiologist if they have a serious heart condition that threatens their livelihood. Here are four possible common heart symptoms you should immediately visit your cardiologist over:
1. Chest pain is one of the classic symptoms of an impending heart attack. According to the CDC, approximately 720,000 Americans have a heart attack each year. Of those, 515,000 people experience their first attack and the remaining have had one previously. Those numbers may shock you; however, if you experience chest pains, it’s best to visit a cardiologist who can pinpoint the issue. Heart-related chest pain stems around the left-center side of the chest and it’s described as though an elephant is sitting directly on your chest.
2. Consistent coughing can be a symptom of heart failure which could be due to fluid accumulation in the lungs. Bloody phlegm while coughing is also a further sign that an immediate visit to a cardiologist is needed.
3. Irregular or rapid pulse can be associated with heart attacks, heart failure or an arrhythmia. If it’s left untreated, it can lead to a stroke or even sudden death. Accompanying those symptoms with weakness, dizziness, or shortness of breath can provide more evidence that there is a problem with the heart’s function.
4. Shortness of breath from above can be a serious indicator by itself as a warning of heart problems. This could be a symptom of cardiomyopathy, which is a disease of an abnormal heart muscle that makes it more difficult for your heart to pump and deliver blood to the rest of your body.
Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of the above symptoms as your life could be at risk. Every 33 seconds someone in the United States dies from cardiovascular disease so being as proactive can save your life. Be sure to check in with your heart doctor regularly!
Richard Murphy was making funeral arrangements at age 40. His heart was in bad health following a heart attack and his prognosis was not looking optimistic.
All hope was not lost; however, scared of “wasting away on the couch,” Richard went to the internet and found the Parachute. Seeing it as a viable option, Richard underwent the operation with Flordia Hospital Pepin Heart Institute’s Dr. Charles Lambert’s help.
Following the successful implementation of the Parachute, Richard’s life “was transformed.” With his new heart health, he is celebrating better heart health…as well as a new child on the way!
Watch the video on Richard’s inspiring story below!
Over on Sentara News’ website, they profiled Sentara Heart specialists utilizing the Parachute IV as a new method for treating congestive heart failure. Sentara News profiled how the Parachute is placed inside the heart using minimally invasive heart catheterization and can block damaged heart muscle and “reshape the organ to prevent further progression of chronic heart failure.”
Click read more below to see the Parachute in action!
Video and article from Fox News about how the ‘Parachute’ could lift quality of life for heart failure patients.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. Fox News 4 Kansas City — Wayne Linhardt, a heart patient, has high hopes over something called Parachute.
“I want to breathe better. I want to have energy to do a few things,” said Linhardt.
The Lincoln, Missouri man has heart failure from a heart attack decades ago. His left ventricle enlarged and stiffened over time, putting pressure on the rest of the heart. That causes fatigue and life-threatening rhythms.
“He’s been shocked by his defibrillator many times because the rest of the heart is so irritable because of this extra pressure,” said Dr. Andrew Kao, Linhardt’s cardiologist.
At Saint Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute, Linhardt became the first patient in our area, and the 52nd in the country to get the experimental device called Parachute. No open heart surgery was necessary. Dr. Adnan Chhatriwalla threads catheters from the groin up to the heart. He places an anchor device for the parachute. A little balloon is used to open the parachute, and then it’s hooked to heart muscle. The parachute closes off the stiff part of the heart, preventing blood from pooling there.
“So the healthy tissue is able to work with less strain so it’s sort of like lifting 100 pounds before. Now you’re lifting 50 pounds,” said Dr. Kao.
A computer lottery determines which patients in the study get the device and which get standard medical therapy. The study will see if Parachute can slow the progression of heart failure, prevent hospital stays, and improve survival and quality of life.
“I want to be able to go fishing. I want to be able to travel,” said Linhardt.
A parachute could make it possible.
Risks include bleeding and infection. But the procedure could be less risky than open heart surgery to cut out the bad tissue. Previously, that was the only option for some people with this type of heart failure.
For more information on the study, CLICK HERE.
Want to learn about two paths of heart treatment options?
Did You Know?
• Over 6 million people live with heart failure in the US, more than 20 million worldwide
• More than 600,000 new heart failure patients are diagnosed each year in the US
• Most are unaware how to treat congestive heart failure
Heart Health 101
How well do you know you heart? Cardiovascular health should always be a top priority when it comes to your well being. Regardless of your age, taking care of your heart can provide numerous benefits. Some steps you can begin taking today is eating healthy food, exercising and cutting back on bad habits like smoking. Cardio Kinetix understands the importance of heart health and wants to make sure you have the most information about cardiovascular health!
Heart disease affects both men and women; however, women face special risks that are different from those men face. At present, 1 out of every 4 women will die of heart disease. This includes left ventricle heart failure, one of the two main kinds of heart attack, which many people wrongly associate with men only. So why are so many women facing heart disease, with such a high risk rate?
There are a number of factors that contribute to the risk of left ventricle heart failure and heart disease, and many are common to men and women, such as high blood pressure, high “bad” cholesterol, obesity, smoking, heavy drinking, lack of exercise and congenital factors. But there are also risk factors that apply specifically to women. These include cultural factors, such as men being more encouraged to play sports and get exercise. But they also include simple misinformation. Since heart disease is thought of as a man’s disease, women who are having a heart attack often don’t realize it. They may attribute the symptoms to something else. Thus, treatment is delayed if it’s sought at all, which can be a fatal misjudgment.
That means it’s important for women to know the symptoms of a heart attack, which are more subtle that what we often see in movies or on TV. Symptoms of heart attacks in women include:
• Pain in the neck, jaw, back or even the abdomen. This pain may not be the sudden shooting pain we associate with heart attacks. It may or may not be accompanies by chest pains. But it should always be taken seriously and heart attack should be considered as a possible culprit.
• Nausea and vomiting. Sudden nausea is often explained away in women, but when there is no apparent cause it should be taken seriously.
• Pain in the right arm.
• Shortness of breath. Sometimes this precedes the full heart attack and often it lasts throughout the event. If breathness is short for no apparent reason, it’s a serious sign.
• Sudden fatigue, when there is no reason to be fatigued.
• Dizziness or lightheadedness.
Obviously, these symptoms can mean other things besides left ventricle heart failure. But when several of these symptoms happen together, it can mean a heart attack. A woman may not fall dramatically to the ground clutching her chest, but bear the subtle symptoms more quietly. When any of these symptoms are present, it’s always best to speak up and seek help immediately.
Source: Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-disease/art-20046167)<
How do you treat congestive heart failure? Once physicians have done their job, much of the work is up to you. That means eating a heart healthy diet that will reduce the strain on your heart and help prevent a dangerous situation. If you’re wondering where to start, here are five heart healthy and delicious foods to use as a cornerstone:
1. Fresh fruits and vegetables. This item is easily the most important one on the list. Fresh fruits and veggies—especially the veggies—are crucial to a healthy diet for a number of reasons, but when you’re facing congestive heart failure they become even more important. A diet heavy in plants helps the heart in many ways: they’re rich in good cholesterol. They are not only low in bad cholesterol, but help lower the level of bad cholesterol in your system. They can help reduce blood pressure. Vegetables are low in calories and can help overcome obesity. And they are rich in antioxidants that help purge the system of free radicals. Green veggies are best, but fruits and vegetables of all kinds are heart healthy.
2. Oatmeal. Want something more filling than greens? Oatmeal is a great way to go. Oatmeal is among one of the few grain products that is considered heart healthy. It’s high in fiber, which again helps improve your cholesterol levels and reduce blood pressure. And it’s packed with Omega-3 fatty acids and other heart healthy nutrients.
3. Salmon. Salmon and other deep sea fatty fish are very hearth healthy. They make a great alternative to red and white meat because they are packed with more Omega-3 fatty acids than just about any food. And bought frozen, salmon steaks are surprisingly affordable. Consider a nice grilled salmon fillet the next time you want a big dinner.
4. Almonds and walnuts. This one’s a two-fer. Both almonds and walnuts are terrific additions to a heart healthy meal (such as a big green salad or a bowl of oatmeal, right?) and both for similar reasons; they’re high in fiber, a great source of protein without red meat, and deliver healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Plus they’re tasty!
5. Red wine—in moderation. When doctors started to recommend red wine for heart health, it was big news. This one is often misunderstood however. While red wine is loaded with reservatrol, which in turn is rich in antioxidants, excessive drinking has serious risks for heart health. One glass is plenty for improving your cholesterol.
Of course, diet alone won’t treat congestive heart failure. But working closely with your physician and following all doctor instructions, a heart healthy diet can make a huge difference.
Source: WedMD (http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/25-top-heart-healthy-foods)
A heart healthy diet and exercise can reduce your risk of heart disease and help heart failure treatment, but in today’s society people are always on the move and many tend to eat unhealthy foods based primarily on convenience. With our busy lifestyles, some people feel they do not have enough time in their day to take a break and cook a healthy meal. While unhealthy foods, such as processed or fast foods, may seem more convenient, they are rich in saturated and trans fats, calories, sodium, cholesterol, and added sugars. Not to worry, though, there are countless easy-to-make and delicious foods that you can “grab on the go” while still promoting a healthy heart.
A key to a healthy diet is to eat more nutrient-rich foods in place of other unhealthy foods. The American Heart Association suggests eating more fruits and vegetables, eating more whole-grain foods, using liquid vegetable oils such as olive, canola, corn, or safflower as your main kitchen fat, and eating more chicken, fish, and beans over meats like beef, pork, or lamb. It also warns consumers to pay attention to nutrition labels, which can sometimes be misleading, to ensure they are getting the necessary nutrients. To maintain your cardiovascular health, here’s a list of some healthy yet tasty foods to incorporate into your diet.
Berries are great for your heart because they are rich in antioxidants, polyphenols, and other vital nutrients and can be easily incorporated in any meal, such as a salad, yogurt or fruit smoothie. Blueberries, for instance, contain fiber and Vitamin C and little to no sugar and fats. Studies show they also help your memory and widen your arteries to help blood flow.
Fish — particularly fatty or oily fish like salmon and tuna — is another delicious food that is great for your heart. Nutritionists recommend eating two servings of fish per week because they contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower triglyceride levels in the blood that lead to blood clotting and cause heart attacks. Fish also helps lower your blood pressure and prevent irregular heart rhythms.
Walnuts and many other nuts also contain omega-3 fatty acids, as well as unsaturated or “good” fats, fiber, Vitamin E, and plant sterols which help lower your cholesterol and improve the health of your arteries and heart. They are also delicious, convenient, and easy-to-store.
Heart failure (HF) imposes one of the highest disease burdens of any medical condition in the world with an estimated 23 million patients experiencing HF. Heart failure is also one of the most resource-intensive conditions with direct and indirect costs in the United States estimated at $39.2 billion in 2010. The overall mortality and readmission rates for heart failure continue to remain unacceptably high even with the array of available drugs, devices, and/or surgical techniques.
CardioKinetix provides treatment for heart disease. CardioKinetix developed a novel transcatheter implant called the Parachute® Ventricular Partitioning Device (Parachute). The Parachute intends to treat heart failure resulting from a heart attack in patients worldwide by improving overall cardiac function.
The Facts of Heart Failure
Few people are aware of the details behind congestive heart failure and what separates it from other forms of heart related failure. To start, coronary artery disease occurs when there is a blockage within the arteries that supply life-sustaining blood to the heart. This blockage can occur for several reasons, such as a narrowing of the arteries from calcium and cholesterol build up, artery inflammation, and blood clots. This can result in a “myocardial infarction”, which is more commonly referred to as a “heart attack”.
Comparatively, congestive heart failure is a type of cardiovascular disease that causes the diminished ability of the heart to pump blood properly or regularly fill the heart with blood. Congestive heart failure can result from a heart attack, but also from a history of high blood pressure or other related cardiovascular troubles. Additionally, fluid will begin to collect within the lungs, which can cause severe breathing issues.
The Parachute Heart Treatment Solution
The Parachute can partition the damaged muscle, separating the segment of muscle that no longer works from that which does. The Parachute implant is what is known as a form of percutaneous ventricular restoration, or PVR, therapy. After suffering from a heart attack, many patients will experience their left ventricle becoming enlarged. This causes a decrease in cardiac output, and can lead to further complications. For more information, click here.
Heart failure treatment varies depending on the severity of the condition. Lifestyle changes are the primary treatment for all forms and levels of heart failure. As soon as you make healthy changes, the sooner you will feel better. To combat heart failure, attempt the following lifestyle changes to get one step closer to winning the fight.
Nutritious Diet for Your Heart
A heart healthy diet helps manage heart failure. If you ignore your condition and eat unhealthy foods, you could worsen your condition. Ask your doctors about what type of eating plan would work best for you. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products and lean meats are most likely the foods you will be recommended to eat. The overall healthy diet for heart failure treatment is low in sodium and low in sugar.
Load up on foods rich in potassium to counteract the heart failure medicines you are sure to be taking. These medicines, while necessary for your heart, lower the potassium body’s levels. Lack of potassium can lead to rapid heart rhythms. Yet too much is not beneficial either. Talk with a doctor to find the perfect balance of potassium for you. Potassium rich foods are spinach, bananas, white beans and sweet potatoes.
Fluids for Your Heart
Those with heart failure must pay special attention to their fluid intake. A necessary balance is necessary with your diet as well as fluids. Too much fluid for heart disease patients makes heart failure worse yet your body needs a certain amount of fluid to stay hydrated. Do not drink alcohol if you have heart failure. Discuss with your medical team, what your optimal fluid intake should be.
Exercise Daily to Treat Heart Failure
The best way to counteract heart failure is to become as physically fit as possible. Since your heart is in a precarious state, you must talk with a medical professional to find a safe and effective way to keep fit. If you are overweight or obese, exercising will help you lose weight and gain control over your heart failure.
The general goal of heart failure treatment is to treat the condition’s causes like coronary heart disease (CHD), high blood pressure or diabetes. Heart failure treatment includes lifestyle changes, medicines and ongoing care. While treating the cause of heart failure, you must do all that you can to maintain the current status of your heart so that it will not do permanent damage.
How to treat and help heart failure?
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is just one of the several heart failure treatments. Talk with your doctor to decide the best route for you in concern to your heart failure treatment. Once diagnosed with heart failure, learn more about heart failure and its causes.
Generally speaking, heart failure occurs when the heart is incapable of pumping enough of the much needed, oxygen rich blood to the rest of your organs. Severe pain, temporary paralysis, damage to several different organs, and death may occur due to heart failure, but not every case is fatal. Some instances of heart failure result in moderate discomfort that passes, with the appropriate treatment, after a short while. As every person’s experience may vary, it is important to have a general understanding of heart failure and how it affects its victims.
While these numbers may seem alarming, the most important thing to take away is that heart failure presents a serious and continuous risk to the victim’s health. Making better life decisions or improving the quality of one’s life is the best way to start treating heart failure. For example, smoking, fatty foods, and a sedentary lifestyle should be avoided at all costs, as they create the perfect storm for the heart to fail.
The best opportunity one can have in the fight against heart disease is an early diagnosis. If you feel as if you may be at risk or suffer from shortness of breath, troubled breathing while lying down, swelling, or lethargy, consult a doctor immediately. Receiving the right medication and instruction before it’s too late can be the best possible weapons against an early death.
Possible Free Clinical Trial to Help You
At CardioKinetix, click here to learn more about our Parachute Trial Clinical Trial. The Parachute Device is a catheter based partitioning device deployed within the left ventricle for patients who have developed ischemic left sided heart failure following a heart attack.
Have you or a loved one ever suffered from a case of sudden heart failure? If so, you understand how serious and devastating of an event it can be. Aside from the physical pain, going through heart failure can also lead to serious cases of depression, traumatic fear, and uncertainty. Fortunately, doctors and specialists understand the plight of heart failure victims and have dedicated countless hours of research toward finding a solution. Although there is no guaranteed solution, several methods and procedures have been developed that are proven to reduce the risk of dangerous cardiac episodes.
There’s a strong chance that your doctor has given you medicine for your heart failure, and taking it as prescribed is the best means of treatment currently available. There currently exist over ten different types of heart medication (Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, Angiotensin II receptor blockers, Beta-blockers, etc.) and several varieties within each category. Depending on what your body’s specific symptoms are, you may need to take one or several of these medications.
Changing one’s way of life can be extremely difficult, especially if the victim has lived their entire life without making much compromise. Unfortunately, the truth is that poor health decisions are a portion of the reason that heart failure occurs. Continuing to make unhealthy choices is tantamount to risking another episode due to a lack of willpower. Everyone has the power to change for the better, and doing so may be the first step in how to treat heart failure.
While slightly more involved that simply taking medication, surgery has come a long way in preventing further severe cardiac episodes in patients that have already experienced one case of heart failure. The most common procedure is bypass surgery, which helps to route blood around a blocked heart artery. More intensive surgeries, such as heart transplants, do exist for the most extreme cases.
At CardioKinetix, click here to learn more about our Parachute Trial Clinical Trial. The Parachute Device is a catheter based partitioning device deployed within the left ventricle for patients who have developed ischemic left sided heart failure following a heart attack.View All Press Releases