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Heart failure is a common condition with no known cure. However, proper treatment can control the disease progression and thus improve a patient’s quality of life and longevity. To decide the proper course of treatment, a doctor must first determine the type of heart failure a patient has developed.

Depending on the part of the heart’s pumping cycle that’s been affected, heart failure can be of two types – diastolic and systolic. You can learn more about the symptoms, causes, treatment of diastolic dysfunction and differentiation from systolic dysfunction in our previous article.

In this blog, we’ll delve deeper into systolic heart failure and understand its causes and symptoms.

Systolic Heart Failure: A Closer Look

Systolic Heart Failure

Systolic heart failure occurs due to a problem in the heart’s contraction (or systolic) phase. It’s characterized by stretching and weakening of the left ventricular muscle, due to which the heart pumps out less oxygenated blood to the body.

It’s also known as heart failure with reduced ejection infraction. As the condition worsens, it can also weaken the right ventricle and take a toll on its pumping power too.

Related: What Are the Symptoms of Diastolic Dysfunction?

Causes of Systolic Heart Failure

Systolic heart failure is caused by underlying medical conditions that damage the left ventricle. The most common causes include :

  • Hypertension (the left ventricle has to use increased pressure to pump blood through the body)
  • Coronary artery disease (buildup of cholesterol in the arteries) – with or without a heart attack.
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy (weakening of the left ventricle due to an infection or long-term exposure to alcohol and narcotics)
  • Abnormal heart rhythm (also known as atrial fibrillation)
  • Previous heart attack

Additionally, people who are older or have diabetes are at a higher risk of developing systolic heart failure.

Related: Understanding Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms

Symptoms of Systolic Heart Failure

In systolic heart failure, an adequate amount of oxygen-rich blood doesn’t reach all organs. The most common indicator of the condition is a lower ejection fraction.

It can result in the following symptoms:

  • Breathlessness – initially on exertion and in later stages even at rest or lying down. 
  • Swelling of feet, face, abdomen – due to fluid accumulation in various organs 
  • Engorged and pulsatile neck veins
  • Confusion (due to a lack of oxygen supply in the brain)
  • Weight gain (due to a buildup of excess fluid in the body)
  • Fatigue (due to reduced blood supply to the muscles)
  • Pale or bluish skin tone (due to restricted blood supply to the skin and other vital organs).

Diagnosis and Treatment Options

Typically, a doctor prescribes various tests, such as chest X-ray, ECG, and echocardiography, to diagnose systolic heart failure and its root cause. The treatment plan depends on the underlying cause.

In most cases, systolic heart failure is treated using one or more of the following medications:

  • Beta-blockers
  • Diuretics or water pills
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Digoxin
  • Anticoagulants

Additionally, doctors recommend a healthy diet and lifestyle changes to improve cardiac health and manage underlying conditions, such as hypertension and diabetes.

Related: Diagnosing Congestive Heart Failure

In Conclusion

If left untreated, systolic heart failure can damage vital organs and even lead to death. It’s crucial that patients watch out for symptoms like swollen feet, mental confusion, and bluish skin color and seek medical treatment at the earliest.

Dr. C Raghu is an experienced cardiologist who specializes in interventional cardiology and TAVR. If you or anyone you know is experiencing symptoms of systolic heart failure, connect with Dr. Raghu for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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    What Is Systolic Heart Failure ? – Blog


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      The heart is a critical organ that powers the human body. It beats roughly 100,000 times a day and pumps more than 2,000 tons of blood throughout the body. 

      Heart failure is a condition in which the heart gradually loses its pumping capacity. It can lead to symptoms like breathlessness, fluid buildup, and mental confusion. In the long run, it can result in organ damage and even death.

      In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the symptoms, causes, and treatment of congestive cardiac failure. Let’s dive right in.

      Congestive Cardiac Failure and Heart Failure: Are They the Same?

      Traditionally, doctors used the terms congestive cardiac failure or congestive heart failure to refer to the progressive deterioration of the heart’s pumping action. They used “congestion” to describe the buildup of fluid in the lungs due to heart failure.

      congestive cardiac failure

      However, subsequent studies have shown that the condition can lead to other symptoms, such as swollen feet, fatigue, and mental confusion. That’s why doctors use the term heart failure nowadays.

      Causes of Congestive Heart Failure

      Irrespective of whether you call it congestive cardiac failure or simply heart failure, its most common causes include:

      Additionally, damaged or dying heart tissue due to an infection or a previous heart attack can result in congestive cardiac failure. 

      Related : Mitral Valve Stenosis : Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

      Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure

      congestive cardiac failure

      The symptoms of congestive heart failure depend on whether it causes a lack of oxygen supply to the organs or excess fluid buildup in the body.

      In the first case, the symptoms include mental confusion, fatigue, and discolored or bluish skin. In the second case, heart failure can lead to symptoms, such as shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, weight gain, swelling in the feet, legs, and abdomen, and loss of appetite.

      Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure

      The treatment of congestive heart failure depends on its underlying cause and the side of the heart that’s affected. A doctor will order a series of tests, such as chest X-ray, ECG, echocardiogram, and coronary angiography. Routine blood tests, such as lipid panel and electrolyte tests, might be needed, too.

      Once the root cause is identified, your doctor can prescribe one or more of the following medications:

      • Diuretic or water pills
      • Beta-blockers
      • ACE inhibitors or Angiotension receptor Neprilysin inhibitor 
      • Digoxin
      • Anticoagulants

      Additionally, the doctor will recommend lifestyle changes, including exercise, a low-sodium diet, and weight loss. Also, they’ll ask you to quit smoking and limit alcohol consumption. In extreme cases, patients need a heart transplant or ventricular assist device (VAD) to improve their quality of life.

      Wrapping Up

      Congestive cardiac failure is a chronic condition with no known cure. If left untreated, it can lead to organ damage and death. However, a proper treatment plan comprising lifestyle changes and medications can help manage various symptoms.

      Dr. C Raghu is a renowned cardiologist and a specialist in interventional cardiology. If you or anyone you know is experiencing symptoms of heart failure, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Raghu right away.

      Book Online Consultaion

        Congestive Cardiac Failure – Blog


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          Call us now if you are in a medical emergency need, we will reply swiftly and provide you with a medical aid.

          +91 95424 75650

          Call us now if you are in a medical emergency need, we will reply swiftly and provide you with a medical aid.

          Dr. Raghu | Heart Specialist in Hyderabad
          Yashoda Hospitals, Sardar Patel Rd, behind Hari Hara Kala Bhavan, Kummari Guda, Shivaji Nagar, Secunderabad, Telangana 500003

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