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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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      In our previous blogs, we’ve discussed the common symptoms and treatment options for heart failure. However, the plan of treatment depends on the side of the heart that’s affected.

      Heart failure is usually of two types – left-sided and right-sided. While left-sided heart failure is the result of the weakening of the left ventricle, right-sided heart failure is caused due to a weak right ventricle.

      right sided heart failure

      In this article, we’ll take a closer look at right-sided heart failure to understand its causes and symptoms. Let’s get started.

      What Is Right-Sided Heart Failure?

      Right-sided heart failure is a condition characterized by the weakening of the heart’s right ventricle. That means the right ventricle can’t pump deoxygenated blood into the lungs with maximum efficiency. It results in a buildup of blood in the veins, thus causing swelling in the legs and abdomen.

      What Causes Right-Sided Heart Failure?

      The most likely cause of right-sided heart failure is a weak left ventricle. In other words, left-sided heart failure eventually leads to right-sided heart failure.

      When the left ventricle becomes weak, it can’t pump an adequate amount of oxygen-rich blood into the body. It causes blood to back up into the lungs. That, in turn, means the right ventricle has to work harder to pump oxygen-depleted blood into the lungs. It results in the gradual weakening of the muscles and leads to right-sided heart failure. Left-sided heart failure is usually caused by coronary artery disease, hypertension, or a previous heart attack.

      Additionally, any condition that taxes the right ventricle’s pumping power can lead to right-sided heart failure. These include:

      What Are the Symptoms of Right-Sided Heart Failure?

      One of the most common right-sided heart failure symptoms is swelling in the legs and abdomen due to fluid buildup. Accumulation of fluid in the abdomen can also cause nausea, bloating, and loss of appetite.

      Other symptoms of right-sided heart failure include:

      How Is Right-Sided Heart Failure Diagnosed?

      Firstly, a cardiologist will ask you about your symptoms and medical history. Also, they’ll perform a physical examination to check your blood pressure and heart rate. They might even use a stethoscope to identify abnormal heart sounds.

      They can also recommend routine blood tests, such as complete blood count, lipid panel, and electrolyte tests. Additionally, they can order a brain natriuretic peptide test.

      Besides blood tests, doctors also order the following lab tests to diagnose right-sided heart failure:

      Right-Sided Heart Failure vs. Congestive Heart Failure

      Congestive heart failure is an outdated term that was used to refer to fluid buildup in the lungs due to a weak left ventricle. However, a more inclusive term – heart failure – is used now. Right-sided heart failure is a specific type of heart failure caused by a weak right ventricle.

      Final Thoughts

      The most common right-sided heart failure symptoms include swelling in the legs and abdomen, breathlessness, and chest pain. Doctors use a variety of tests, including ECG, coronary angiography, and chest X-ray, to diagnose the condition and determine the right course of treatment.

      Dr. C Raghu is an eminent cardiologist specializing in interventional cardiology. He’s helped several patients with serious heart conditions. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of heart failure, reach out to Dr. Raghu today.

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        What Is the Most Common Cause of Right-Sided 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.

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            Congestive Cardiac Failure – Blog

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