Heart Failure

Heart or cardiac failure, is a common condition where the heart can either be less efficient at pumping blood around the body (systolic heart failure), or emptying the left atrium and lungs of blood ('diastolic heart failure').

What are the symptoms of cardiac failure?

Commonly patients develop symptoms of breathlessness, ankle swelling and find they need to sleep propped-up with pillows. A number of people may have no symptoms and this diagnosis might be picked up incidentally.

How can it be diagnosed?

Severe Heart failure can usually be diagnosed by your GP based on the symptoms and physical examination. Mllder case can however be very hard to diagnose because symptoms such as breathlessness and fatigue overlap with other conditions including low physical fitness and ageing.

Fortunately there is now a highly sensitive blood test available to GPs called BNP, the blood level of which is usually raised in patients with any type of heart failure, so patients can be easily screened by their GP.  Other useful screening tests that are normally performed include a Chest X-Ray and 12 lead ECG.

How is cardiac failure investigated?

How is cardiac failure treated?

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