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Gwinnett Medical Center

Heart Failure

Heart failure develops when your heart is damaged and not able to pump enough blood to meet the needs of your body. The heart tends to get bigger and less efficient. The amount of damage to the heart can range from moderate without any symptoms, to severe, leaving you seriously weakened and incapacitated. Congestive heart failure or “CHF” is a common term referring to this excess fluid or “congestion.” Heart failure usually affects the left side of the heart first, but can progress to the right side also. Left heart failure occurs when blood coming into the left side of the heart from the lungs “backs up” causing fluid to leak into the lungs. The name of this condition is pulmonary edema. Some also call it “water on the lungs”. Right heart failure causes swelling in the abdomen and extremities, especially the lower legs. It is common to have both left and right heart failure but either can be present alone.

This video explains the different types of heart failure. 

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