Heart failure is not what you might think it is. When you hear the word “failure,” right away you think of a heart attack and possibly death. However, medically speaking, heart failure is the failure of your heart muscle to pump as much blood as your body needs. This creates insufficient circulation, and your body then has to compensate for your heart not working as well as it should. The body does this partly by increasing the amount of fluid in your veins, which creates a buildup (or “congestion”), which explains the common name, Congestive Heart Failure.
Heart failure starts slowly and builds in severity over time. When it begins, you might not realize there’s a problem at all, but as it progresses, you will probably begin to feel shortness of breath, fatigue, heart pounding or palpitations, and weakness or dizziness. Because your body is retaining fluid, you may eventually experience swelling in your legs (edema) and develop a cough that might be dry or with phlegm.
It’s important to know if you’re experiencing congestive heart failure in order to take the appropriate measures to keep your heart failure from getting worse, and there are several measures that the Venocure clinic offers for patients.
- We can perform an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG), which will check your heart’s electrical system. This can help to narrow down what exactly is going on in your heart.
- You can also get an echocardiogram, which will look at how well your heart is pumping.
- Another option our doctors may recommend is cardiac catheterization, which is a procedure where a specialized catheter can actually go in through the veins and look at your actual heart’s chambers and valves.