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Palmetto Health Richland, which includes Palmetto Health Heart Hospital, is the first in the Midlands to receive The Joint Commission Heart Failure Certification. We are also a recipient of the Gold Plus award from the American Heart Association Get with the Guidelines-Heart Failure program. Click here to learn more about our heart failure team.
Heart failure is an acute or chronic condition in which the heart’s pumping function is unable to meet the body's needs.
Systolic HF - The left ventricle loses its ability to contract normally, resulting in insufficient blood and oxygen supply to the cells.
Diastolic HF - The left ventricle of the heart fails to relax properly, resulting in reduced filling and reduced pump volume.
A person may have both systolic and diastolic heart failure.
Some of the conditions that may be associated with HF:
Coronary artery disease- Coronary heart disease is a common term for the buildup of plaque in the heart’s arteries that could lead to heart attack or angina (pain from the heart).
Angina - Is chest pain or discomfort due to coronary heart disease and occurs when the heart doesn't get as much blood as it needs. This usually happens because one or more of the heart's arteries is narrowed or blocked, also called ischemia. Angina usually causes uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest, discomfort in your neck, jaw, shoulder, back or arm.
High blood pressure- The two numbers tell you the amount of force pushing against your artery walls when the heart is contracting and when the heart is at rest. If the pressure of the blood flow is high, the work of the heart is increased and the arterial walls may be injured.
Heart attack - A heart attack occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely. This happens as a result of plaque buildup in the arteries causing progressive narrowing. Plaque buildup occurs due to deposits of fat, cholesterol and other substances within the arterial walls.
Disease of the heart valves - Heart valve problems may make the heart work too hard, which can lead to heart failure. In some cases, valves:
• Do not open enough (stenosis).
• Do not let enough blood flow through (also called stenosis).
• Do not close properly and let blood leak where it shouldn’t. This is called incompetence, insufficiency or regurgitation.
• Prolapse — mitral valve flaps don’t close properly (more common in women). As pressure builds inside the left ventricle, it pushes the mitral valve flap back into the left atrium, which may cause a small leak.
Cardiomyopathy - The heart muscle becomes enlarged, thick or rigid, making it less able to pump blood through the body and maintain a normal electrical rhythm. This can lead to heart failure or irregular heartbeats called arrhythmias.
Arrhythmia - Any change from the normal sequence of electrical impulses. The electrical impulses cause the heart to beat too fast, too slow, or erratically. The heart is working improperly and/or effectively.
Congenital heart defects - Are structural problems arising from abnormal formation of the heart or major blood vessels from birth.
Pulmonary hypertension - Abnormally high blood pressure in the arteries in the lungs making the right side of the heart work harder, causing heart failure.
Right Heart Failure - right ventricular (RV) heart failure loses pumping power; blood backs up in the body's veins. This usually causes swelling in the legs and ankles and abdomen.
With heart failure, your doctor may put you on fluid restriction limiting your fluid intake. Drinking too many liquids makes your heart work harder. Use your fluid allowance evenly throughout the day. To keep your mouth from getting dry, you can try hard candy, frozen grapes, rinsing your mouth or using a humidifier. Click here for more fluid facts.
To better control your heart failure, your doctor may have you limit your sodium intake. Too much sodium causes excess fluid, which overworks your heart. A major source of sodium is table salt and packaged or processed foods. Click here for more sodium facts.
Learn more about heart failure from the American Heart Association.