Decompensated Heart Failure – What are the Causes and Symptoms?

November 12, 2012

Decompensated Heart Failure - What are the Causes and Symptoms?

Decompensated heart failure refers to a condition wherein the heart can no longer send sufficient blood into the tissues of the body. Since there isn’t enough blood being sent through the tissues and the organs, they basically won’t get enough nutrients or oxygen for them to work properly. And, when people build up too much fluid in their bodily tissues, they will eventually end up suffering from edema or congestive heart failure.

What are the Causes?

Decompensated heart failure may occur because of the following causes:

  • heart attack and coronary artery disease

  • hypertension – cardiomyopathy

  • congenital heart disease

  • heart valve disease

  • drug abuse and alcoholism

Coronary artery disease would probably be the most common decompensated heart failure out there, though. When this happens, the arteries that normally send blood into the heart might get blocked or might become narrower. If a complete blockage occurs, the person experiencing the blockage might get a heart attack. In some cases, the heart attack may even be silent and unrecognized. Either way, the heart muscle will get damaged when there isn’t enough blood supply or if there is a blockage. And, if this damage affects the blood-pumping abilities of the heart, decompensated heart failure may come about.

What is Cardiomyopathy?

In general, cardiomyopathy refers to a heart muscle disease that could be caused by heart problems, like coronary artery disease. Sometimes, its causes are completely unknown, though, and if this is the case, it will be officially known as idiopathic cardiomyopathy. Regardless of what the cause might be, though, cardiomyopathy will make the heart weaker and could lead to ultimate heart failure. Hypertension could do the same thing by making the heart work much harder just to pump the required blood into the body. After some time, the heart simply won’t be able to keep up anymore and heart failure symptoms might start to appear.

What are the Symptoms?

Some symptoms that people with decompensated heart failure might experience include the following:

  • trouble breathing

  • swollen legs, feet, and ankles

  • frequent coughing, most of all when in bed

  • abdominal pain and swelling

  • fainting or dizziness

  • fatigue

  • sudden death

People whose hearts fail on the left side might experience coughing and trouble breathing due to the buildup of fluid in their lungs. Another cause of coughing up bloody and bubbly phlegm would be pulmonary edema. People whose hearts fail on the right side, on the other hand, may experience swelling in the abdomen, feet, and legs because of fluid buildup inside their bodily tissues and veins.

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