Congestive Heart Failure

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Congestive Heart Failure

     Understanding the pathophysiology of cardiac diseases involving the heart is important to completely understand the structures and functions within the heart.  Congestive heart failure (CHF) affects the cardiovascular system and mainly the left side.  Congestive heart failure is caused by the inability to pump blood at a sufficient rate to the rest of the body (Laureate Education, Inc. 2012a).  CHF can result from volume overload or pressure, loss of muscle contraction, or peripheral demands on the heart.  There is an inability for muscle contraction causing an increasing pressure of the left atria causing pulmonary congestion resulting in dyspnea.  The most common cause of left heart failure (CHF) is myocardial infarction.  The heart is unable to accommodate the energy needed which leads to increasing toxic metabolites (Huether  & McCance, 2017).  There is pressure in the heart causing the cardiac muscle to weaken leading to the pumping of oxygenated blood to decrease that supplies the organs throughout the body.


     The factors that influence cardiovascular disorders are being looked at more closely by researchers.  CHF affects men and women equally, and all ages (Emory Healthcare 2017). African-Americans are more likely to develop CHF.  My son who was 3 was born with a congenital birth defect and was developing CHF prior to having open heart surgery.  He was born with an atrial septal defect. Today the surgery is not as invasive as it was in the early 1990s. Oxygenated and deoxygenated blood is not passing through the heart, decreasing the oxygen transported to vital organs in the body.  The heart pumps harder and faster causing pressure in the heart and backing up into the pulmonary arteries which are the result of pulmonary hypertension.  Symptoms produced include fatigue and weakness, edema, and nasal flaring.  Nurse practitioners need to be aware of the early signs and symptoms of all age groups for proper treatment and diagnosis.


Huether, S. E., & McCance, K. L. (2017). Understanding pathophysiology (6th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012a). Alterations of cardiovascular functions PPT lecture. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Emory Healthcare. (2017).  Heart and Vascular: Conditions & Treatments.  Retrieved on 20 June 2017 from

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