Heart Failure

Heart failure, sometimes also called congestive heart failure, describes a condition in which the heart is not able to pump sufficient blood to cover the body's needs. In particular, the heart wall, or myocardium, is dilated in heart failure patients.

Heart failure is a fatal condition and the most common reason for hospitalization of people above the age of 65.

The causes of heart failure include coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, heart attacks, or conditions that overwork the heart.

Typical symptoms of heart failure are shortness of breath, fluid retention (e.g. swollen ankles, legs, abdomen), reduced ability to exercise, weakness and fatigue, rapid or irregular heartbeats. Heart failure can be triggered for example during physical exercise when the heart is under strenuous effort.

Conventional treatments include ACE-inhibitors, beta-blocker, diuretic, and Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARB's). However, most of the commonly available drugs have high side effects, and many patients still have a poor life expectancy despite treatment.