Chronic Conditions

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

CHF is a condition where the heart does not pump blood as well as it should. It can occur when the heart muscle is too weak or when another defect prevents it from circulating blood properly.

Frequently Ask Questions

PULMONARY DISEASE SUBSTANCE ABUSE PULMONARY ARTERIAL HYPERTENSION (PAH) PSORIASIS AND PSORIATIC ARTHRITIS PAIN MANAGEMENT OSTEOARTHRITIS (OA) MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS (MS) CANCER HYPERLIPIDEMIA HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS (HIV) HEPATITIS C GROWTH HORMONE DEFICIENCY Type I and Type II Diabetes CYSTIC FIBROSIS (CF) CROHN’S DISEASE (CD) AND ULCERATIVE COLITIS (UC) Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Frequently Ask Questions

There are two types of heart failure systolic and diastolic.

  • Systolic heart failure: This condition occurs when the pumping action of the heart is reduced or weakened. A common clinical measurement is ejection fraction (EF). The ejection fraction is a calculation of how much blood is ejected out of the left ventricle (stroke volume) divided by the maximum volume remaining in the left ventricle at the end of diastole or when the heart is relaxed after filling with blood. A normal ejection fraction is greater than 55%. Systolic heart failure is diagnosed when the ejection fraction has significantly decreased below the threshold of 55%.
  •  Diastolic heart failure: This condition occurs when the heart can contract normally but is stiff, or less compliant, when it is relaxing and filling with blood. The heart is unable to fill with blood properly, which pushes fluid into the lungs and heart failure symptoms. Diastolic heart failure is more common in patients older than 75 years of age, especially in patients with high blood pressure, and it is also more common in women. In diastolic heart failure, the ejection fraction is normal or increased.

Different medications can help symptoms of CHF. These include:

  • Blood thinners to reduce the risk of blood clots, which might break loose and travel to the heart, lungs, or brain. Blood thinners can also increase bleeding.
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) inhibitors to widen blood vessels, making it easier for the heart to pump blood around the body. ACE inhibitors can also lower blood pressure.
  • Anti-platelet drugs used to stop blood clots by preventing platelets in the blood from sticking together.
  • Beta-blockers, which lower the heart rate and reduce the force with which the heart must pump. They can also lower blood pressure.
  • Statins, which are used to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, and may raise “good” HDL cholesterol.
  • Calcium channel blockers, prescribed to help the heart pump less forcefully. They can also control irregular heart rhythms.
  • Diuretics to help the body excrete more fluid in the urine and prevent it from overwhelming the heart and lungs. They also reduce swelling and prevent shortness of breath.
  • Vasodilators reduce the amount of oxygen the heart needs to dilate. Vasodilators can also ease chest pain.
  • In people with advanced CHF, medication and lifestyle changes alone may not be enough and medical procedures can help which include the placement of implantable devices.