Congestive cardiac failure is when the left ventricle (left lower chamber of the heart) is unable to cope with the blood that is returned to it from the lungs and it is unable to effectively pump that blood through the arterial system to the rest of the body.

Why does this happen and how may it affect the patients health?

There are a large variety of reasons and causes for this condition; the main categories leading to this condition include

  • Heart attack (damage to the heart muscle, causing ineffective pump function)

    • Mechanical problems of the heart

      • Valve defects
      • Septal defects (holes in the walls of the heart chambers)
      • Birth abnormalities

    • Diseases that may place strain on the heart such as

      • Hyperactive thyroid gland
      • High blood pressure; excessive salt in diet
      • Low red blood cell count
      • Heart muscle inflammation caused by rheumatic fever or viruses,
      • Abnormalities of the blood vessels (coarctation of the aorta)

    • Certain drugs such as

      • Fluid retaining drugs e.g. steroids
      • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which also cause fluid retention

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