By Dr. Sameer Mehrotra, Cardiology
1. Heart failure simply means in-effective pumping of the heart. This in-effective pumping can be due to many reasons, some may be reversible with treatment and others can be irreversible and only be managed with supportive medical treatment.
2. In heart failure, because the pump of the body - the heart, fails to function properly, hence blood flow to & from the various parts of the fails to happen effectively. Leading to water accumulation in some places and less blood supply to others.
3. Signs of heart failure can be - swelling in legs, swelling on face or in stomach. Feeling of weakness or fatigue. Inability to do strenuous work which you could previously perform or having difficulty in sleeping straight at night. Recurrent cough or breathlessness.
4. What to do in such cases? Consult a cardiologist urgently for evaluation of the cause of heart failure. You may be advised investigations like ECG, ECHO, Hemoglobin levels, TSH, Kidney function tests, angiography etc and based on the diagnosis the cardiologist will advice relevant treatment.
5. What types of treatments are available for heart failure? – A wide range of treatment ranging from medical therapy to device therapy with devices like ICD or CRT-D to heart transplant is currently available in India for heart failure management. Which treatment will be applicable is decided by the cause of heart failure, the general condition of the patient and stage of the disease.