Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle is not able to function in a manner that can sufficiently supply the body with oxygen. Congestive heart failure is the failure of the heart muscle to maintain the circulation, leading to a backup of blood in the veins that causes swelling, particularly in the lower parts of the body. Shortness of breath is another common symptom of congestive heart failure that occurs due to fluid buildup in the lungs. Fatigue and a decreased capacity to exercise are other symptoms that commonly result from heart failure. Early symptoms and signs may not be apparent, and symptoms may develop only after the condition has progressed over time.
Causes of heart failure
Any condition that damages the function of the heart can cause heart failure. Examples include coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction (heart attack), inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis), high blood pressure (hypertension), long-standing alcohol abuse, and heart valve disease. Heart failure may also occur in some cases when the exact cause is not known.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
Main Article on Heart Failure Symptoms and Signs
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
Heart Disease Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Take our Heart Disease Quiz to get answers and facts about high cholesterol, atherosclerosis prevention, and the causes,...
Heart Disease: Causes of a Heart Attack
Learn about heart disease and heart attack symptoms and signs of a heart attack in men and women. Read about heart disease...
Heart Disease: Symptoms, Signs, and Causes
What is heart disease (coronary artery disease)? Learn about the causes of heart disease. Symptoms of heart disease include chest...
Lower Your Cholesterol, Save Your Heart
Need to lower your cholesterol levels? Use these smart diet tips to quickly and easily lower your blood cholesterol levels....
Heart Failure Symptoms and Signs
Examples of Medications for Heart Failure Symptoms and Signs
- atenolol, Tenormin
- benazepril (Lotensin HTC)
- betaxolol ophthalmic, Betoptic S, Betoptic
- betaxolol, Kerlone (Discontinued Brand)
- bisoprolol, Zebeta
- bumetanide, Bumex (discontinued brand)
- candesartan cilexetil, Atacand
- captopril, Capoten
- carvedilol (Coreg, Coreg CR)
- digoxin (Lanoxin, Lanoxin Pediatric)
- enalapril, Vasotec, Epaned
- fosinopril sodium, Monopril
- furosemide (Lasix)
- irbesartan, Avapro
- labetalol, Normodyne, Trandate
- lisinopril (Zestril, Prinivil, Qbrelis) ACE Inhibitor
- losartan, Cozaar
- metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL)
- moexipril - oral, Univasc
- nadolol (Corgard)
- perindopril - oral, Aceon
- propranolol, Inderal, Inderal LA, Innopran XL
- quinapril, Accupril
- ramipril, Altace
- Sectral (acebutolol)
- sotalol, Betapace, Betapace AF, Sorine, Sotylize
- telmisartan, Micardis
- trandolapril, Mavik
- valsartan, Diovan
Subscribe to MedicineNet's Heart Health Newsletter