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What is directional heart failure?

Blood contains oxygen and nutrients. The purpose of the heart is to provide these to the body. Congestive Heart Failure (also called CHF) is when the heart fails to perform this function adequately. CHF occurs when the flow of blood from the heart decreases. It is also caused by fluid back-up behind the failing ventricle.

Backwards heart failure occurs when the ventricle doesn't pump out all the blood that comes in. The ventricular filling pressure is increased and systemic or pulmonary edema is increased. It's true that the heart can meet the needs of the body only when the ventricular filling pressure is high.

Forward heart failure occurs when the heart is not pumping out enough blood needed by the body. When less blood reaches the kidneys, salt and water is conserved, which then contributes to excess fluid retention and edema. This forward failure decreases the blood flow to other various organs, and symptoms of this are weakness and fatigue.

Directional heart failure refers to forward and backward heart failure.  Forward heart failure refers to the actual pumping action of the heart as measured by the concept called cardiac output.  This is measured in liters per minute.  This is a true assessment of the heart's ability to pump blood around the body.  Backward heart failure refers to a congestive state.  Congestion may occur within the pulmonary vasculature (pulmonary edema) or accumulation of fluid within other areas such as the skin (peripheral edema) or abdominal cavity (ascites).  Symptoms of forward heart failure refer to symptoms of fatigue, dizziness, confusion, and asthenia.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.