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How are heart attacks related to heart failure?

Joan Haizlip, MSN
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Your heart is a muscle and it acts like a pump.  It pumps blood from your heart to the rest of your body.  When you have a heart attack, a part of your heart becomes damaged.  If the damage is severe, it can affect the heart's ability to pump.  If the heart cannot pump effectively, blood backs up into your body (lungs, legs and feet).  This condition is called Congestive Heart Failure. 
"Repeat heart attacks cause most cases of chronic heart failure," said Dr. Ulrich Jorde. "Each attack takes out pieces of the heart muscle, kind of chop by chop. At a certain point the heart is so weak that you have problems going forward." As the condition progresses other organs suffer. "The real problems arise when the heart cannot do its job and the other organs, specifically the kidney, begin to fail. That's when you're going down the road," he said.

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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.