Definition of "congestive heart failure."
It is a syndrome in which the heart is unable to pump an adequate supply of blood to meet the oxygen and nutritional needs of the body.
The decrease in amount of blood pumped with each heart contraction causes an increase in circulatory pressure.
Anatomy and physiology of the heart.
The heart consists of four chambers - the right and left ventricles, and the right and left atria.
The upper chambers, the atria, receive blood from various parts of the body and pump it into the ventricles.
The right ventricle pumps blood into the lungs, and the left ventricle pumps blood into all parts of the body.
Factors that may increase risk of congestive heart failure.
Congenital heart defects.
Lung infections and diseases.
Signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure.
Shortness of breath.
Rapid heart rate.
Edema (fluid retention).
Excessive urination at night.
Cold, sweaty skin.
Restlessness or confusion.
Dry or frothy cough.
Unexplained rapid weight gain.
Loss of appetite.
Measures to prevent congestive heart failure.
Avoid stress. (Provide "Relaxation Techniques" handout.)
Avoid fatigue by gradually increasing activity, with planned rest periods.
Eat well-balanced, low-sodium diet. (Provide "Restrict Sodium" and "Daily Food Guide" handouts.)
Avoid extremes in temperature.
Take medication exactly as prescribed. (Provide medication handouts as applicable.)
Weigh daily to control weight and to detect fluid retention.
Restrict fluids if ordered.
Report the following symptoms immediately:
Loss of appetite.
Increased shortness of breath.
Frequent urination at night.
Possible complications of congestive heart failure.
Acute pulmonary edema.
Damage to such organs as liver, kidney, or brain.