What is Heart Failure?
Heart failure is a condition where the heart is unable to pump blood as well as it should. It does not mean that your heart has stopped working. The heart simply isn't filling with enough blood (diastolic failure) or pumping with enough force (systolic failure) or both. When the heart cannot efficiently pump, blood backs up into the lungs. The resulting fluid collection is responsible for congestion and breathing difficulties. Blood may also collect in veins, especially in the lower extremities, and cannot circulate into tissues. Heart failure usually develops slowly over time. The heart tries to adjust to this by stretching to hold more blood or thickening the wall muscles to pump stronger, but eventually the heart becomes unable to keep up.
One of the most important tests in the diagnosis of Heart Failure is an echocardiogram (echo). Your EF (ejection fraction) is the percentage of blood being ejected from your heart each time it beats. A healthy heart has an EF (ejection fraction) of around 60%, while those with Heart Failure most commonly have an EF of 40% or less. CHI Health Good Samaritan has partnered with CHI Health Nebraska Heart to treat heart failure.