Learn how to recognise the signs and symptoms of heart failure and get a professional diagnosis to detect congestive heart failure.
A person with heart failure often experiences:
When there is not enough blood going to the brain, muscle and other organs, the following symptoms may be experienced:
Anyone with suspected heart failure must consult a doctor.
The doctor will interview the patient and/or caregiver to clarify the symptoms and signs and make a detailed review of the patient’s previous medical history, social habits, family history and medication use.
The doctor will then carry out a detailed physical examination to confirm the signs of heart failure and also uncover any signs of heart disease as well as other medical problems.
Tests for heart failure generally fall into three categories:
Category 1: To check the heart function, the most commonly ordered test for this purpose is an ultrasound scan of the heart, also called an echocardiogram or echo. The echo measures how much the main pumping chambers (ventricles) can contract (also called ejection fraction). The echo can also detect any disease that has affected the heart function, such as a valve disorder.
Category 2: To find out the cause of the heart disease, a coronary angiogram (imaging of the coronary arteries) and other imaging tests may be conducted.
Category 3: To check for other disease conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disease, kidney impairment, anaemia (low red blood cells) and other conditions that may affect heart function.
The diagnosis of heart failure will be made when the patient presents with the typical signs and symptoms of heart failure and the abnormal heart function/structure are confirmed with the tests described.
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This article was last reviewed on
Friday, September 15, 2023
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