Classifications of Heart Failure

A condition where the heart is unable to pump enough blood to all parts of the body is called heart failure. Risk factors for heart failure include coronary heart disease which is narrowing of the arteries that supply the heart with blood. Hypertension is also a risk factor for heart failure because it overworks the heart. These two conditions can weaken the heart and cause heart failure. “Textbook of Medicine” by Robert L. Souhami and John Moxham says heart failure can be classified in three ways.

Acute and Chronic Heart Failure

According to Mayo Clinic, chronic heart failure is a condition where an individual experiences heart failure symptoms on an ongoing basis. In acute heart failure on the other hand, symptoms of heart failure occur suddenly. “Medicine” by John S. Axford and C. A. O’Callaghan says that acute heart failure is typically caused by heart attacks.

Systolic and Diastolic Heart Failure

Systolic heart failure refers to a situation where the heart is unable to contract with enough force. This results in inadequate pumping of the heart and reduced blood flow to tissues in the body. Systolic heart failure can lead to accumulation of blood in the lungs and low blood oxygen levels. In diastolic heart failure, the heart is unable to relax enough to fill with blood. As a result of this, blood backs up into the body and fluid accumulates in areas of the body like the legs and ankles. The Cleveland Clinic Center for Continuing Education suggests that systolic heart failure is more common than diastolic heart failure.

Left and Right Sided Heart Failure

“Essentials of Pathophysiology: Concepts of Altered Health States by Carol Porth, suggests that in right sided heart failure, the right side of the heart lacks the ability to move deoxygenated blood from the rest of the body to the lungs. Due to this, deoxygenated blood flows back into the body. Swelling or fluid accumulation in the body is a symptom of right sided heart failure. Left sided heart failure occurs when the left side of the heart is not able to pump blood out into the body. This makes blood back up into the lungs and leads to lung or pulmonary congestion.

About this Author

Ngozi Oguejiofo has been writing on a freelance basis since 2009 and most of her writings are focused on health. She is currently a registered nurse. She is interested in teaching, and writes articles focused on student nurses for various online publications.