Managing Heart Failure

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Managing Heart Failure
Carla Vossen, SPN
Kristin Madigan RN, BSN
NURS 1300: Research Project
South Central College
November 23, 2009

Heart failure is a chronic and progressive syndrome, resulting from the inability of the heart muscle to pump with enough force to meet the metabolic demands of the body. (Buckler,13) According to the Center for Disease Control; (CDC) there are approximately five million people in the United States that have heart failure. Approximately 550 thousand people are diagnosed with heart failure each year. African Americans have a higher death rate than Caucasian Americans; the estimated medical costs in 2006 were 29.6 billion dollars.

Heart failure has a very broad range of causes, some of the more common cardiovascular causes are: congenital heart conditions, valvular disease, coronary artery disease, myocarditis, cardiomyopathies, myocardial infarction, and hypertension. Noncardiovascular causes of heart disease include pulmonary embolism, thyrotoxicosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. (Williams,407 ) Lifestyle choice such as smoking, excessive alcohol intake and environment are contributing risk factors. (Buckler,13-15: Williams,408)

The symptoms will vary depending on which side of the heart is failing, patients age, and the severity of the disease. However fatigue and weakness are the hallmark signs of heart failure.(Williams,483) When pump failure occurs in a damaged left ventricle, referred to as left-sided heart failure (most commonly occurs here); signs and symptoms can include: Dyspnea on exertion, Cheyne-Stokes respirations, crackles, wheezing nocturia, restlessness, cough, pink frothy sputum, weakness, and paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea, and cyanosis. Right ventricle failure or right-sided heart failure can either be primary failure or secondary to left-sided heart failure. Signs and symptoms can include: Peripheral edema, ascites, abdominal pain and fullness, anorexia or sudden weight gain,...
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