heart failure

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Related to acute heart failure: acute congestive heart failure

heart failure

1. a condition in which the heart is unable to pump an adequate amount of blood to the tissues, usually resulting in breathlessness, swollen ankles, etc.
2. sudden and permanent cessation of the heartbeat, resulting in death
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Heart Failure


(cardiac insufficiency), a combination of disorders caused primarily by a reduction in cardiac contractility. Heart failure may occur if the heart is overstrained as a result of arterial hypertension or heart disease or if the blood supply to the heart is interrupted (myocardial infarction). Toxic influences, such as those produced during Graves’ disease, and myocarditis may also cause heart failure.

Heart failure is accompanied by congestion, because the weakened cardiac muscle cannot handle circulation. Left ventricular heart failure results in pulmonary congestion accompanied by dyspnea, cyanosis, and hemoptysis, whereas right ventricular heart failure results in passive congestion of systemic circulation marked by the development of edemas and the enlargement of the liver. Heart failure results in hypoxia of the organs and tissues, acidosis, and other metabolic disorders. Acute heart failure usually occurs in the left ventricle and is manifested by an attack of cardiac asthma.

Heart failure is treated with cardiac glycosides, diuretics, and antiarrhythmics. Surgery, for example, the implantation of a pacemaker, may be performed in certain cases.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

heart failure

[′härt ‚fāl·yər]
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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