Congestive Heart Failure

What is Congestive Heart Failure?

Congestive Heart failure is a condition where the strength and performance of the heart is less efficient. When a patient has heart failure, the heart is not able to increase in rate to meet increase demand and the pressure within the heart & vascular system generally increases.  As a result, the heart cannot deliver adequate oxygenated blood flow & nutrients to the rest of the body.  With a weakened heart muscle, the tissue will naturally respond by stretching to hold more blood to pump and become stiff and thickened. Although this helps to keep the blood moving, the heart muscle walls may eventually weaken and become unable to pump as efficiently.  This deterioration often leads to affect other organs of the body such as the kidneys. The kidneys may often retain fluid (water) and salt.  If fluid builds up in the arms, legs, ankles, feet, lungs, or other organs, the body becomes congested, and congestive heart failure is the term used to describe the condition.

 What are the Causes of Congestive Heart Failure?

Heart failure affects nearly 6 million people in the United States alone. It is estimated that nearly 670,000 people are diagnosed with heart failure each year.  It is the leading cause of hospitalization in people older than 65.Heart failure is caused by many conditions that damage the heart muscle, including:

  • Coronary Artery Disease Coronary artery disease (CAD), a disease of the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart, causes decreased blood flow to the heart muscle. If the arteries become blocked or severely narrowed, the heart becomes starved for oxygen and nutrients.
  • Cardiomyopathy – Damage to the heart muscle from causes other than artery or blood flow problems, such as from infections or alcohol or drug abuse.
  • Heart attack. A heart attack occurs when a coronary artery becomes suddenly restricted or blocked, preventing adequate blood flow to the heart muscle.  Once you have a heart attack the damage to the heart muscle from a lack of blood flow can prevent the heart from functioning properly.
  • Other Conditions – including high blood pressure, valve disease thyroid disease, kidney disease, diabetes, or heart defects present at birth can all cause heart failure.

Financial Burden of Heart Failure in the United States

It is estimated that Centers for Medicare & Medicaid spend more than $20 billion dollars each year on hospitalizations for Congestive Heart Failure.  This has long been an epidemic in the United States with no real effective solution in site.  The cost has remain out of control so much that Medicare has recently removed reimbursement or compensation to medical facilities & Hospitals for patients that are re-admitted back into the hospital.  This program called H2H represents a significant burden to medical facilities as just one night of hospitalization for heart failure can exceed $30,000 – $50,000.

Cardiac Therapy for Congestive Heart Failure

Cardiac Therapy is a non invasive, outpatient procedure that has been documented to reduce symptoms & strengthen the heart muscle in patients with Congestive Heart Failure. The medical term for Cardiac Therapy is External Counterpulsation Therapy.  There are a number of clinical trials published that document the symptomatic and physiological improvements for patients with CHF.  The Benefits of Cardiac Therapy for Congestive Heart Failure include an increase in exercise tolerance,  reduction in symptoms such as shortness of breath as well as improvements in oxygen consumption.  For more clinical details, you visit Congestive Heart Failure Clinical Trials

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