Left-Sided Heart Failure Case Study

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Heart failure is the inability of the heart to produce adequate cardiac output (Huether & McCance, 2012). Nearly 2% of all Americans have some form of heart failure (McLaughlin, Hoy, & Glackin, 2015). Heart failure can occur as left-sided heart failure, right-sided heart failure, high-output heart failure, or a combination thereof (Ignatavicius &Workman, 2016). While there is no cure for heart failure, treatments are centered on controlling the decline of the cardiac muscle and maintenance of the symptoms (Huether & McCance, 2012). This paper focuses on left-sided heart failure, or congestive heart failure, and the implications of living with the disease. Pathophysiology Disease Process Left-sided heart failure. Left-sided heart failure…show more content…
The amount of oxygenated blood that is pumped out of the heart in one minute is called cardiac output (Huether & McCance, 2012). Cardiac output is affected by contractility, preload, and afterload (Huether & McCance, 2012). These three factors makeup what is known as stroke volume, the amount of blood pumped out of the heart with each beat (Huether & McCance, 2012). If the stroke volume is decreased, the cardiac output is decreased, which means that the heart is not producing enough oxygenated blood to circulate throughout the…show more content…
This means that the body’s tissues are not receiving sufficient oxygen. This can lead to weakness, ischemia, loss of function, and skin breakdown throughout the body. Decreased perfusion to the kidneys only worsens the fluid imbalance (Huether & McCance, 2012). In the brain, it can lead to dizziness and syncope. The lungs are also affected by CHF. The lungs become filled with “congested” with fluid, causing a productive cough, crackles and wheezes, and pulmonary edema (Ignatavicius & Workman, 2016). Patients may also experience dyspnea, which can further decrease the tissue perfusion. The sympathetic nervous system acts in response to decreased cardiac output by causing vasoconstriction (Ignatavicius & Workman, 2016). This increases the body’s blood pressure and increases afterload (Ignatavicius & Workman,

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