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Physical Examination for Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

Congestive heart failureor Heart failure is inability of the heart to pump an adequate amount of blood to the systemic circulation to meet the body's metabolic demands.

In most cases, heart failure is a process that occurs over time, when an underlying condition damages the heart or makes it work too hard, weakening the organ. Heart failure is characterized by shortness of breath (dyspnea) and abnormal fluid retention, which usually results in swelling (edema) in the feet and legs.

Common symptoms of congestive heart failure include:

  • Shortness of breath with exertion or when lying down
  • Cough
  • Swelling in legs, feet and ankles (pooling of blood)
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Weight gain
  • Loss of appetite, indigestion
  • Irregular or rapid pulse
  • Low blood pressure
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Heart palpitations (feeling the heart beat)
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Other symptoms may include:
  • Decreased in alertness or ability to concentrate
  • Decreased urine production
  • Nighttime urination (the need to get out of bed to go to the bathroom)
  • Nausea and vomiting

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Physical Examination for Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

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