Congestive Heart Failure 2

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Are you fatigued with even minimal exertion? Awaking at night with shortness of breath? Bothered with swelling in your feet and ankles at the end of the day? Dr. Edward Hill may have your diagnosis in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Congestive heart failure is caused by an inability of the heart to adequately pump blood through the body. This can cause fatigue and shortness of breath with even minimal exertion. Other symptoms include dizziness when standing, swelling of the legs and ankles, and waking up short of breath in the middle of the night.

Common tests used to diagnose congestive heart failure include:

- blood tests for thyroid function, natriuretic peptide levels and kidney function

- an EKG to look for heart muscle damage and heart arrhythmias

- a chest X-ray to look for an enlarged heart and fluid in the lungs

- an echocardiogram, or ultrasound picture of the heart to look at the structure and function of the heart muscle and valves

- cardiac stress test to determine heart muscle ischemia during exercise

- cardiac catheterization to check for blockages and holes in the heart chambers

- and, a biopsy of the heart muscle to look for heart muscle diseases.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.