Essay on Heart Failure

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Situation: Two patients in their 70s present to the office at different times today, each with documented heart failure: one diastolic and the other systolic, and both are hypertensive. First, discuss the difference between systolic and diastolic heart failure, providing appropriate pathophysiology. ACEI/ARBs are the only medications prescribed for CHF that have been found to prolong life and improve the quality of that life. EXPLAIN the mechanism of action of ACEI/ARBs and how they affect morbidity and mortality in CHF. Be specific. Diuretics must be used very carefully in diastolic ventricular dysfunction. EXPLAIN this statement using appropriate physiology. Now considering all of the above, describe an appropriate comprehensive plan of…show more content…
The characteristic beginning signs of HF include inadequate tissue perfusion and signs of volume overload. Inadequate blood flow to tissues can be evident by fatigue, shortness of breath, and exercise intolerance. Volume overload is evident by peripheral and pulmonary edema (fluid collection in the limbs and on the lungs) and venous distention (due to blood pooling in circulation from back flow in the heart) (Lehne, 2010). Systolic heart failure is characterized by enlarged ventricles that are unable to fully contract to pump enough blood into circulation to adequately perfuse tissues. The enlargement in ventricles is due to an increased end-systolic volume. If the heart is not able to sufficiently pump the expected volume of blood with each contraction, which in a normal healthy heart is 50-60%, there will be a residual volume left in the heart after every pump (Heart Healthy Women, 2012). With the next period of filling, the heart will receive the same amount of blood volume from the atria combined with that residual volume from the previous contraction. This causes the ventricles to have to dilate to accommodate this increase in volume. The dilation causes the walls of the ventricles to stretch and become thin and weak. Also the myocardium, the muscle layer of the heart, will stretch and not be able to adequately make a full and forceful enough contraction to push blood from the ventricles (Lehne, 2010).

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