In The United States, Approximately Six Million People

3312 WordsFeb 21, 201714 Pages
In the United States, approximately six million people are living with some degree and type of heart failure; it is also the number one cause of death in the United States (CDC, 2016). The following research paper details the medical-surgical treatment and nursing care of patients with heart failure, and includes information specific to left-sided heart failure. Left-sided or left ventricular heart failure (LSHF) is most often referred to as congestive heart failure (CHF) in the clinical setting. LSHF results in inadequate left ventricular, cardiac output and consequently inadequate, systemic tissue perfusion. The most common contributing factors initiating LSHF are atherosclerosis, hypertension, coronary artery disease, angina,…show more content…
In an effort to increase cardiac output, the sympathetic nervous system is activated, through baroreceptors in the aortic arch, as an early compensatory mechanism which provides inotropic support and maintains cardiac output (Cadwallader, 2013; Yelle & Chaudhry, 2016). These compensatory mechanisms include increased heart rate, myocardial remodeling, and increased fluid volume. Chronic sympathetic activation eventually increases the stress placed on the heart and causes further weakening in cardiac function (Markaity, 2012; Yelle & Chaudhry, 2016). There are two types of the LSHF. Systolic failure occurs when the left ventricle loses its ability to contract normally. Therefore, the heart can’t generate enough force to push an adequate amount of blood into circulation, resulting in increased afterload. The heart also does not eject all the blood delivered to the left ventricle. The percentage of blood that is ejected from the heart compared to the amount of blood at the end of the ventricular filling is expressed in a percentage called the ejection fraction (Burns, 2016; Yelle & Chaudhry, 2016). The other type of LSHF is diastolic failure. This occurs when the left ventricle loses its ability to relax normally. Thus, the muscle becomes stiff, ventricular hypertrophy, and the heart can’t fill with enough blood during the resting period between each beat, leading to a
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