Pathophysiology Of Congestive Heart Failure

By on July 10, 2013

Pathophysiology of congestive heart failure is the structural and functional changes that are associated with heart failure.

Actually congestive heart failure or heart failure is a pathophysiological state in which the heart will not pump enough blood to the various parts of the body to meet their metabolic needs.

The name heart failure doesn’t mean that the heart stops beating completely, but the heart will not pump the blood effectively to the various parts of the body.

CHF is generally caused by increased cardiac output due to hypertension and lung disease.

Pathophysiology Of Congestive Heart FailureCongestive heart failure continues to be a growing problem in the United States and worldwide.

The Pathophysiology of Congestive Heart Failure

It is really complex to explain the pathophysiology of congestive heart failure. Any type of heart disease can result into failure of heart. It generally involves in structural changes and functional changes.

Structural Changes

  • According to the Frank–Starling law of the heart, in a healthy heart the pumping of the heart increases with the increase of blood filling into ventricles of the heart. But this mechanism fails during heart failure. This happens because the ventricles are filled with blood to such an extent where the contraction of heart muscles does not working effectively.
  • Stroke volume decreases, which may be caused due to systole (pumping of blood from heart), diastole (refilling the blood into the heart), or both.
  • With the heart failure, we can also observe an increase in heart rate.
  • In general, during strenuous physical activities such as exercising, etc, a healthy heart works hard to meet our increased metabolic needs. But with heart failure, heart normally itself works hard to meet the normal metabolic needs, and loses the tolerance to strenuous physical activities.
  • During failure of heart, ventricles in the heart enlarges. This in turn results into enlarging of the heart.


Functional Changes with Respect to Pathophysiology of Congestive Heart Failure

  • Decrease in blood pressure of arteries is observes. This in turn triggers the brain to increase the sympathetic activity resulting into vasoconstriction. This helps in restoring the decreased blood pressure. But, it in turn increases the work load on heart. Ultimately, this results into poor blood flow.
  • With the poor blood flow, renin-angiotensin system gets activated, which in turn increases retention of salt and water at kidneys, which further increases vasoconstriction.
  • This poor blood flow also shows an effect on muscle fibers resulting into increase fatigue, weakness, and intolerance to strenuous physical activities.

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