Congestive Heart Failure

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Congestive Heart Failure

Heart failure is a health condition when the organ is no longer capable or having troubles pumping blood with oxygen to other parts of the body. A normal physiology of a healthy left ventricle of the heart performs the process of collecting blood from the vein networks coming from the lungs. The action involves the accumulation of blood rich with oxygen. The parts in the left side are responsible for receiving oxygenated blood from the lungs and pumping it to the organs and tissues of the body which require oxygenated blood to perform their normal functions.

Each pumping cycle of the heart consists of an ejection phase “systole” and a filling phase “diastole”. During systole, the muscles comprising the right and left ventricle contract forcefully and cause blood to be ejected into the lungs and other parts of the body. The amount of blood pumped through the heart each minute is called the cardiac output (FHRI). A congestive heart failure (CHF) is actually an imbalance in the pump action of the heart when it is no longer capable to provide the circulatory action of blood in the body.

Thus, one of the components of this condition may be attributed to the phase when the left side part of the heart fails to do its function. A CHF condition may affect the left, right, or both sides of the heart, if the left half of the heart fails (left ventricular failure), a systolic dysfunction will happen (Uren, 1998-2007). The first event in this kind of heart condition is the non-contraction of the heart’s muscle fibers. The process may happen due to a sudden failure of contraction or at a decreasing rate. This first effect happens when there is not enough pulses coming from the brain to make the heart muscles contract.

As mentioned, the left atrium receives the oxygenated blood from the lungs. However, during a left side heart failure, the chamber gets filled with blood and will be forced to eject out the volume to the left ventricle just below it. The left ventricle then receives the pressured blood but may not be able to keep up with the circulation process. Since the left ventricle is also dysfunctional, it will be filled with blood but will not be able to pump it out from the chamber to transmit it to the aorta for distribution.

The blood will be continuously brought inside the left atrium if the right side of the heart is still active in pumping the oxygen depleted blood coming from different parts of the body. The left atrium and ventricles will continuously be forced to accept blood causing a drowning effect. The blood will build up in the left chambers, and when the fluid limit of the chambers is met, the left chambers will eventually swell and will constrict the surrounding veins nearest the heart. A congested group of channels will eventually trap fluids in the veins. Also, the lungs will be affected due to congestion of the veins connected to the heart.

During an attack, the ventricles will have a stressful action that will cause it to increase in muscle fiber tension. Opposing forces responsible for fluid transfer include pulmonary capillary pressure and plasma oncotic pressure. Under normal circumstances, when fluid is transferred into the lung interstitium with increased lymphatic flow, no increase in interstitial volume occurs. However, since there are possibilities of heart attacks when the right chamber of the heart is still active pumping blood, the left chamber will still accept the blood even if it is dysfunctional.

When the capacity of lymphatic drainage is exceeded, however, liquid accumulates in the interstitial spaces surrounding the bronchioles and lung vasculature, thus creating CHF. When increased fluid and pressure cause tracking into the interstitial space around the alveoli and disruption of alveolar membrane junctions, fluid floods the alveoli and may lead to pulmonary edema CHF can be generalized as an imbalance of activities in the degree of diastolic fibers proportional to the systolic work in a contraction rhythm of the heart.

This imbalance may be characterized as a malfunction between the mechanisms that keep the interstitium and alveoli dry and the opposing forces that are responsible for fluid transfer to the interstitium. Maintenance of plasma oncotic pressure (generally about 25 mm Hg) higher than pulmonary capillary pressure (about 7-12 mm Hg), maintenance of connective tissue and cellular barriers relatively impermeable to plasma proteins, and maintenance of an extensive lymphatic system are the mechanisms that keep the interstitium and alveoli dry (Emedicine, 1996-2006).

The normal functioning of the heart provides a circulatory system that permits the regular flow of oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body. However, if certain conditions prevent this from happening, the body is at risk of acquiring severe illnesses and even death. It is very important that heart functions are regularly monitored and well taken care of. A regular medical check up together with the imposition of a good lifestyle can help prevent heart diseases from being contracted.

References

http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic108.htm

http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/diseases/facts/heartfailure.htm

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