The heart’s inability to supply adequate amount of blood to body cells and tissues may be due to failure on the right or left side. Left sided heart failure is the most commonly occurring and is also responsible for the development of failure on the right side of the heart. Failure in this case is explained in terms of difficulty in pumping sufficient blood to maintain functionality of body organs or hardening or softening of muscles affiliated to the heart.
Right sided HF is associated with the symptoms of frequent micturation during the night, swelling on the all feet and also ankles, conspicuous neck veins and fainting. Left side HF on the other hand presents with frothy or sometimes blood-tinged mucous during coughing, reduced production of urine, palpitations and difficulties when one tries to lie down (Eckstein & Korabathina, 2016). However, some symptoms are common between the two types of heart failure including easy fatigability, an irregular pulse rate, edema and weight gain.
To effectively manage the symptoms of heart failure, a physicians need to order for certain tests that will determine level and severity of the illness. They include blood tests to evaluate the functioning of thyroid glands, kidneys and the liver. Other investigations that need to be carried out include but not limited to chest x-ray, electrocardiogram, echocardiogram and coronary angiography. Primary care diagnoses in the development of the symptoms of HF include a thorough auscultation on the chest which may reveal murmurs or extra sounds from the heart. There may be crackles or decreased breadth sounds at the bottom of the lungs.
Coronary artery disease has been identified as the major cause of heart failure. Its management involves a change in the lifestyle of an individual, medications and surgery to remove the hardened plaque. The drugs used to dissolve the plague include aspirin, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, beta blockers and medications that modify cholesterol.
During auscultation, a clinician will be quick to identify a rapid heart rate and a wheezing sound during respirations. The sounds are abnormal and such a patient should be referred to a cardiologist for evaluation and subsequent management. Usually, the heart produces S1 and S2 sounds which are as a result valve spontaneous closure and opening.
Farmakis et al. (2015) wrote in their journal that heart failure is a common clinical syndrome among the elderly yet it remains the most misdiagnosed disease. It is necessary for a clinician to perform a detailed clinical history to determine past aggravating factors rather than focusing on the current chief complains. The patient should be asked about all the signs and symptoms that are brought about by heart failure which include but not limited to coughing, dyspnoea and easy fatigability. The physician should be in a position to find out whether the patient has had previous episodes of myocardial infarctions or any other condition of the heart. From the assessment it will be much easier to direct the patient on the next course of action that will result in bringing symptoms into check.
According to Liu & Eisen (2014), an accurate and prompt interpretation of results is essential not only for better patient outcomes but minimize symptoms brought about by heart failure. Other than the medical management, the patient should be enlightened on their role in worsening heart failure. They should be advised on an appropriate diet, healthy lifestyle which does not involve cigarette smoking and alcohol. Heart failure, just like any other medical condition, can be kept in check when all clinicians and the patient will strike a deal to work together to minimize symptoms that are brought about by the illness.
Eckstein, D., & Korabathina, R. (2016). Heart Failure Update: Diagnosis and Classification. FP essentials, 442, 11-17.
Farmakis, D., Parissis, J., Lekakis, J., & Filippatos, G. (2015). Acute heart failure: epidemiology, risk factors, and prevention. Revista Española de Cardiología (English Edition), 68(3), 245-248.
Liu, L., & Eisen, H. J. (2014). Epidemiology of heart failure and scope of the problem. Cardiology clinics, 32(1), 1-8.