For a physician referral

866-705-ECHI(3244)


526 Moye Blvd
Greenville, NC 27834

For a physician referral

866-705-ECHI(3244)


526 Moye Blvd
Greenville, NC 27834

Heart Failure

Heart Failure, also called congestive heart failure, happens when your heart can't pump enough blood to the rest of your body. The condition may affect one or both sides of your heart.

Heart failure is present when your heart muscle can't pump blood out of your heart (called systolic heart failure) or when your heart muscles are stiff and do not fill up with blood easily (called diastolic heart failure).

The most common cause of heart failure is coronary artery disease, or narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. Others causes are untreated high blood pressure, congenital heart disease, heart attack or infection. Having certain diseases may make you more likely to develop heart failure.

Symptoms often begin slowly. They only may occur after you are very active. Over time, you may notice breathing problems. Note that heart failure may also begin suddenly; after a heart attack for example.

Common symptoms are:

  • Cough
  • Fatigue, weakness, faintness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Need to urinate at night
  • Pulse that feels fast or irregular, or a sensation of feeling the heart beat
  • Shortness of breath when you are active or after you lie down
  • Enlarged liver or abdomen
  • Swollen feet and ankles
  • Waking up from sleep after a couple of hours due to shortness of breath
  • Weight gain

Visit our health library for a more in-depth look at heart failure, including tests for heart failure, treatment options and outlook for heart failure patients.