Congestive Heart Failure Signs and Symptoms

Congestive Heart Failure ( CHF) is the inability of the heart to pump a sufficient amount of oxygen to meet the metabolic needs of the body. In infants and children, inadequate cardiac output most commonly is caused by congenital heart defects (shunt, obstruction, or a combination of both) that produce an excessive volume or pressure load on the myocardium.

 In infants and children, a combination of left-sided and right-sided heart failure is usually present.



Congestive Heart Failure Assessment of early signs

  • Tachycardia, especially during rest and slight exertion
  • Tachypnea
  • Profuse scalp diaphoresis, especially in infants
  • Fatigue and irritability
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Respiratory distress


Left-Sided Failure Signs and Symptoms

  • Crackles and wheezes
  • Cough
  • Dyspnea
  • Grunting (infants)
  • Head bobbing (infants)
  • Nasal flaring
  • Orthopnea
  • Periods of cyanosis
  • Retractions
  • Tachypnea


Right-Sided Failure

  • Ascites
  • Hepatosplenomegaly
  • Jugular vein distention
  • Oliguria
  • Peripheral edema, especially
  • dependent edema, and
  • periorbital edema
  • Weight gain

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