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cynthiaG Find out more about cynthiaG
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  • Blood pressure

    does your blood pressure go up if you have CHF??
    \"It is not length of life, but depth of life.\"

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • #2
    Re: Blood pressure

    Cynthia,

    There are actually different types of heart failure and many, many different causes. CHF (congestive heart failure) is considered an out-dated term, though it is still commonly used. The congestion refers to what happens when the heart cannot pump well enough to get the blood out of the lungs; listening with a stethescope a health care provider can hear congestion in the lungs--similar to what happens with a cold or pneumonia. Often heart failure does not cause congestion.

    The blood pressure may be normal. It may be high. It may drop. So one's blood pressure isn't very useful in making the diagnosis.

    Pat

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    • #3
      Re: Blood pressure

      As for the term CHF being outdated, at the hospital I have worked at for 23 years, the term is used constantly.

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      • #4
        Re: Blood pressure

        There are still lots of doctors who say "IHSS" when they mean HCM. However, I wasn't aware CHF was outdated either.

        What are we calling it these days, Pat?

        It is like Human Resouces. It used to be Personnel and I'm sure it is going to be something else again soon.

        S

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        • #5
          Re: Blood pressure

          Yes, CHF is still used in everyday medicine. And it is very similar to the change from the old diagnosis of IHSS to that of HCM. And I'm sure that it will be a LONG time before physicians don't recognize or use the term CHF. But terms do change with new understanding. I periodically remind myself of that with the term "dropsy." How many of you have seen it in books written in the 19th century? It was a very common diagnosis then; treated with foxglove (digitalis), it was. Dropsy became CHF!

          According to an article in AJN (December 2001) by specialists in cardiopulmonary nursing, here is a brief synopsis of diagnoses which are more specific to describing what is actually happening in the heart--and are, therefore, preferred:

          Heart failure--a state in which the heart is either unable to pump enough blood at a rate sufficient to meet the needs of the body or can do so only with an elevated filling pressure.

          Systolic dysfunction or systolic heart failure--There is difficulty in emptying the left ventricle. About 2/3 of the population with heart failure fall into this group. There are decreases in cardiac output and ejection fraction. A common cause is dilated cardiomyopathy.

          Diastolic dysfunction or diastolic heart failure--The left ventricle is unable to relax enough to accomodate an adequate amount of (oxygenated) blood returning from the lungs. One-third of the heart failure population has only diastolic dysfunction. It is commonly associated with left ventricular hypertrophy and systemic hypertension.

          The article cites research showing some 80% of patients hospitalized with an exacerbation of heart failure do not have pulmonary congestion, making the term "congestive" heart failure inappropriate.

          Other terms:
          Left-sided heart failure & right-sided heart failure. These denote the part of the heart which are first impaired. (An impairment on one side can lead eventually to impairment on the other side because the cardiovascular system is a continuous loop.)

          Pat

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