A to Z: Congestive Heart Failureenparentshttps://kidshealth.org/EN/images/headers/AtoZ_Dictionary_enHD1.jpgIn this condition, which can affect a child's breathing, activity, and growth, the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently and meet the needs of the body.Congestive heart failure, CHF, heart failure, heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, kidney failure, liver damage, digestive tract, swelling, edema, blood, arteries, circulatory system, fluid buildup, stroke, fluid congestion, arrhythmias, high blood pressure, congenital heart defects, healthy diet, lifestyle changes06/08/201503/25/201903/25/2019d83a78be-5065-47f7-8782-55fa3569eddchttps://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/101563.html/<p><em>May also be called: CHF, Heart Failure</em></p> <p>Congestive (cun-JES-tiv) heart failure is a condition in which the heart can&rsquo;t pump enough blood to meet the needs of the rest of the body.</p> <h3>More to Know</h3> <p>The heart&rsquo;s main function is to propel fresh blood throughout the <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/heart.html/">circulatory system</a> to give body parts the oxygen and nutrients they need. In heart failure, the heart cannot perform this function, either because the heart muscle itself is too weak, or because blood is not flowing well through the body, which makes the heart have to work harder and harder to move it. When something weakens the heart or causes it to function improperly, the <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/kidneys-urinary.html/">kidneys</a> receive less blood than they should and filter less fluid out of the body and into the urine. This fluid can then build up, or congest, in the lungs, liver, digestive tract, around the eyes, and in the legs and feet.</p> <p>A person&rsquo;s heart might not work right for many reasons, including <a class="kh_anchor">congenital heart defects</a>, certain forms of heart disease, abnormal heartbeats (<a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/arrhythmias.html/">arrhythmias</a>), <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/hypertension.html/">high blood pressure</a>, heart attack, and damage to the heart from infection, alcohol abuse, or the use of certain illegal and prescription drugs.</p> <p>Babies and young children with congestive heart failure have poor growth because their bodies have to work so hard to breathe and eat. Older children and teenagers, who have generally completed their growth, might have more breathing problems with heart failure. Congestive heart failure can cause fatigue, weakness, coughing, breathing problems, swelling around the feet and ankles, and fast or irregular heartbeats. Eventually children with heart failure might have weight gain from retaining so much fluid. Over time, poor circulation and fluid buildup can lead to kidney failure, liver damage, and <a href="https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/strokes.html/">stroke</a>. If it goes untreated, congestive heart failure can be life threatening.</p> <p>People with congestive heart failure can take medications to improve blood flow and remove extra fluid. Lifestyle changes may be needed, such as restricting certain sports and doing light rather than intense exercise. Babies and older children alike may need feeding tubes and dietary supplements to help them grow. In some cases, surgery to treat an underlying problem or transplant a new heart may be necessary.</p> <h3>Keep in Mind</h3> <p>In many cases, it&rsquo;s possible to control heart failure through lifestyle changes, taking the right medicines, and treating any conditions that can cause the heart to work improperly. Sometimes, however, no treatments or surgery will keep the condition from getting worse. In children with congestive heart failure, it is important that they get optimal nutrition to aid growth and the support they need to live an active, healthy life.</p> <p><em>All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.</em></p>
Arrhythmia (Abnormal Heartbeat)An arrhythmia is an abnormal heartbeat usually caused by an electrical "short circuit" in the heart. Many are minor and not a health threat, but some can indicate a more serious problem.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/arrhythmias.html/19038a47-2ae4-48f8-8bd5-9e46150171b0
Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)Atrial septal defect (ASD) — also known as a "hole in the heart" — is a type of congenital heart defect. Most ASDs are diagnosed and treated successfully.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/asd.html/2853e7be-1368-420f-bc8d-134350949604
Birth DefectsSome birth defects are minor and cause no problems; others cause major disabilities. Learn about the different types of birth defects, and how to help prevent them.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/birth-defects.html/eeaa74ff-3f65-4df3-8757-9df2d014c2ee
BloodHere are the basics about the life-sustaining fluid called blood.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/blood.html/79380405-c704-478c-a739-1d19c414015b
Coarctation of the AortaCoarctation of the aorta (COA) is a narrowing of the aorta, the major blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart to the body.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/coa.html/c608c070-bf56-4f7e-97ed-025cfc1ca1a6
Heart HealthAre you heart smart? Learn about this amazing muscle, including how to care for kids with heart conditions.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/center/heart-health-center.html/88f2105c-8446-4576-bb5e-078f57766557
Heart and Circulatory SystemThe heart and circulatory system are our body's lifeline, delivering blood to the body's tissues. Brush up on your ticker with this body basics article.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/heart.html/52398b6a-54a6-4272-a569-42ed5b12aeac
Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)When someone has hypertension (high blood pressure), the heart has to pump harder and the arteries are under more strain as they carry blood.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/hypertension.html/50aff0df-c464-4613-9fa4-6d814ba43a64
Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)The ductus arteriosus is a blood vessel that connects two major arteries before birth and normally closes after a baby is born. If it stays open, the result is a condition called patent ductus arteriosus (PDA).https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/patent-ductus-arteriosus.html/1220a363-ed10-4541-94c6-ecb923902cd8
Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) is a combination of problems caused by a birth defect that changes the way blood flows through the heart.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/tetralogy-of-fallot.html/c6d7839a-671c-43c0-8640-d2bc42753eee
Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)Ventricular septal defect (VSD) — also known as a "hole in the heart" — is a congenital heart defect. Most VSDs are diagnosed and treated successfully.https://kidshealth.org/ws/RadyChildrens/en/parents/vsd.html/21135699-6b44-43bd-96b1-618186631849