Congestive Heart Failure

Many individuals who have had a coronary event may be at risk or have congestive heart failure, a chronic condition in which the heart muscle gets progressively weaker and is unable to pump effectively to meet the body's need for blood and oxygen.

Heart failure can be a serious, long-term condition; however, with proper treatment and by making necessary changes in diet, exercise and lifestyle, patients can live full lives of the highest quality possible. 

Get in touch with your doctor right away if any of the warning signs below appear. If caught early, these symptoms may only require an adjustment in medication by your physician.

  • Sudden weight gain (three or more pounds in one day, five or more pounds in one week, or what amount you were told to report)
  • Shortness of breath not related to exercise or exertion
  • Increase swelling of the lower limbs (legs or ankles)
  • Swelling or pain in the abdomen
  • Trouble sleeping (waking up short of breath, using more pillows)
  • Frequent dry, hacking cough
  • Increased fatigue

Post all phone numbers for your primary care physician and cardiologist by the telephone, along with a complete list of current medications, any other medical conditions and allergies.

For more information, download our take home guide for Effective Management of Heart Failure or visit the American Heart Association website at