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Types of heart failure

  • There are two types of heart failure: left-sided and right-sided.

    The medicine your doctor prescribes will be specific for your type of heart failure.

    Left-sided

    • When the left ventricle isn't as strong as it should be, it works harder to pump the same amount of blood.
    • There are two types of left-sided heart failure:
      • The left ventricle loses its ability to squeeze (contract) normally. The heart doesn't have enough force to pump blood through the body.
      • The left ventricle can’t "relax" because the heart muscle is stiff. The heart can't fill up with blood and there is less blood to pump through the body.
    • You feel short of breath if fluid backs up in your lungs.

    Right-sided

    • When the right ventricle doesn't pump blood to the lungs like it should, less oxygen is in the blood. As a result, the blood backs up into the veins.
    • You have swelling in your feet, legs and abdomen if the fluid backs up.