Many in Oklahoma mistakenly believe heart failure means the heart has stopped or is about to stop. Heart failure (or congestive heart failure) simply means the heart is not pumping blood through the body as well as it should. As the heart’s pumping action weakens, blood backs up into the blood vessels around the lungs and causes seepage into the lungs. The fluid causes congestion and makes it hard to breathe. Many people with heart failure also have swollen legs and feet. That is why heart failure is sometimes called congestive heart failure.
According to the American Heart Association, heart failure is not necessarily a sudden or dramatic change:
“Heart failure develops following injury to the heart such as the damage caused by a heart attack, long-term high blood pressure, or an abnormality of one of the heart valves. The weakened heart must work harder to keep up with the demands of the body, which is why people with heart failure often complain of feeling tired.”
In fact, many Oklahoma heart failure patients may not even realize the implications their symptoms indicate.
About 4,000 donor hearts are available in the world each year – thousands short of the number required. Heart assist devices offer end-stage heart patients the opportunity to live more complete, normal, and active lives during Bridge-to-Transplant or Destination Therapy.