Heart Failure Specialist

South Bay Cardiovascular Center

Cardiovascular Specialist & Nuclear Cardiology located in Morgan Hill, CA

Heart failure can lead to serious events like heart attacks and requires prompt, expert care. If you're suffering from heart failure, double board-certified cardiovascular specialist Anu Chirala, MD, FACC, at South Bay Cardiovascular Center in Morgan Hill, California, can help. Dr. Chirala has considerable experience in assessing and treating patients with heart failure, so call South Bay Cardiovascular Center to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online today.

Heart Failure Q & A

What is heart failure?

Congestive heart failure (CHF), is a cardiac condition that develops because your heart muscle can't pump blood as effectively as it should. There are various symptoms that might be signs of heart failure, including:

  • Shortness of breath (particularly when exercising or lying down)
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Chronic fatigue and weakness
  • Swollen feet and ankles
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Blood-tinged phlegm
  • Abdominal swelling (ascites)
  • Rapid weight gain due to fluid retention
  • Nausea or loss of appetite
  • Problems concentrating
  • Chest pain

To diagnose your symptoms, Dr. Chirala performs a physical examination, checks your medical history, and discusses your symptoms with you. You might also need to undergo a cardiac testing procedure such as a transthoracic or transesophageal echocardiogram.

What are the causes of heart failure?

Chronic heart failure is likely to result from coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD develops when a substance called plaque forms from cholesterol and other debris in your blood. The plaque sticks to the inside of your artery walls, leaving insufficient space for the blood to flow.

Other possible causes of heart failure include:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Aortic stenosis (valvular heart disease)
  • Mitral valve regurgitation
  • Cardiomyopathy (damage to the heart muscle)
  • Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle)
  • Structural heart defects
  • Heart arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms)
  • Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption

Your risk of heart failure is higher if you smoke, drink alcohol to excess, or have a chronic condition like diabetes, HIV, or thyroid disease.

Heart failure sometimes happens suddenly from a cardiac infection, allergic reaction, pulmonary embolism, or medication side effects.

How is heart failure treated?

Depending on the severity of your heart failure, you may need medication. These might include:

  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Statins
  • Blood thinners
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers
  • Beta blockers
  • Diuretics
  • Aldosterone antagonists
  • Inotropes
  • Digoxin (digitalis)
  • Nitrates

Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) with an implantable biventricular pacemaker can help regulate your heart's electrical activity. Other devices that can treat heart failure include implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICD) and ventricular assist devices (VAD).

If your heart failure is severe enough to require bypass surgery or a heart transplant, Dr. Chirala can perform your preoperative clearance process to ensure you're suitable and ready for surgery.

For expert diagnosis and care when you have heart failure, call South Bay Cardiovascular Center or book an appointment online today.