Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Heart Failure - Diagnosis

The diagnosis of heart failure is based on:

  • Symptoms: Symptoms can provide important clues to the presence of heart failure. Shortness of breath while engaging in activities and episodes of shortness of breath during sleep are classic symptoms of heart failure

  • Physical examination: The physician listens to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope for tell-tale signs of heart failure, such as irregular heart sounds, a rapid heart rate and murmurs of the heart valves. If there is fluid in the lungs, crackling sounds may be heard. Rapid breathing or other changes in breathing may also be present. Patients with heart failure may also have a rapid pulse.

    By pressing on the abdomen, the physician can feel if the liver is enlarged. The skin of the fingers and toes may have a bluish tint and feel cool if not enough oxygen is reaching them.

  • Chest radiograph: Chest radiographs can show if there is fluid in the lungs or if the heart is enlarged. Abnormalities of heart valves and other structures also may be seen.

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG; also called EKG): An electrocardiogram gives information on the heart rhythm and and evidence of previous heart attack.

  • Other imaging tests:
    • Echocardiography can show if the heart wall or chambers are enlarged and if there are abnormalities of the heart valves. An echocardiogram can be used to find out how much blood is being pumped out of the heart chambers.
    • Magnetic Resonance Imaging can supplement the finding of echocardiogram and is excellent for cardiac tissue characterisation.

  • Cardiac catheterisation: is used to measure pressure in the heart and the amount of blood pumped by the heart. This test can help find abnormalities of the coronary arteries, heart valves, heart muscle, and other blood vessels. Combined with echocardiography and other tests, cardiac catheterisation can help find the cause of heart failure.

Heart Failure - Preparing for surgery

Heart Failure - Post-surgery care

Discover articles,videos, and guides afrom Singhealth's resources across the web. These information are collated, making healthy living much easier for everyone.