Acute heart failure is a sudden decrease of contractile function of the heart making impossible to supply sufficient blood flow that meets the body's demands. Acute heart failure is sometimes called acute left ventricular insufficiency.
A typical symptom of acute heart failure is cardiac asthma. Cardiac Asthma is a sudden attack of breathlessness attacking passing into suffocation. A typical attack of cardiac asthma develops during sleep, the patient wakes up from an acute sense of lack of air and fear of death. Along with this symptom patients experience severe rapid or irregular heartbeat (palpitations), shortness of breath, laboured breathing causing patients to sit or stand. The skin is pale, then with a bluish color. There may be a dry cough with a small amount of sputum and blood. The conditions can result in pulmonary edema.
Along with left ventricular insufficiency, there is right ventricular failure which is characterized by severe edema on foots and ankle. In the horizontal position edemas can be found on the back or hip. Also pain in the area below the ribs is common as well.
Acute heart failure usually develops after other pathological conditions have damage or weakened heart function. Over time, the heart can no longer keep up with the normal demands placed on it to pump blood to the rest of the body. The following conditions may contribute to ACH development:
Clinical experience showed that there are some risk factors which may provoke acute heart failure. These factors include:
Treatment of acute heart failure includes drug therapy, surgeries, life-style changes.