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How to Diagnose Congestive Heart Failure

Monday, 06 Jun 2011 04:57 PM

It is crucial to diagnose congestive heart failure at an early stage to secure a prognosis and to better manage the condition. To diagnose congestive heart failure, an expert must obtain a patient’s complete medical history and perform a thorough physical evaluation supported by diagnostic tests. If a patient complains of fatigue, swelling, and difficulty breathing, a doctor must check the patient for elevated pressure in the veins of the neck, pitting of the swelling, and abnormal heart sounds. Following this examination, a physician makes use of tests such as a chest X-ray to confirm increased heart size or fluid surrounding the lungs.

Another way to test for heart failure is through an echocardiogram, or ECHO, which can identify previous heart attacks or irregular pulses. An echocardiogram, done through ultrasound technology, is a valuable test when diagnosing heart failure as it shows symptoms of congestive heart failure through information obtained about the health of the heart muscles, heart valves, and blood flow pattern. Additionally, an angiogram may aid in identifying heart failure. The medical imaging technique known as angiography helps doctors to visualize arteries, veins, and heart chambers and to detect any blockages. Certain blood tests focusing on kidney and liver function, the thyroid, C-reactive protein, and blood count are done to diagnose the underlying pathology responsible for congestive heart failure. Further, the BNP test for heart failure estimates the brain natriuretic peptide level in the blood and warns of a possible risk of congestive heart failure.

For more information on congestive heart failure, see below:

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