Cardiac decompensation is the abrupt worsening of the symptoms linked with heart failure. It is important to note that heart failure is a chronic ailment where a structural anomaly or disease limits the capacity of the heart to pump enough blood throughout the body.
Generally, medications are given to assist with the heart function among those with heart failure. Cardiac decompensation might arise due to the progression of heart failure or certain scenarios such as missing a dose of drug or development of anemia or infection.
Shortness of breath
Individuals with heart failure typically have a certain degree of shortness of breath. In mild cases, this sign only occurs during physical exertion while in severe cases, the individual can end up short of breath with brief activity.
The increasing shortness of breath linked with minimal physical exertion than previously experienced is a usual sign of cardiac decompensation. This symptom arises due to the deprivation of oxygen in the tissues resulting from the slow flow of blood and leakage of fluid into the air sacs.
Coughing and wheezing
The weakening of the heart muscle linked with cardiac decompensation results to a slow blood flow and high pressure in the blood vessels that move blood from the lungs to the heart.
With the presence of high pressure, fluid seeps from the blood vessels into the tissues in the lungs, resulting to the congestion of the air sacs. The fluid in the air sacs or pulmonary edema triggers coughing and wheezing.
If cardiac decompensation is present, it indicates the deterioration in the volume of oxygenated blood that reaches the body tissues.
Inadequate oxygen compromises the body tissues and capability to fuel normal metabolic activities. This manifests as a feeling of tiredness or fatigue.
Tissue edema due to cardiac decompensation
The slow blood flow brought about by cardiac decompensation can increase the pooling of blood and pressure in the tissues away from the lungs.
The leakage of fluids occurs which results to edema or swelling in several bodily tissues. The increased edema in the lower legs, hands and feet generally occurs with cardiac decompensation.
If fluid builds up in the abdomen, it causes abdominal distention and an associated increase in the body weight. When fluid accumulates in the chest cavity around the lungs, it worsens the breathlessness and air hunger.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on cardiac decompensation is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize the indications by taking a standard first aid course with Victoria First Aid.