Can you tell me the symptoms of endstage CHF?

  1. I need to know what they are. I've been trying to research it with not much luck. All of the descriptions are pretty vague. My mom has CHF, and I think it's getting worse.
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   shygirl
    From my experiences the symptoms are as follows:

    Cough
    Gurgling
    Sounding as if one was "under water"
    Temp.
    Increased edema
    SOB
    P.O. <75-80% (Some)
    Irregular heart sounds

    If I think of more, I'll write later.

    Shygirl
    Here is some info I found. Hope it helps!


    Your heart

    Your heart is a muscular pump which sits in your chest behind and slightly to the left of your breastbone.

    A normal functioning heart is about the size of your closed fist and weights about 300 grams.

    As blood circulates around the body, deoxygenated blood enters the right side of the heart. From there it is pumped to the lungs where it receives oxygen and is then delivered to the left-side of the heart.

    The left-side of the heart is responsible for pumping oxygen-enriched blood around the body. Blood exits the heart via the major artery in the body called the aorta.

    Heart failure

    Heart failure is a progressive condition in which the heart loses its ability to pump enough blood to the body's tissues, organs and limbs.

    The heart is no longer able to contract completely and can not eject sufficient blood out on each contraction to supply the body's needs.


    Diagram of a normal heart
    An enlarged heart


    Heart failure can be caused by a number of factors including viral or bacterial infection, heart valve disease, high blood pressure or scarring of the heart muscle following a heart attack.


    Heart disease kills more people in Australia than any other disease according to the Australian Heart Foundation.


    The American Heart Association estimates nearly five million people in America suffer from heart failure with 550,000 new cases diagnosed each year.


    An estimated 11.2 million people worldwide suffer some type of heart failure.


    An estimated one million of these people enter end-stage (New York Heart Association Class IV) heart failure each year and have a life expectancy of less than one year.


    Measuring heart failure

    One of the most common ways to classify the different stages of heart failure is by using this table developed by the New York Heart Association.

    Class Symptons




    Class I (Mild) No limit on physical activity. Ordinary physical activity does not cause discomfort, undue fatigue, palpitation or shortness of breath.


    Class II (Mild) Slight limitations on physical activity. Comfortable at rest but ordinary physical activity results in fatigue, heart palpitation or shortness of breath.


    Class III (Moderate) Marked limitations on physical activity. Comfortable at rest but less than ordinary activity causes fatigue, heart palpitation or shortness of breath.


    Class IV (Severe) Unable to carry out
    Last edit by shygirl on Jun 3, '04
  4. by   purplemania
    an increased demand for supplemental O2
    pedal edema
    frequency and dose of diuretics increases, but eventually these meds are not as effective

    My Mom died when her heart just could not stand the fluid overload any longer.
  5. by   NursesRmofun
    adding some....


    Rust colored sputum, distended neck veins, edema (Lower extremity and possibly more areas) and weight gain....
  6. by   jnette
    All correct. I see a lot of this in my field and it is something I must always caution our dialysis patients about. They need to understand they can literally drown their heart.
  7. by   movealong
    She should be weighing herself daily. A weight increase over 2-3 days of 3lbs or more is not a good sign.

    Cough, pitting edema, increased sob. Inablity to breath laying down.
  8. by   BadBird
    Signs & symptoms: anxiety, air hunger, nocturnal dyspnea, dyspnea on exertion, orthopnea, moist cough with frothy sputum, tachycardia, diaphoressi, cyanosis or pallor, insomnia, palpitations, weakness, fatigue, anorexia, changes in mentation.

    Hope this helps. Some treatments could be : morphine (to induce vasodilation and decrease venous return), diuretics (to reduce blood volume), inotropic agents (digitalis to strengthen contractions), vasodilators (nitrates, to dilate venous vessels), Oxygen
  9. by   leslie :-D
    are we talking about acute chf or end stage? w/end stage it's the fatigue that is most overwhelming; the doe, sob and the pedal edema usually spreads...with acute, it's pretty much what the others said....the diaphoresis with sob, very wet lungs, frothy sputum......
  10. by   warrior woman
    It's just that 2 weeks ago my mom was doing real well. In the last week and a half she's gotton weaker, has a lot of SOB with exertion(much more lately) She had edema in her face last night, and her lungs were wet. Had her take Lasix and she seemed to improve. She's just so very weak and fatigued, and I don't know why. She can't seem to stay up more than an hour at a time if that. She hasn't done this since she got critically ill in '02. I've just got a bad feeling about this. Whenever I ask if she's okay i.e should she get tx, she says, "I'm fine." And I can't force her to do anything, just support her.
  11. by   Rapheal
    Many great posts on the s/s of acute CHF or exacerbation (sp?) of COPD that needs immediate intervention. But I have noticed in end stage CHF that the most ominous sign of a patient that is about to decline is lack of appetite. This type of patient will usually be satting over 90%on low levels of O2 or room air, they will show improving lung sounds or at least
    not worse than when they were admitted- yet they will refuse to eat and complain of no appetite at all. I have observed this type of patient to decline rapidly and many nurses and doctors will ask "What happened?" This is just my observation and I tend to watch these patients very carefully. I am really sorry about your mom. I know that you and her are very close and I will be praying for her.
  12. by   leslie :-D
    i would firmly encourage her to see her doctor and personally assist her.....if she absolutely refuses, then maybe the md will give you a telephone order to have the lasix increased.....it's a long shot but lasix isn't something we should be playing around with either.....
  13. by   barefootlady
    Please try and get your mother to see her doctor quickly. The s/s you are describing are not good. I wish both of you the best and will pray for you both.
  14. by   warrior woman
    Thanks Barefoot. Some good news. Mom is feeling better. Not quite as weak today. I wish I knew what caused it, but am so thankful she feels better. About a week ago, she had a kidney infection, and took Ceftin for it. Maybe that's what made her so tired and weak. But I'm really vigilant about the CHF, because I know how insidious it is, and how fast you can get into trouble. I'm scheduling her a doctor's appt. next week. I'm going to ask if maybe she should get on Digitalis. Thanks for your advice, knowledge, and support. You are the best.

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