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Congestive heart failure, also referred to simply as heart failure, is a chronic condition in which the heart no longer pumps as forcefully as it should to provide blood and oxygen to the rest of the body. As the heart’s pumping action diminishes, blood can back up in areas of the body and cause congestion in the lungs, GI tract and liver as well as in the arms and legs. The resulting lack of oxygen and nutrition to organs can damage their ability to work properly.

Learn more about congestive heart failure


Heart failure can be caused by high blood pressure, heart attack, lung disease or infections of the heart or heart valve.


Fluid buildup, called edema, may cause swelling in your feet, legs, ankles or stomach area. You may notice weight gain from the extra fluid. Your lungs may also become congested, causing shortness of breath or coughing. It can be harder to breathe when you lie down, and you may feel tired or sapped of energy.

Managing heart failure