Understanding
Your Diagnosis

Heart failure is a complicated condition and can affect people of all ages. Learn the basics about heart failure and explore the different types symptoms, risk factors, and complications.
Heart failure is a complicated condition and can affect people of all ages.
Learn the basics about heart failure and explore the different types,
symptoms, risk factors, and complications.

What is Heart Failure?

The heart is one of the most important parts of your body. But what happens when it doesn’t work like it should? This video explores what heart failure is and some of the causes.

Read through An Introduction to Pediatric Heart Failure and watch the animated video below to better understand heart failure.

ACTION_HF_Overview_20200626
An Introduction to
Pediatric Heart Failure
Download PDF
Play Video

Normal Heart Structure
and Function

A normal heart has 4 chambers: 2 atria and 2 ventricles. The right side of the heart receives deoxygenated (blue) blood from the body and pumps it to the lungs to get oxygen. The left side of the heart receives the newly oxygenated blood (red) from the lungs and pumps it to the rest of the body.

The heart has two phases: contraction (systole) and relaxation (diastole). When the heart relaxes, the ventricles rest and fill up with blood sent from the atria. During contraction, the ventricles squeeze the blood to the rest of the body.

What are the Different Types of Heart Failure?

Heart failure can be classified based on whether the ventricle has abnormal contraction or abnormal relaxation.

Systolic Heart Failure
If the ventricle can’t contract well enough to pump blood to all parts of the body (including your brain, muscles, and other important organs), we call it systolic heart failure. Systolic heart failure can cause you to feel unwell and weak. It can also cause your other organs to not work properly.

Diastolic Heart Failure
If the ventricle can’t relax well enough to fill properly, we call it diastolic heart failure. This can happen if your heart muscle becomes stiff or thick. Diastolic heart failure can lead to blood backing up into the lungs and cause shortness of breath. When diastolic failure is severe, your heart cannot fill up with enough blood to adequately supply your body and your important organs. Sometimes you can have both systolic and diastolic heart failure.

Heart failure can also involve the left ventricle (left-sided heart failure), right ventricle (right-sided heart failure), or both (biventricular).

Left-sided Heart Failure
The left ventricle is the heart’s primary pumping chamber. With left-sided systolic failure, the left ventricle struggles to pump enough blood throughout the body. This can lead to blood building up in your lungs. As the blood backs up into your lungs, it can make it hard for you to breathe and cause you to cough, especially if you’re doing activities like exercising or playing.

Right-sided Heart Failure
Right-sided heart failure often happens as a result of left-sided heart failure. With right-sided heart failure, the right ventricle loses some of its pumping power. In other words, it becomes too weak to pump enough blood to your lungs. When the right ventricle struggles to pump, blood builds up in your liver and veins. This can cause swelling in your legs, abdomen (belly), and feet.

Biventricular Heart Failure
Biventricular heart failure is when both sides of your heart are affected. Your symptoms can be a combination of left- and right-sided failure.

Living with heart failure can be challenging. What does it feel like when your heart doesn’t work like it should?

Life with heart failure looks different for each patient and depends on your age. Your symptoms will depend on how severe your condition is and how much of your heart is affected. Some common symptoms of heart failure include: 

  • Shortness of breath, especially with physical activity
  • Rapid breathing
  • Chronic cough and congestion in your chest
  • Swelling in your legs, face, and sometimes abdomen
  • Excessive sweating
  • Rapid heart rate or palpitations
  • Feeling like you need to take breaks while playing or exercising
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Belly pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Not able to lie flat when sleeping or waking up gasping for air
  • Skin changes: cold and clammy, or sweaty, flushed, and warm to the touch
  • For infants, trouble feeding, difficulty gaining weight, falling asleep while eating, sweating while eating, and rapid breathing are most common.

Depending on your age and the cause of your heart failure, it’s possible that you may face some complications.

  • Poor growth: For many different reasons, heart failure can make it hard for you to grow as you would if your heart were working normally.
  • Arrhythmias: In some cases, heart failure can lead to abnormal heart rates or rhythms. Cardiac arrhythmias mean your heart’s electrical impulses aren’t working correctly. Serious arrhythmias can be life threatening and sometimes require medications and/or an internal defibrillator.
  • Heart valve issues: Heart failure can stretch out your heart. When this happens, your heart valves may not close properly. This causes them to become leaky, which causes some blood to move backward. Leaky valves can worsen heart failure.
  • Kidney insufficiency and/or failure: Heart failure can limit the blood flow to your kidneys. Over time, this takes a toll and can lead to kidney failure.
  • Liver disease:  If your heart failure leads to fluid retention, this can cause pressure and scarring in your liver, making it hard for your liver to work like it should.
  • Clots: If your heart does not squeeze out blood properly, clots can form within the heart. These clots can be dangerous if they go to other parts of your body and brain.

Heart Failure Resources

For more information about pediatric heart failure, see the following resource. 

Pediatric Heart Failure: A Guide for Parents and Families

The Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation developed a guidebook providing a comprehensive overview of heart failure, including signs and symptoms, diagnostic testing, medications, and advanced heart failure therapies. The resource draws on the experience and knowledge of the top pediatric heart failure specialists in the U.S. and Australia.

Causes

As we age, our hearts naturally lose some of their power to pump and fill properly. Some health conditions may cause this to happen sooner than it should. Let’s explore some of the most common causes of heart failure in children and young adults.

Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital Heart Disease Resources

Check out our additional resources for children and adults with congenital heart disease below.

Mechanical Circulatory Support (MCS) in ACHD Patients

Ventricular assist devices can help adults with congenital heart disease live longer, healthier, better quality lives.

Considerations for Advanced Heart Failure Consultation in Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) Patients (CHD Referral)

Learn what factors your doctor considers when referring CHD patients for advanced heart failure consultation.

HeartMate 3™ LVAD ACHD Patient Journey

Everyone’s journey will look a little different. Use this map to get a feel for what lies ahead. It will also help you understand when you should be reading and learning about different phases of the journey.

  Scroll down to explore specific types of congenital heart disease.

Fontan Failure 

Fortunately, like with other types of CHD, cardiologists and cardiac surgeons have discovered ways to allow you to survive and thrive throughout childhood with only one ventricle. If you were born with only one ventricle, you likely went through several heart surgeries early in your life and may now have a Fontan circulation. The Fontan circulation is developed when a pediatric cardiac surgeon creates a pathway for blood to return to your lungs for oxygen directly, without circulating through a ventricle. This frees up the one ventricle you have to do the hard work of pumping your blood out to your body. While the Fontan circulation can be very successful, in some cases, the one ventricle will not be able to do all the work of two ventricles and you may experience heart failure. If you have a Fontan circulation and are starting to experience heart failure, you might feel like it’s hard to catch your breath or like your heart is beating in a weird rhythm. Your skin may be more blue-tinted than usual, or you may have swelling in certain areas of your body. Occasionally, because pediatric cardiac surgeons had to make some unnatural changes in your body to create the Fontan circulation, you may develop chronic liver disease, renal insufficiency/failure, and/or problems with your intestines leading to malnutrition.

Play Video

Brooklyn’s Journey

 

If you are a patient and have a Fontan circulation and have symptoms of heart failure that can’t be controlled with medications, you may need a VAD or a transplant. VADs can help as a form of long-term therapy or they can help you survive until it’s time for your transplant. Watch now to see how ACTION is helping patients with a Fontan circulation, like Brooklyn, to live longer and healthier lives. We are actively collaborating, sharing, and innovating to figure out how best to provide life-saving therapies for Fontan patients.

Fontan Circulation Patient Handbook

As someone who was born with a single ventricle heart, you have special health concerns now. This book was written by Cincinnati Children’s Fontan team for patients who had Fontan heart surgery.

Fontan Resources

For more information about Fontan, see the following resources.   

When you are faced with a lifelong heart condition such as congenital heart disease, it can help to connect with others who get what you’re going through. Support groups offer a way to bring people together to share information. This can also help reduce stress and worry and provide helpful education.

Mended Hearts/Mended Little Hearts
mendedhearts.org

Sisters by Heart
sistersbyheart.org

The Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA)
achaheart.org

Fontan Failure 

Fortunately, like with other types of CHD, cardiologists and cardiac surgeons have discovered ways to allow you to survive and thrive throughout childhood with only one ventricle. If you were born with only one ventricle, you likely went through several heart surgeries early in your life and may now have a Fontan circulation. The Fontan circulation is developed when a pediatric cardiac surgeon creates a pathway for blood to return to your lungs for oxygen directly, without circulating through a ventricle. This frees up the one ventricle you have to do the hard work of pumping your blood out to your body. While the Fontan circulation can be very successful, in some cases, the one ventricle will not be able to do all the work of two ventricles and you may experience heart failure. If you have a Fontan circulation and are starting to experience heart failure, you might feel like it’s hard to catch your breath or like your heart is beating in a weird rhythm. Your skin may be more blue-tinted than usual, or you may have swelling in certain areas of your body. Occasionally, because pediatric cardiac surgeons had to make some unnatural changes in your body to create the Fontan circulation, you may develop chronic liver disease, renal insufficiency/failure, and/or problems with your intestines leading to malnutrition.

Play Video

Brooklyn’s Journey

 

If you are a patient and have a Fontan circulation and have symptoms of heart failure that can’t be controlled with medications, you may need a VAD or a transplant. VADs can help as a form of long-term therapy or they can help you survive until it’s time for your transplant. Watch now to see how ACTION is helping patients with a Fontan circulation, like Brooklyn, to live longer and healthier lives. We are actively collaborating, sharing, and innovating to figure out how best to provide life-saving therapies for Fontan patients.

Fontan Circulation Patient Handbook

As someone who was born with a single ventricle heart, you have special health concerns now. This book was written by Cincinnati Children’s Fontan team for patients who had Fontan heart surgery.

Fontan Resources

For more information about Fontan, see the following resources.   

When you are faced with a lifelong heart condition such as congenital heart disease, it can help to connect with others who get what you’re going through. Support groups offer a way to bring people together to share information. This can also help reduce stress and worry and provide helpful education.

Mended Hearts/Mended Little Hearts
mendedhearts.org

Sisters by Heart
sistersbyheart.org

The Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA)
achaheart.org

Cardiomyopathy

Play Video

 

Tessa’s Journey

Watch what a day in the life is like for 7-year-old HeartWare HVAD patient, Tessa. Tessa has heart failure from cardiomyopathy. Medicines did not work for Tessa, so she received a HeartWare HVAD to help her heart pump blood to her body. This device allows Tessa to wait for her heart transplant. Tessa can play, dance, and go shopping on her VAD!

  Scroll down to explore specific types of Cardiomyopathy.

Cardiotoxicity

Cardiotoxicity is when heart damage is caused by chemicals or medicines, like chemotherapy. When you receive chemotherapy, you are given medicines to kill cancer cells in your body. Sometimes these drugs also hurt the normal cells in and around your heart.

Myocarditis

Myocarditis is when the wall of the heart muscle becomes inflamed, usually due to a viral infection. A severe case can keep your heart from working as it should. 

Myocarditis has many causes:

  • Viruses: Some of these viruses include common colds, including Influenza or Coronavirus.
  • Bacteria: Some of these infections include “staph infections,” “strep infections,” and Lyme disease.
  • Parasites: Some of these include those found in cat poop and insect bites.
  • Fungus: Some of these infections include molds, yeast, and fungi.
  • Allergies: These may be reactions to medications or recreational drugs.
  • Chemicals: This includes reactions to things like radiation, radiotherapy, or other chemicals. 

Muscular Dystrophy

Muscular Dystrophy (MD) is a group of diseases that make muscles become weak over time. If you have MD, it’s likely that you’ll have problems with your heart at some point in your life. In the same way that MD weakens muscles in your body, it can also weaken your heart and lead to cardiomyopathy. This is a condition in which your heart muscle struggles to pump, fill, or beat normally.

Play Video

Christian & Ricky’s Stories

Christian and Ricky have Muscular Dystrophy. Both of their hearts became weakened, and heart medications did not work. They needed something to help them feel better and live longer. They each got a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) to help their weakened hearts pump blood to their bodies. Watch as Christian and Ricky teach you about their HeartMate 3 VAD.

Resources

For more information about Muscular Dystrophy, check out: 
Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy
parentprojectmd.org

Hypertrophic

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is when your heart muscle becomes too thick. This makes it harder for the heart to relax or squeeze properly. The abnormal muscle can sometimes lead to life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms or arrhythmias.

This condition can go undiagnosed because you can often live with it without showing any symptoms.

Cardiotoxicity

Cardiotoxicity is when heart damage is caused by chemicals or medicines, like chemotherapy. When you receive chemotherapy, you are given medicines to kill cancer cells in your body. Sometimes these drugs also hurt the normal cells in and around your heart.

Myocarditis

Myocarditis is when the wall of the heart muscle becomes inflamed, usually due to a viral infection. A severe case can keep your heart from working as it should. 

Myocarditis has many causes:

  • Viruses: Some of these viruses include common colds, including Influenza or Coronavirus.
  • Bacteria: Some of these infections include “staph infections,” “strep infections,” and Lyme disease.
  • Parasites: Some of these include those found in cat poop and insect bites.
  • Fungus: Some of these infections include molds, yeast, and fungi.
  • Allergies: These may be reactions to medications or recreational drugs.
  • Chemicals: This includes reactions to things like radiation, radiotherapy, or other chemicals. 

Muscular Dystrophy

Muscular Dystrophy (MD) is a group of diseases that make muscles become weak over time. If you have MD, it’s likely that you’ll have problems with your heart at some point in your life. In the same way that MD weakens muscles in your body, it can also weaken your heart and lead to cardiomyopathy. This is a condition in which your heart muscle struggles to pump, fill, or beat normally.

Play Video

Christian & Ricky’s Stories

Christian and Ricky have Muscular Dystrophy. Both of their hearts became weakened, and heart medications did not work. They needed something to help them feel better and live longer. They each got a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) to help their weakened hearts pump blood to their bodies. Watch as Christian and Ricky teach you about their HeartMate 3 VAD.

Resources

For more information about Muscular Dystrophy, check out: 
Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy
parentprojectmd.org

Hypertrophic

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is when your heart muscle becomes too thick. This makes it harder for the heart to relax or squeeze properly. The abnormal muscle can sometimes lead to life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms or arrhythmias.

This condition can go undiagnosed because you can often live with it without showing any symptoms.

Other Causes

  Scroll down to explore other causes of heart failure.

Transplant Graft Failure

When you receive a heart transplant, the new donor heart is called a “graft.” Transplanted hearts, or grafts, can develop heart failure over time. This may happen because of coronary artery disease due to chronic or recurrent rejection.

COVID-19

To keep our children and communities safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to stay informed with updated research and medical insights. 

Here’s what we know: Although more common in adults, children can also get the virus that causes COVID-19. Common symptoms may include fever, cough, runny nose, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of smell, or headache. Most COVID-19 infections in children are mild or get better with medical care.

It’s important for all of us to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially among vulnerable child populations. Children and adults can reduce their risk of exposure by wearing a mask in public, social distancing, and washing hands frequently.

Some children and adult patients can experience more serious problems as a result of COVID-19. These include myocarditis or multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C):

  • Myocarditis: Just like other viruses, COVID-19 can cause myocarditis, a rare inflammation of the heart muscle. Symptoms may include chest pain, irregular heart rate, difficulty breathing, loss of appetite, fatigue, and/or swelling in the legs, feet, or ankles. Most children with myocarditis get better with medical care. Contact your care team if you notice myocarditis symptoms. 
  • Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C): Research is starting to show that many children with multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) also have the virus that causes COVID-19, or had been around someone with COVID-19. MIS-C syndrome typically happens less than 2 weeks after a COVID-19 infection. MIS-C is a rare but more serious complication associated with COVID-19 and can even be lethal. MIS-C can affect different body parts and cause inflammation in the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. Most children diagnosed with this condition have gotten better with medical care. If your child is showing any emergency warning signs—including trouble breathing, pain or pressure in the chest that does not go away, new confusion, inability to wake up or stay awake, bluish lips or face, or severe abdominal pain, call 911 or go to the emergency room.

Resources

COVID-19 & VADs: How to Stay Healthy in 2021
How to Wear a Mask like a Health Hero

Transplant Graft Failure

When you receive a heart transplant, the new donor heart is called a “graft.” Transplanted hearts, or grafts, can develop heart failure over time. This may happen because of coronary artery disease due to chronic or recurrent rejection.

COVID-19

To keep our children and communities safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to stay informed with updated research and medical insights. 

Here’s what we know: Although more common in adults, children can also get the virus that causes COVID-19. Common symptoms may include fever, cough, runny nose, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of smell, or headache. Most COVID-19 infections in children are mild or get better with medical care.

It’s important for all of us to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially among vulnerable child populations. Children and adults can reduce their risk of exposure by wearing a mask in public, social distancing, and washing hands frequently.

Some children and adult patients can experience more serious problems as a result of COVID-19. These include myocarditis or multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C):

  • Myocarditis: Just like other viruses, COVID-19 can cause myocarditis, a rare inflammation of the heart muscle. Symptoms may include chest pain, irregular heart rate, difficulty breathing, loss of appetite, fatigue, and/or swelling in the legs, feet, or ankles. Most children with myocarditis get better with medical care. Contact your care team if you notice myocarditis symptoms. 
  • Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C): Research is starting to show that many children with multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) also have the virus that causes COVID-19, or had been around someone with COVID-19. MIS-C syndrome typically happens less than 2 weeks after a COVID-19 infection. MIS-C is a rare but more serious complication associated with COVID-19 and can even be lethal. MIS-C can affect different body parts and cause inflammation in the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. Most children diagnosed with this condition have gotten better with medical care. If your child is showing any emergency warning signs—including trouble breathing, pain or pressure in the chest that does not go away, new confusion, inability to wake up or stay awake, bluish lips or face, or severe abdominal pain, call 911 or go to the emergency room.

Resources

COVID-19 & VADs: How to Stay Healthy in 2021
How to Wear a Mask like a Health Hero

Testing

Your doctor uses several different exams and tests to understand the severity of your condition. This information helps them determine what treatment options are best for you.

  Scroll down to explore specific types of exams and tests your care team may order.

Echocardiogram & Ejection Fraction

Heart failure is often diagnosed using an echocardiogram (or echo). An echo is an ultrasound of the heart that shows how well the four chambers are working. One of the important numbers to determine the function of the heart is called an ejection fraction (or EF%). EF is a calculation of the amount of blood pumped from the left ventricle divided by the total amount of blood that is in the heart. Normal EF is 50-70%, reduced is 40-50%, and low is < 40%. The lower the percent, the more severe the heart failure.

The American Heart Association explains more about Ejection Fraction in their short video. Click here to watch the video. 

Office Visits

Vitals
Your vital signs are VITAL. Your heart rate and heart rhythm can tell you a lot about how your heart is working. A persistently fast heart rate can be a sign that the heart is getting sicker. In heart failure, your blood pressure needs to be just right. High blood pressure can be hard on a failing heart and low blood pressure can make you light-headed and not feel well. 

Physical Exam
Your doctor will perform physical exams to check for signs of worsening heart failure. Your doctor can listen to your heart for extra sounds or leaky valves. They will listen to your lungs and feel your liver in your belly as well as your feet and legs to see if you are holding onto too much fluid.

EKG & Holter Monitor

The EKG shows the electrical conduction through your heart. Sometimes small changes in the EKG can be a sign that a heart is getting sicker. Once in a while, your doctor will ask you to wear a Holter monitor, which is like a portable EKG that can monitor for arrhythmias happening throughout the day.

An exercise test may also be used to look for arrhythmias during exercise. It can also be helpful to check if your heart is strong enough to keep you active.

Labs

There are several blood tests doctors use to diagnose heart failure. Most patients have labs drawn at scheduled times. You may have labs drawn more often if your team feels that you need closer surveillance. 

BNP (Brain Natriuretic Peptide)
BNP is a hormone that is released from your heart and blood vessels when they are working harder for long periods of time. When there is more BNP in the bloodstream, this can indicate that the heart is overworked or stretched.

Renal Panel
A renal panel checks how well the kidneys are working. If they have reduced blood flow because of heart failure, the levels may be elevated.

Liver Function Test
A liver function test checks how well the liver is working. If the liver is congested or has too much blood backing up from the heart, the levels may be elevated.

Cardiac Imaging

X-ray
Cardiac Catheterization
Cardiac Catherization
Previous
Next

Chest X-ray
Chest X-rays can show your doctor if you have any fluid in your lungs that can be caused by heart failure. X-rays can also show changes to the size and shape of your heart. 

Cardiac Catheterization
Your doctor may ask that you undergo a catheterization (or “cath”). A “cath” is a procedure performed while you are sleepy/sedated. A doctor will use a long IV to measure the pressures inside your heart and lungs that you can’t measure with just a blood pressure cuff. A cath will give you a better understanding of how well your blood is moving around your body. The information taken from a “cath” can be very useful in helping your doctor figure out how best to treat your heart failure.

Exercise Stress Test

To see how much physical activity you can do and to check for arrhythmias during exercise, your doctor may ask you to walk up and down the hall, or exercise on a treadmill or bike. 

Echocardiogram & Ejection Fraction

Heart failure is often diagnosed using an echocardiogram (or echo). An echo is an ultrasound of the heart that shows how well the four chambers are working. One of the important numbers to determine the function of the heart is called an ejection fraction (or EF%). EF is a calculation of the amount of blood pumped from the left ventricle divided by the total amount of blood that is in the heart. Normal EF is 50-70%, reduced is 40-50%, and low is < 40%. The lower the percent, the more severe the heart failure.

The American Heart Association explains more about Ejection Fraction in their short video. Click here to watch the video. 

Office Visits

Vitals
Your vital signs are VITAL. Your heart rate and heart rhythm can tell you a lot about how your heart is working. A persistently fast heart rate can be a sign that the heart is getting sicker. In heart failure, your blood pressure needs to be just right. High blood pressure can be hard on a failing heart and low blood pressure can make you light-headed and not feel well. 

Physical Exam
Your doctor will perform physical exams to check for signs of worsening heart failure. Your doctor can listen to your heart for extra sounds or leaky valves. They will listen to your lungs and feel your liver in your belly as well as your feet and legs to see if you are holding onto too much fluid.

EKG & Holter Monitor

The EKG shows the electrical conduction through your heart. Sometimes small changes in the EKG can be a sign that a heart is getting sicker. Once in a while, your doctor will ask you to wear a Holter monitor, which is like a portable EKG that can monitor for arrhythmias happening throughout the day.

An exercise test may also be used to look for arrhythmias during exercise. It can also be helpful to check if your heart is strong enough to keep you active.

Labs

There are several blood tests doctors use to diagnose heart failure. Most patients have labs drawn at scheduled times. You may have labs drawn more often if your team feels that you need closer surveillance. 

BNP (Brain Natriuretic Peptide)
BNP is a hormone that is released from your heart and blood vessels when they are working harder for long periods of time. When there is more BNP in the bloodstream, this can indicate that the heart is overworked or stretched.

Renal Panel
A renal panel checks how well the kidneys are working. If they have reduced blood flow because of heart failure, the levels may be elevated.

Liver Function Test
A liver function test checks how well the liver is working. If the liver is congested or has too much blood backing up from the heart, the levels may be elevated.

Cardiac Imaging

X-ray
Cardiac Catheterization
Cardiac Catherization
Previous
Next

Chest X-ray
Chest X-rays can show your doctor if you have any fluid in your lungs that can be caused by heart failure. X-rays can also show changes to the size and shape of your heart. 

Cardiac Catheterization
Your doctor may ask that you undergo a catheterization (or “cath”). A “cath” is a procedure performed while you are sleepy/sedated. A doctor will use a long IV to measure the pressures inside your heart and lungs that you can’t measure with just a blood pressure cuff. A cath will give you a better understanding of how well your blood is moving around your body. The information taken from a “cath” can be very useful in helping your doctor figure out how best to treat your heart failure.

Exercise Stress Test

To see how much physical activity you can do and to check for arrhythmias during exercise, your doctor may ask you to walk up and down the hall, or exercise on a treadmill or bike.