What tests or investigations are required for diagnosing heart failure?

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Well diagnosis of heart failure obviously requires a medical professionals help, however trying to know how the things work is probably of no harm.

So here we start. When ever we talk about heart we generally think of an ecg probably. Although an ecg may not directly let you know if you have a heart failure or not, but it definitely would identify few of the causes of heart failure like an irregular heart rhythm or a heart attack, which are some of the prime causes of heart failure. Therefore, it’s worthy to do an ecg.

Next, is a chest xray. A xray can show a large cardiac shadow, which too may provide hints towards certain causes of heart failure like long standing hypertension or a dilated cardiomyopathy. In addition to this, chest xray is a good indicator of a chest problem called pulmonary edema. Pulmonary edema is not uncommon in heart failure. Pulmonary edema is a condition in which excess water accumulates in lung tissue because of inability of heart to pump blood.

Another important test is echocardiography.  Such test shows the heart’s functioning and various measurement parameters. It particularly determines a parameter called ejection fraction. Ejection fraction is helpful to determine the amount of blood which is to be ejected in each pumping attempt of the heart.

Heart’s  pumping abilities can also be judged by certain nuclear scans too.

In the next post we shall look into the ways how we can manage heart failure.

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