Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive Heart Failure Specialist
Using state-of-the-art technologies, the leading team of cardiologist at Chinatown Cardiology, with locations in the Chinatown section of New York City and Brooklyn and Flushing, New York, diagnose cardiovascular conditions with unparalleled expertise.

Congestive Heart Failure Q & A

What is congestive heart failure?

Congestive heart failure is a weakening or stiffening of the heart muscle that prevents it from pumping enough blood to support the body’s needs. When this occurs, fluid build ups up in the body, which is also hard on the kidneys. Congestive heart failure can be caused by a number of different conditions and issues, such as: a narrowing of the arteries of the heart, high blood pressure, heart muscle damage (cardiomyopathy), an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia), or a congenital heart defect.

What are the symptoms of congestive heart failure?

A medical evaluation should be sought for anyone experiencing:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling of legs, ankles or feet
  • A rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Persistent wheezing and coughing up pink mucus
  • Increased need to urinate at night
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Weight gain from fluid retention
  • Decreased appetite
  • Nausea
  • Chest pain, if heart failure is caused by a heart attack or angina

How is congenital heart disease diagnosed at Chinatown Cardiology?

Our experienced doctors have superior diagnostic expertise and access to the latest equipment, to help them determine the underlying cause and the best course of treatment for every patient. These tests include:

  • An electrocardiogram (EKG). This is a quick and easy non-invasive procedure that uses electrodes placed on the chest, arms, and legs to interpret electrical activity of the heart. Each heartbeat is accompanied by an electrical signal that spreads from the top of the heart to the bottom.  As the signal travels, it causes the heart to contract and pump blood. EKG recordings give the doctor information about how the heart works; including: heart rate, regularity of heartbeats, size and position of the chambers, presence of any damage to the heart, and effects of drugs or devices used to regulate the heart. Certain congenitally, or acquired abnormal electrical pathways may cause arrhythmia.
  • Holter monitor (ambulatory electrocardiography device). This is a portable device for continuous monitoring of electrical activity of the cardiovascular system over a period of 12 or 48 hours. The extended recording is useful for observing occasional cardiac arrhythmias that are difficult to identify on an electrocardiogram, or for recording certain abnormalities that only occur during certain activities like sleeping or physical activities.  Arrhythmias are problems with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat.
  • An echocardiogram. This is a simple diagnostic procedure that uses sound waves (echoes) to produce images of the heart, to evaluate its size and shape, pumping capacity, location and extent of any tissue damage.  
  • Stress tests. A stress test measures how your heart performs under different levels of stress. Making your heart work harder makes it easier for your doctor to diagnose problems. At Chinatown Cardiology, heart stimulation is either provided by exercising on a treadmill or injection of intravenous vasodilators.The latter is used when medical problems prevent a person from being able to complete the necessary exercise; this is called a pharmacologic stress test.
  • Cardiac catheterization.  A cardiac catheterization entails the insertion of a long, thin, flexible tube into the blood vessel either in your arm or in the groin and passed through to the neck.  This catheter allows the doctor access to perform procedures on the heart, such as an angioplasty. In a typical coronary angiography, a contrast dye is used to observe the flow through the blood vessels to make the arteries visible via x-ray images. This procedure helps detect coronary heart disease, a condition in which plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries, causing narrowing and blockages.
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