About Heart Failure :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

About Heart Failure

Heart failure means that the heart’s ability to squeeze is weaker than normal. As a result, the heart works less efficiently and can not pump enough oxygen and nutrients to meet the body’s needs.

Reasons for heart failure may include:

  • Complex congenital heart disease with no option of surgical repair

  • Complex congenital heart disease where surgical repair has failed

  • Cardiomyopathy or weakness of the heart muscle

Before heart transplant is considered, children and adults with heart failure may be managed with many medications. These medications work together to optimize heart function. It is important to take these medications as ordered and to watch for signs and symptoms of heart failure. Please notify your doctor or nurse with any signs of heart failure.

Signs of heart failure include:

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Sweating with bottle feedings

  • Decreased appetite and/or bottle feedings

  • Poor weight gain

  • Fast breathing

  • Decreased activity

  • Swelling of lower legs and/or abdomen

  • Nausea/Vomiting/Diarrhea

  • Inability to sleep laying flat

Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000