Heart Failure


Heart failure is a condition that can be chronic, with symptoms developing slowly over time, or it can be acute, meaning symptoms start suddenly. Adults and children can also have different symptoms.

Heart failure symptoms in adults

When heart failure develops gradually, it can at first be difficult to diagnose. In adults, symptoms of early-stage heart failure are similar to those of many other medical conditions. For example, you may feel more fatigued and out of breath, unable to do as much as before. As a result, you may first assume these are just signs of aging. With acute heart failure, the symptoms happen quickly and require immediate hospitalization.

Symptoms of heart failure in adults include the following:

  • Shortness of breath (including shortness of breath while lying down flat)
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Swelling (edema) in legs, ankles, and feet
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Arrhythmias (heart rhythm problems)
  • Coughing or wheezing, sometimes accompanied by pink blood-tinged mucus
  • A need to urinate at night
  • Confusion or difficulty thinking
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Loss of appetite and/or nausea


Girl having Chest pain

Heart failure symptoms in children

Children with heart failure typically have structural problems with the heart or the heart’s arteries that prevent the heart muscle from pumping blood efficiently, or they have developed heart muscle damage from a viral infection. Structural problems with the heart are present at birth and are referred to as congenital heart disease.

Symptoms of heart failure in babies and children include the following:

    Failure to grow or gain weight in babies Fatigue during exercise in older children Shortness of breath Swelling in legs, ankles, and feet Abdominal swelling Lack of appetite Nausea