Heart failure doesn't mean the heart has stopped working, but that it just isn't able to pump enough blood to meet the needs of the body.
This happens when the heart muscle itself is weaker than normal or when there is a heart defect preventing blood from circulating.
When the heart does not circulate blood normally, the kidneys receive less blood and filter less
fluid out of circulation into the urine. Extra fluid in the circulation builds up in the lungs, the liver,
around the eyes, and sometimes the legs. This results in fluid "congestion," which is why doctors
call this "congestive heart failure".
Older children with congestive heart failure may be tired and have problems keeping up with their friends
on the playground, while infants with congestive heart failure usually have symptoms during feeding
including sweating, fast breathing and fatigue. In addition, these infants may not gain weight well.
Fluid may also build up in the rest of the body, causing swelling of the feet, the legs or around the eyes.
Talk to a doctor about your care or any questions you have.