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what is congestive heart failure

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a chronic progressive condition that affects the pumping power of your heart muscles. While often referred to simply as “heart failure,” CHF specifically refers to the stage in which fluid builds up around the heart and causes it to pump inefficiently.

You have four heart chambers. The upper half of your heart has two atria, and the lower half of your heart has two ventricles. The ventricles pump blood to your body’s organs and tissues, and the atria receive blood from your body as it circulates back from the rest of your body.

CHF develops when your ventricles can’t pump blood in sufficient volume to the body. Eventually, blood and other fluids can back up inside your:

lungs
abdomen
liver
lower body
CHF can be life-threatening. If you suspect you or someone near you has CHF, seek immediate medical treatment.