If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:4:57

Video transcript

so left-sided heart failure means that the left side of your heart isn't pumping enough blood as it should right since the left side of your heart pumps blood to your body whereas your right side pumps blood to your lungs the symptoms are going to be a little different for heart failure on the left side versus the right side and we can even further divide those symptoms of left-sided heart failure into two categories and the first one is forward failure and the second one is backward failure so we're talking about forward failure we're saying that the heart is failing to pump enough blood out from the heart or forward so the first thing kind of for most symptom one of the big pieces of heart failure is tiredness and fatigue so let's really quick review how blood moves around usually it comes into the left side and then your left side pumps it out to the body and that blood has oxygen because your body needs oxygen right so your heart's pumping the blood out to your body to give it oxygen then your body uses it up and gives it back to the right side of the heart where it pumps it to the lungs and then that blood goes back in to the left side and that whole process repeats so since your left side isn't pumping enough blood enough oxygenated blood or blood with oxygen to your body your body's going to feel fatigued and tired because it's not getting enough oxygen right and because your whole body every cell in your body needs oxygen to kind of survive so if it's not getting enough oxygen you're going to feel tired you're going to feel fatigued and this again is one of the hallmark symptoms of decompensated or kind of late-stage heart failure so a second symptom of forward failure is a decrease in urine production that sounds kind of weird why would it do that well since your body's having trouble receiving enough blood because that left side is not pumping enough blood out it tries to keep or hold on to the fluid to increase the amount of blood in your body usually any extra fluid will just be taken up by your kidneys and eliminated through your urine right but now your body's like we need more blood so I'm going to hold on to this fluid and so your urine production goes down finally another symptom of forward failures or rapid or irregular heartbeat and sometimes we can call these palpitations where it feels like your heart is suddenly racing really fast or even beating really hard and when this seems inconsistent either when the heart rate is beating too fast and then too slow and then too fast or maybe it's beating really hard all of a sudden we might call that irregular that it's this irregular heartbeat and sometimes I can even feel like a beat was skipped the reason this is happening is because the heart's trying to compensate for a lowered pumping ability so the heart's beating faster and harder to try to increase the amount of blood that's sent out to your body okay so those were the symptoms that are caused by this inability to pump enough blood forward or out but you can also have symptoms that are caused by this backward failure and when we say backward failure we mean that the heart isn't able to receive enough blood into the heart and you start to get this like backup of blood and so most of the time kind of manifests as symptoms of congestion or fluid buildup and it's also why we sometimes call a congestive heart failure so let's think about this fluid comes from your lungs to your heart but if your heart's not pumping effectively it's not pumping enough blood out that Bloods going to start to get backed up right think of it like a traffic jam so all of a sudden there's this one lane for all the cars to get through and so there ends up being this huge line of cars that gets backed up it's sort of like the same thing with fluid being backed up and where does that blood get backed up to well since it's coming from the lungs it makes sense that it gets backed up to the lungs and this is sometimes called pulmonary edema since that Bloods being backed up into the pulmonary portion of your circulatory system which is also your lungs and the edema just refers to fluid buildup so the first backward failure symptom or congestive symptom is this difficulty breathing so since this fluids being backed up into your lungs it can fill into these alveoli which are the parts of your lungs that help exchange oxygen and since those are filling up with fluid instead of air it's going to make it a lot more difficult to breathe and along those same lines you might start to cough up this pink or foamy mucus since that fluids filling into the lungs when it's definitely not supposed to be your body tries to clear those lungs Airways by coughing by coughing up the fluid and sometimes that fluid may be tinged pink because that blood is backing up into the lungs these two symptoms might even get worse at night or while you're laying down since now the fluids working less against gravity than it was when you're standing up and those coughing fits or difficulty breathing might get worse while you're trying to sleep finally some patients may notice that they're gaining weight this is for the same reasons that we just mentioned so the body is holding on to more fluid right so your body's going to have all this extra fluid weight and that's going to be reflected in this increase in weight gain