Cardiac decompensation: symptoms and treatments

Cardiac decompensation is a serious complication of heart failure. This last pathology affects millions of people and requires millions of hospitalizations per year. Among the latter, there are a large number of decompensations. And for good reason, without rapid care, the prognosis of this vital emergency remains bleak.

What is cardiac decompensation?

Cardiac decompensation is a serious complication of heart failure. That is why we talk about decompensated acute heart failure. It is triggered when the body can no longer compensate for heart muscle failures.

Heart failure results in the inability of the myocardium to ensure blood flow is large enough to oxygenate all the organs of the body. Shortness of breath, fatigue, edema of certain parts of the body (veins of the neck, legs, liver …), weight gain, palpitations, and low blood pressure are the main symptoms of the disease.

In case of decompensation, all the symptoms mentioned above will suddenly worsen. This vital emergency is usually related to a lack of medical follow-up of patients with heart failure (sometimes without even knowing it).

What causes cardiac decompensation?

A complication of heart failure

Cardiac decompensation is a complication of heart failure. The latter is a consequence of ventricular failure.

The symptoms of heart failure and its decompensation differ depending on the affected ventricle (right or left) and the severity of the loss of effectiveness of this ventricle. Note that sometimes, it is the entire heart that is affected (both ventricles).

Ischemic heart disease (such as myocardial infarction and angina) is the leading cause of heart failure. High blood pressure ranks second on the podium of heart failure factors.

There are also rarer etiologies such as rhythm and cardiac conduction disorders, abnormalities of the heart valves (valvulopathies), heart muscle diseases (or cardiomyopathy), lung diseases, or diseases with cardiac repercussions (hyperthyroidism, atherosclerosis, diabetes, lupus).

Risk factors for decompensation

In the case of heart failure, certain triggering factors can explain its decompensation:

  • Non-adherence to treatment;
  • a deviation in speed;
  • infection (including pulmonary);
  • hypertensive flare-up
  • myocardial ischemia
  • anemia
  • rhythm or conduction disorders;
  • the recent introduction of negative inotropic therapy, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug;
  • worsening of renal failure;
  • pregnancy;
  • pulmonary embolism
  • exacerbation of respiratory failure.

In addition, failure to correct risk factors for heart failure is a factor that promotes its decompensation:

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