Congestive Heart Failure

Essay by l3loodUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, November 2006

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Case study

For the purpose of this case study the patient shall be referred to as John to ensure patient privacy and confidentiality in accordance with the Health Information Privacy Code 1994 (Burgess, 1999). John is an 80-year-old European male. He lives with his wife who is a very supportive person. John has a 20 year history of hypertension. He is an ex-smoker having given up 15 years ago. He has a family history of heart disease, hypertension and cancer. John notices feet and ankle swelling. He wakes up in the middle of the night with acute shortness of breath. He feels tired most of the time. John's medical diagnosis is Congestive heart failure.

Congestive heart failure is a common syndrome in older adults and occurs in approximately 7% to 10% of people 80 years and older (Resnick, 2004). "Congestive heart failure is a pathophysiologic condition in which the heart is unable to generate an adequate cardiac output such that there is inadequate perfusion of tissues, and/or increased diastolic filling pressure of the left ventricle, such that pulmonary capillary pressures are increased" (Brashers, 2002, p.53).

Congestive heart failure is actually a complication of other cardiovascular conditions rather than a disease in itself. It is associated with numerous types of heart disease, particularly with coronary artery disease and long-standing hypertension ( Lewis, Dirksen & Heitkemper, 2004). Any factor that puts a continuous strain on the heart by increasing its work, decreasing its ability to contract and hindering or altering the flow of blood within its chambers can cause congestive heart failure (Pinneo, 1995).

John's history of hypertension and his age predispose him to congestive heart failure. Hypertension is a major contributing factor, increasing the risk of congestive heart failure three times (Lewis et al., 2004). The most common risk...