Information for the public

The condition

The condition

Heart failure means the heart does not pump enough blood to meet all the needs of the body, usually because the heart muscle has been damaged. Symptoms include breathlessness due to fluid building up in your lungs, swollen legs, difficulty doing exercise, tiredness and feeling generally unwell. Acute heart failure is when the symptoms develop very quickly. Treatment usually involves a combination of drugs, devices (such as a pacemaker), a left ventricular assist device or surgery to help the heart pump properly.

NHS Choices ( may be a good place to find out more.

NICE has looked at using ECMO as another treatment option. Click on to the next page to find out more.

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