Ask the Doctors: Congestive Heart Failure

Dr-WheatQ: What Causes Congestive Heart Failure?

A: Nearly six million Americans are affected by congestive heart failure (CHF), and it is the leading cause of hospitalization in people age 65 and older.* “Heart failure does not mean the heart has stopped working,” said Michael Wheat, M.D. “What it means is that the heart is not pumping blood adequately through the body.”

Dr. Wheat went on to explain that CHF is caused by a number of conditions that damage the heart muscle. “The most common causes of CHF are heart attacks, which damage the heart muscle, and untreated high blood pressure.”

Dr. Wheat also said CHF can be the result of damage to the heart muscle from causes other than artery or blood-flow problems (cardiomyopathy) such as valve disease, thyroid disease, kidney disease, diabetes or congenital birth defects.

Dr. Wheat is a member of the medical staff at Porter Regional Hospital. He is board certified in Internal Medicine, fellowship trained in Cardiology and Cardiac MRI/CT, and is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Wheat at Northwest Indiana Cardiovascular Physicians, call 219-531-9419.

* Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention