Heart failure occurs when there is a decrease in the ability of that organ to pump blood. It commonly occurs in clients who have had high blood pressure or coronary heart disease for several years. The heart may enlarge. The result is that fluid accumulates in the lungs, and this leads to difficulty breathing [1, 2].
These patients may sit up at night to alleviate the shortness of breath, and they may prop their heads with one or more pillows. Such a situation has the name “orthopnea,” and physicians often describe the severity of the illness by the number of pillows they use to obtain relief. These clients may have swelling of the feet and ankles, and this stems from the abnormal accumulation of fluid [1, 2].
Other names for this illness include congestive heart failure, cardiac failure, left-sided heart failure, and right-sided heart failure .