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Clinical features

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

The clinical features of heart failure include symptoms such as:

  • most common symptoms are:
    • breathlessness
    • exertional
    • at rest - can be orthopnoea and paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnoea (PND)
    • fatigue
    • exercise intolerance
    • fluid retention - ankle swelling
  • other non specific symptoms include:
    • nocturia
    • anorexia
    • abdominal bloating and discomfort
    • constipation,
    • cerebral symptoms - confusion, dizziness and memory impairment (1)

signs such as:

  • tachycardia
  • displaced apex beat
  • third heart sound
  • gallop rhythm
  • reduced pulse volume
  • pulsus alternans
  • raised JVP –
    • in right heart failure
    • has a high predictive value in the diagnosis
    • but is often absent
  • oedema
  • rales, or basal crepitations
  • hepatomegaly
  • ascites (2)


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