How your heart works

To help better understand heart failure, it is important to understand how the heart works.

The heart is a hollow muscle about the size of your fist. It pumps oxygen rich blood with nutrients throughout your body. The heart has four chambers: two at the top, called atria, and two at the bottom, called ventricles. The heart is divided into right and left sides. The right side receives blood from the body and pumps the blood to the lungs where the blood oxygen content is increased. This blood is then pumped out to the rest of the body by the left side of the heart to provide oxygen rich blood to your brain, organs, muscles and skin.

When you have heart failure, your heart is unable to pump enough blood forward to satisfy your body’s requirements. Also, blood that should be pumped out of the heart may back up into other organs or tissues causing congestion in your lungs, stomach, liver, intestines or legs.

Healthy Heart

Heart Failure

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CHFN Annual General Meeting during the CCC in October 2012