If you have heart failure

related questions, please

feel free to ask

Question Submitted!

Your question has been added to our database. Questions are reviewed in the order received. Should your question receive an answer, you will receive an email at the address provided - if you did not provide an email address you will have to check back periodically.

Please do not submit dupilcate questions or contact us regarding the status of your question. We do our best to answer as many questions as possible but unfortunately we are unable to answer every single question that is submitted.

If you have an urgent health matter or require medical advice from a physician please contact your primary care provider or local hospital.


Email This Page
Print Friendly

Questions and Answers
Name: Location: Email: Question:

Have a heart failure related question for our physicians?  Use the form above to submit your question – your name, email address, and location are all optional.  Please note if your question is answered that your first name and location will be displayed on the answer unless you specify otherwise.  Your email address will never be shared and is kept completely confidential.  You will be notified via email, should you choose to provide it, if your question is chosen to be answered.

Print Friendly

There are currently 21 answered questions available, displayed from newest to oldest.

Showing 21-21 of 21

Question asked by Meredith from Daytona, OH
My father is 69 years old and has weighed 375 lbs at 6’8″ most of his adult life. He has had diabetes since he was 50 years old and Congestive Heart Failure for some time. On July 1st, 2011 he had valve replacement surgery of his mitral and aortic valves. What is strange is that, other than fluid buildup in his abdomen and lower extremities, he was never short of breath before surgery. Now he is, he cannot lay flat at all or is gasping for air, and he is still gaining fluid weight. If the valves were not the underlying cause, or only one underlying cause of the CHF, what else could be going on? He is severely anemic, with 8.0 hemo. They could not find a reason for this without a bone marrow test as nothing else appears as an obvious cause. Should we be pursuing the anemia solution to attack the CHF?
Answered by Dr. Brian Jaski

Shortness of breath while lying flat, orthopnea, is a common finding of congestive heart failure associated with high fluid pressures behind the left ventricle.  Whereas standing tends to keep excess fluid in the extremities by gravity–lying down can allow this fluid to return to the central circulation including the lungs.  Surgically repairing a mitral and aortic valve may help with the reduction of pressure by pumping blood out of the lungs by the left ventricle, but paradoxically, especially when repairing a leaking mitral valve, previously present cardiac remodeling or hypertrophy may be unmasked by the removal of the “pop off” valve when the heart ejects blood.This impaired state will reduce the efficiency at which the blood pumps out of the ventricle. So, even though the valves have been repaired the ventricle itself may not be able to work as a proper pump to push the blood into the vascular system.

Even in the absence of heart failure, peripheral edema can be caused by obesity and stretched venous valves. Additionally, severe anemia contributes to the feeling of being short of breath due to lack of oxygen especially in combination with your father’s obesity.  At this time, if possible, your father may do best to take heart failure medication, correct his anemia, and lose weight.

Print Friendly