Congestive heart failure is diagnosed over 650,000 times per year, affecting a total of 6 million Americans. CHF is a condition where the heart is weak and is not pumping enough blood out to the body. Many things can cause CHF like heart attacks, cardiomyopathy, and conditions that could possibly overwork the heart. Some signs and symptoms would include congested lungs, fluid and water retention, fatigue, dizziness, weakness, tachycardia, and irregular heart beats. CHF can happen during the diastolic phase, systolic phase or both.
Physical therapy can be beneficial to people suffering from congestive heart failure. These patients would be weak (maybe have some muscular atrophy) from lying in a hospital bed. The goals for physical therapy would be gaining strength and endurance, increasing blood flow, and improve overall function. Some different types of training could be done with free weights such as dumbbells or resistances bands. Interval training on a stationary bike or walking treadmill would be ideal for increasing endurance as tolerated. The therapist needs to be aware of symptoms like coughing leg swelling, confusion, and hypotension. If these occur the patient needs to stop therapy and rest until vitals return to normal. While PT may help a patient with their symptoms it will not cure this disease.