Harvard Heart Letter

Ask the doctor: Checking for blocked arteries in heart failure?

Ask the doctor

blocked arteries in heart failure
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Q. If I have heart failure, should I be tested for blockages in my heart arteries?

A. Heart failure happens when the heart fails to pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. The main symptoms are shortness of breath, swollen legs, and fatigue. Heart failure can result from a range of conditions that overwork or damage the heart muscle, including chronic high blood pressure, a virus, or heart valve disease. But the most common one is coronary artery disease, which stems from a buildup of fatty plaque lining the vessels that supply the heart.

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