Section of the human heart - Heart failure

Section of the human heart - Heart failure
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A longitudinal crossection of the human heart meant to illustrate (congestive) heart failure.

Visible anatomical structures: Thoracic aorta, superior and inferior vena cava, pulmonary arteries and veins, atria, ventircles, heart valves, myocardium, pericardium,

In (congestive) heart failure the heart muscle is no longer normally active which leads to residual blood remaining inside the ventricles (here not pictured) which leads to enlargement of the ventricles. This can lead to bulging and enlargement of the heart.

Heart failure means, that the heart no longer has sufficient fuction, caused by reductuin of the pumping capability of the myocardium.

Heart failure is classified in severity after the New York Heart Association into four clinical grades, NYHA 1 - 4.

A rougher classification is:

  • Compensated heart failure: Symptoms only in case of exertion
  • Decompensated heart failure: Syptoms while resting

Depending on which part of the heart is affected, the following forms are further differentiated:

  • Right heart failure
  • Left heart failure
  • Global hear failure (both right and left ventricle are affected)

Clinically acute and chronic heart failure are differentiated.


Pathology: Chronical heart failure is most often caused by a reduction of the contractile heart muscle tissue.

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 - Uploaded at 24.12.2010
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