SCOTT CAMAZINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCOTT CAMAZINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Heart failure. Coloured X-ray of the chest of a 55 year old woman showing an enlarged heart (white, lower centre) due to congestive heart failure. This is a failure of the heart to pump blood efficiently enough to supply the body with the oxygen and nutrients it requires. This leads to fatigue, breathlessness and oedema (accumulation of fluid in body tissues). It is usually a symptom of high blood pressure (hypertension) or a heart disorder. Treatment is with diuretic drugs (which promote urine production, reducing blood pressure) and digitalis drugs (which strengthen the heartbeat). Long-term treatment is aimed at the underlying cause.
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