Congestive heart failure and pneumonia are related in a variety of ways. For example, they share many of the same symptoms and can often be confused because they both look similar on an X-ray. In addition, each condition can cause complications during the treatment of the other. For instance, pneumonia is generally treatable, but those with heart conditions are much more likely to suffer from severe complications. Additionally, those with underlying heart problems can sometimes suffer from a heart attack during pneumonia.
Pneumonia is a condition of the lungs which is characterized by heavy mucus production, coughing, chest pain and heaviness, and trouble breathing. It can be caused by irritation to the lungs, bacterial or viral infections, or sometimes fungi and parasitic infections. Congestive heart failure is a condition in which one or both sides of the heart muscle are not able to effectively pump blood throughout the body. Sometimes this can be caused by a severe and chronic lung condition like emphysema, which has many of the same symptoms of pneumonia.
Both congestive heart failure and pneumonia can cause shortness of breath, heaviness in the chest, chest pain, fatigue, and weakness. Even coughing can be present with both conditions because sometimes heart problems can lead to inflammation and congestion in the lungs due to lack of oxygen in the bloodstream. Doctors must check patients thoroughly to determine the cause of symptoms, and X-rays are not always conclusive.
Heart issues can also cause severe complications in those who have pneumonia. If trouble breathing and lack of oxygen intake is an issue, patients may need to be placed on a ventilator or oxygen machine since this issue can be compounded by an ineffectively pumping heart. Many times the pneumonia is treated first so that patients are healthy enough to undergo the often invasive treatments needed for congestive heart failure.
Patients with congestive heart failure and pneumonia are generally kept in the hospital so that proper care can be given. There are various types of pneumonia, so exact treatments will depend on the source. Heart failure can be treated with a variety of things, including medication or surgery. The overall prognosis for both conditions generally depends on the patient’s age and whether any additional health issues are present.