Congestive heart failure may be defined as nonefficient pumping of the heart. This inefficiency in pumping the heart leads to an increase in the size of the heart and an increase in the heart rate. This increase in heart size and heart rate result because of the heart's attempt to compensate for the poor efficiency in pumping blood to other parts of the body. Consequently, the kidneys improperly function. Improperly functioning kidneys result in edema of the extremities due to improper excretion (removal) of sodium and waste products in the urine. If a patient's congestive heart failure becomes acute, he may have pulmonary edema due to poor kidney function.
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