Banner Health Services  

Heart Failure

Jody Bock  

Jody Bock, RN, is a clinical nurse specialist at Banner Heart Hospital.

Question: My husband was recently diagnosed with heart failure. Is heart failure the same as a heart attack? Also, what are the symptoms of heart failure?

Answer: About 5 million people in the United States have heart failure and that number grows every year.

Heart failure may happen after a heart attack, but it is not the same.  Coronary arteries supply the heart muscle with blood.  If an artery becomes blocked, the heart muscle may be without oxygen for so long that it becomes injured. This injury is known as a heart attack or myocardial infarction.

In heart failure, it is important to first understand that normally, the heart fills with blood and then pumps the blood to all areas in your body.  When the heart muscle is injured, for example by a heart attack, the pump may become weak.  Heart failure and symptoms of heart failure happen when the heart is not able to fill or pump blood normally.

Heart failure can cause many symptoms, but the most common are:

  • Feeling tired with activity that was once easy for you
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling in the feet and ankles. 


Page Last Modified: 09/03/2015
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