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Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure

Some of your child’s symptoms may depend on whether the left side, right side or both sides of the heart are affected.

These are common symptoms of congestive heart failure in babies:

  • Having a fast heartbeat and fast breathing
  • Working hard to breathe when feeding (which causes trouble feeding and gaining weight)
  • Being restless or irritable
  • Sweating more than normal

Young children with heart failure tend to have problems with breathing too fast, getting short of breath and tiring easily. These problems tend to get worse when the child is more active.

Children may have these symptoms, too:

  • Edema, or swelling, in the ankles or abdomen
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Lightheadedness

Congestive Heart Failure Diagnosis

To diagnose this condition, your doctor will examine your child, use a stethoscope to listen to their heart, and check their breathing and blood pressure.

The doctor will ask for details about your child’s symptoms, their health history and your family health history.

Chest X-rays and echocardiography can provide more information about how your child’s heart looks and works.

To tell what caused your child’s heart failure, the doctor may want also need to do other procedures, like an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of their heart, electrocardiogram, or cardiac catheterization.

Who Treats This at Seattle Children's?

Should your child see a doctor?

Find out by selecting your child’s symptom or health condition in the list below:

Spring 2014: Good Growing Newsletter

In This Issue

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  • Bystanders Can Intervene to Stop Bullying

Download Spring 2014 (PDF)