Heart and Blood Conditions

Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms and Diagnosis

  • Schedule an appointment +

    • For appointments in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, Federal Way, Olympia, Tri-Cities and Wenatchee, call 206-987-2515.
    • For appointments in Tacoma and Silverdale, call 253-272-1812.
    • For appointments in Alaska, call 907-339-1945.

    If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

  • Find a doctor +

  • Locations +

    • Seattle Children's Main Campus: 206-987-2515
    • Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center: 425-454-4644
    • Everett: 425-304-6080
    • South Clinic in Federal Way: 253-838-5878
    • Olympia: 360-459-5009
    • South Sound Cardiology Clinics: 253-272-1812
    • Tri-Cities (Richland): 509-946-0976
    • Wenatchee: 509-662-9266
    • Pediatric Cardiology of Alaska: 907-339-1945
    • Seattle Children's doctors provide many cardiac services at regional sites throughout the Pacific Northwest. See our complete list of Heart Center locations.

  • Refer a patient +

    • If you are a provider, fax a New Appointment Request Form (NARF) (PDF) (DOC) to 206-985-3121 or 866-985-3121 (toll-free).
    • No pre-referral work-up is required for most conditions. If you have already done testing such as an EKG, Holter monitor or echocardiogram, please fax this information as well as relevant clinic notes and the NARF to 206-985-3121 or 866-985-3121 (toll-free).
    • Your patient will be seen as quickly as possible by the provider who is the best match for managing the current problem.
    • View our complete Heart Center Referral Information (PDF).

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 with 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:

  • Edema, or swelling, in the ankles or abdomen (stomach)
  • 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, echocardiogram 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 also need to do other procedures, such as an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of their heart, or a cardiac catheterization.

Contact Us

Contact the Heart Center at 206-987-2015 for a cardiac referral, a second opinion or more information.