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Some Common Clinical Signs of Heart Failure

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute
  • Peripheral or sacral edema

  • Increased jugular venous pressure

  • Dilated left ventricle

  • Hepato-jugular reflux

  • Weak peripheral perfusion

  • Cool, pale extremities

  • Jugular venous distension (JVD)

  • Elevated central venous pressure

  • Hepatomegaly

  • Jaundice

  • Liver tenderness

 note: Edema caused by CHF is always "pitting", that is, if you press the swollen tissue with your finger, you will leave an imprint




On auscultation, listen for abnormal heart and lung sounds such as:

  • Pulmonary crackles due fluid in the lungs

  • Heart murmurs due to damaged valves

  • Rapid pulse

  • S3 gallup