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Question:

Are my symptoms early signs of CHF?

I am a 44-year-old white female with a history of WPW (Wolff-Parkinson-White) type A syndrome, arrhythmia treated x2 by ablation in October 2009 and then again 6 months later. I have recently been told that I may have 3 murmurs in 4 of my valves. I had been developing swelling in both lower legs, extremely elevated heart rates with going up stairs or walking, and got a coworker to do an EKG on me. That was where my WPW was first noted. I had spent time in the hospital for chest pains, got an echo, a stress test and ran into my nurse friend that took care of me and I had told her that they finally found out that I had WPW type A syndrome and her response was yes, we knew that when you were in the hospital. However, I was never notified of that at any time until it was verified by subsequent EKG heart monitor.
My question is I had been using Lasix 40mg as needed to keep the fluid off my legs because without the Lasix, I got symptoms of SOB (Shortness of Breath) and heart pounding at a high rate in my throat with climbing stairs. So I am now having to use the Lasix daily. I do not add salt to my diet. My great grandfather and grandmother on my mother’s side had CHF (Congestive Heart Failure). Do you feel that I have early symptoms of CHF? I looked at the American Heart Association and out of 7 of the early signs, I have 4 of them. My doctors says it is my weight causing these symptoms. I fluctuate weight gain and loss when I am on Lasix and off Lasix. I am an LVN of 15 years and working 12 hour shifts. Thank you.

Submitted by Ellen from Texas on 09/10/2014

Answer:
by Jorge F. Guttin, MD    

It is indeed likely that you may have some form of CHF. I do not know the diagnosis of your heart murmurs or the strength or “stiffness” of your heart, nor the degree of excess weight. Having the symptoms you mention, Lasix 40mg daily may indeed help, although you need to attend to the other problems you describe with your local cardiologist.