Swelling of feet
Swelling of feet is a very common symptom of patients with heart problem. It can also be due to various other reasons, such as kidney problem. However, it commonly occurs in patients with heart disease. Patients start to see this developing gradually over a period of weeks to months. Initially, it happens at the end of the day, but when this gets ignored, it will progress to occur during morning as well. So it is important that patient seeks an opinion of a cardiologist at the earliest to assess the heart.
The main cardiac reason for swelling of feet is heart failure. Heart failure is a term used when your heart is not pumping blood, as it should be. The heart has 2 pumping chambers, called ventricle- right and left. When any one of the pumping chambers is not functioning well, you can develop swelling of feet. The Cardiologist will do a battery of tests to find out the reason for the heart dysfunction.
One of the commonest reasons for dysfunction of heart is coronary artery disease, which is due to blockages in the small arteries supplying the heart muscle. This can be diagnosed by doing a coronary angiogram, which will identify the blockages for the cardiologist to decide on further management. In most situations, the blockages can be treated by a procedure called Percutanoeus coronary angioplasty (PCI), commonly known as angioplasty with stent insertion. This will improve the blood supply to the heart muscle, thereby improving the functioning of heart.
There are also other cardiac reasons for heart failure, such as cardiomyopathy (heart muscle dysfunction), valve dysfunction, uncontrolled hypertension, and use of excess alcohol- all of which can lead to swelling of heart. In selected group of patients, who have irreversible heart failure, a special pacemaker called biventricular pacemaker (also called as CRT) can improve symptoms. If no other treatment options available for patients with heart failure, they can have heart transplant, to improve the quality of life.