Congestive heart failure, or CHF, describes any condition where the heart beats regularly but is unable to pump enough blood to the rest of the body. This is as opposed to cardiac arrest, where the heart stops beating entirely. It can be the result of several conditions, such as congestion of the arteries, abnormalities of the heart, abnormalities of the arteries and veins around the heart, or a general weakness of the heart muscle.
CHF is difficult to diagnose, usually requiring an echocardiogram and electrocardiogram to detect abnormalities in the heartbeat, combined with symptoms that indicate that the patient is not getting enough blood. Sometimes, only one side of the body is affected, but at other times both are.
Treatment depends on the progression of the disease. In many cases, lifestyle changes such as weight loss and stopping smoking will suffice, but in cases where the heart is damaged, only a heart transplant will be an effective treatment.