1. inadequacy of the heart so that as a pump it fails to maintain the circulation of blood, with the result that congestion and edema develop in the tissues; SEE ALSO forward heart failure, backward heart failure, right ventricular failure, left ventricular failure. SYN cardiac failure, cardiac insufficiency, congestive heart failure, myocardial insufficiency. 2. resulting clinical syndromes including shortness of breath, pitting edema, enlarged tender liver, engorged neck veins, and pulmonary rales in various combinations.

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