My Marvellous Big Pocket Guide to Heart Failure

They say good things come in small packages, we think that this is a marvellous example.

Our pocket guide will provide you with some initial information, answers, support, and give examples of how you can live life well with a diagnosis of heart failure. This “Marvellous Pocket Guide” is as a result of the experience gained by our marvellous team of patients here at The Pumping Marvellous Foundation who started just like you, with a diagnosis of heart failure.

What does the heart do?

The heart is an organ that acts as a pump to send blood around the body. Your blood contains oxygen and nutrients that are needed by every part of your body in order to function. Clench your two fists together and that’s about its size; it sits in the centre of your chest tipping down to your left-hand side. It has different layers (one of which is made of muscle), so the heart can squeeze the blood out. It is told when to pump by a nerve that triggers the heart’s own electric system.

The heart delivers the blood via arteries and it is then returned via veins. Think of it as a motorway system. The diagram shows the inside of the heart. It is made up of four chambers: on the right-hand side, blood returns from having delivered oxygen around the body by the veins (a motorway), the heart then sends the blood to the lungs (petrol station), picks up oxygen and returns to the left side of the heart which then delivers the blood to the body via arteries (another motorway). Note from the diagram the little gates letting the blood move from one chamber to another; these are called valves. Every time this occurs, it is called a beat.

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