Causes of high-output heart failure

High-output heart failure occurs when the normally functioning heart cannot keep up with the dramatically increased demand for blood flow to one or more organs in the body. Although a number of conditions can cause the increased demand for blood and oxygen that results in high-output heart failure, overall, high-output failure is not a common cause of heart failure. The table below outlines the causes.

Causes of high-output heart failure

Cause

What is it?

How does it cause high-output heart failure?

Severe anemia Blood contains too few oxygen-carrying red blood cells Requires the heart to pump more blood each minute to deliver enough oxygen to the tissues of the body
Hyperthyroidism Thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone Increases the body’s overall metabolism, thus increasing the demand for blood flow
Arteriovenous fistula An abnormal connection between an artery and a vein Short-circuits the circulation and forces the heart to pump more blood overall to deliver the usual amount of blood to the vital organs
Beriberi

Deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B1)

Leads to increased metabolic demand and increased need for blood flow
Paget’s disease Abnormal breakdown and regrowth of bones, which develop an excessive amount of blood vessels Increased number of blood vessels requires increased cardiac output

Last Updated: August 25, 2008

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