13 Heart Failure Nursing Care Plans

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In this nursing care plan guide are 13 NANDA nursing diagnosis for heart failure. Learn about the nursing interventions and assessment cues for heart failure including the goals, defining characteristics and related factors for each nursing diagnosis.

Heart failure (HF) or Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is a physiologic state in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the metabolic needs of the body.

Heart failure results from changes in the systolic or diastolic function of the left ventricle. The heart fails when, because of intrinsic disease or structural it cannot handle a normal blood volume or, in absence of disease, cannot tolerate a sudden expansion in blood volume. Heart failure isa progressive and chronic condition that is managed by significant lifestyle changes and adjunct medical therapy to improve quality of life. Heart failure is caused from a variety of cardiovascular conditions such as chronic hypertension, coronary artery disease, and valvular disease.

Heart failure is not a disease itself, instead, the term refers to a clinical syndrome characterized by manifestations of volume overload, inadequate tissue perfusion, and poor exercise tolerance. Whatever the cause, pump failure results in hypoperfusion of tissues, followed by pulmonary and systemic venous congestion.

Clinical Manifestations

The signs and symptoms of heart failure are defined based on which ventricle is affected — left-sided heart failure causes a different set of manifestations than right-sided heart failure.

Left-Sided Heart Failure

  • Dyspnea on exertion
  • Pulmonary congestion
  • Cough that is initially dry and nonproductive
  • Frothy sputum that is sometimes blood-tinged
  • Inadequate tissue perfusioon
  • Weak, thready pulse
  • Fatigue

Right-Sided Heart Failure

  • Congestion of the viscera and peripheral tissues
  • Edema of the lower extremities

Because heart failure causes vascular congestion, it is often called congestive heart failure, although most cardiac specialist no longer uses this term. Other terms used to denote heart failure include chronic heart failure, cardiac decompensation, cardiac insufficiency, and ventricular failure.

Nursing Care Plans

Nursing care plan goals for patients with heart failure includes support to improve heart pump function by various nursing interventions, prevention, and identification of complications, and providing a teaching plan for lifestyle modifications. Nursing interventions include promoting activity and reducing fatigue to relieve the symptoms of fluid overload.

Here are 13 nursing care plans (NCP) and nursing diagnosis for patients with Heart Failure:

  1. Decreased Cardiac Output
  2. Activity Intolerance
  3. Excess Fluid Volume
  4. Risk for Impaired Gas Exchange
  5. Risk for Impaired Skin Integrity
  6. Deficient Knowledge
  7. Acute Pain
  8. Ineffective Tissue Perfusion
  9. Hyperthermia
  10. Ineffective Breathing Pattern
  11. Ineffective Airway Clearance
  12. Impaired Gas Exchange
  13. Fatigue
  14. Other Nursing Care Plans
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Impaired Gas Exchange

Impaired Gas Exchange: Excess or deficit in oxygenation and/or carbon dioxide elimination at the alveolar-capillary membrane.

The exchange in oxygenation and carbon dioxide gases is impeded due to the obstruction caused by the accumulation of bronchial secretions in the alveoli. Oxygen cannot diffuse easily.

Defining Characteristics

  • Productive cough
  • Rales on auscultation
  • Difficulty of breathing
  • Pale conjunctiva, nail beds and buccal mucosa
  • Fatigue
  • Metabolic acidosis
  • Circumoral cyanosis

Diagnosis

  • Impaired gas exchange related to inflammation of airways and accumulation of fluid in the alveoli

Planning & Desired Outcomes

  • Patient will be able to demonstrate improvement in gas exchange

Nursing Interventions

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Nursing InterventionsRationale
Nursing Assessment
Monitor and record vital signsTo obtain baseline data
Observe color of skin, mucous membranes and nail beds, noting presence of peripheral cyanosis.Cyanosis of nail beds may represent vasoconstriction or the body’s response to fever/ chills
Elevate head of bed and encourage frequent position changes.To promote maximal inspiration, enhance expectoration of secretions in order to improve ventilation
Keep back dry.To avoid coughing
Therapeutic Interventions
Promote adequate rest periodsRest will prevent fatigue and decrease oxygen demands for metabolic demands
Change position q 2 hrs.To promote drainage of secretions
Keep environment allergen freeTo reduce irritant effects on airways
Suction secretions PRNTo clear airway when secretions are blocking the airway.
Administer oxygen therapy as ordered.O2 therapy is indicated to increase oxygen saturation
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References and Sources

Recommended references and sources for heart failure nursing care plan:

  • Black, J. M., & Hawks, J. H. (2009). Medical-surgical nursing: Clinical management for positive outcomes (Vol. 1). A. M. Keene (Ed.). Saunders Elsevier. [Link]
  • Doenges, M. E., Moorhouse, M. F., & Murr, A. C. (2016). Nurse’s pocket guide: Diagnoses, prioritized interventions, and rationales. FA Davis. [Link]
  • Gulanick, M., & Myers, J. L. (2016). Nursing Care Plans: Diagnoses, Interventions, and Outcomes. Elsevier Health Sciences. [Link]
  • Jaarsma, T., Strömberg, A., De Geest, S., Fridlund, B., Heikkila, J., Mårtensson, J., … & Thompson, D. R. (2006). Heart failure management programmes in Europe. European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing5(3), 197-205. [Link]
  • Scott, L. D., Setter-Kline, K., & Britton, A. S. (2004). The effects of nursing interventions to enhance mental health and quality of life among individuals with heart failure. Applied Nursing Research17(4), 248-256. [Link]

See Also

You may also like the following posts and care plans:

Cardiac Care Plans


Nursing care plans about the different diseases of the cardiovascular system:

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