Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Heart failure diagnosis

1-minute read

If you have symptoms of heart failure, your doctor will ask you to describe them in detail and you will have a physical examination.

Common symptoms of heart failure or chronic heart failure include shortness of breath, swelling of the ankles or belly, weight loss or weight gain, tiredness, loss of appetite, dizziness and coughing.

If your doctor thinks you may have heart failure, you will probably need to have tests to find out more. These will include:

  • Echocardiogram (an 'echo') – a heart ultrasound.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) – an ECG is a reading of your heart's electrical impulses taken from electrical leads placed on your chest and limbs. It can be used to diagnose a heart attack or abnormal heart rhythms (called 'arrhythmias').
  • Angiogram – this is a special X-ray that shows whether or not your coronary arteries are narrowed or blocked. Chest X-rays.
  • Blood tests – to check if there is anything in your blood that might indicate a risk of heart failure or some other related illness.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: July 2018


Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Heart failure

Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle has become too weak to pump blood through the body as effectively as normal.

Read more on WA Health website

Heart Failure - St Vincent's Heart Health

Learn more about heart failure including the causes, symptoms, possible tests and treatments.

Read more on St Vincent's Hospital Heart Health website

Congestive heart failure - Lab Tests Online AU

Congestive heart failure is when the heart can no longer pump blood quickly enough, leading to fluid build up in the liver, lungs, hands and feet.

Read more on Lab Tests Online AU website

Congestive heart failure (CHF) - Better Health Channel

Congestive heart failure is present when the heart cannot pump enough blood to satisfy the needs of the body.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Chronic heart failure | HealthEngine Blog

Chronic heart failure occurs when the heart fails to pump sufficient blood through the body. It may come on rapidly after a heart attack, or slowly.

Read more on HealthEngine website

Coarctation of the aorta | HealthEngine Blog

Coarctation of the aorta is a congenital heart defect affecting the main artery from the heart. It affects blood pressure and leads to heart failure.

Read more on HealthEngine website

Cardiomyopathy

Cardiomyopathy is a condition in which your heart muscle becomes inflamed and enlarged. Because it is enlarged, your heart muscle is stretched and becomes weak. This means it can’t pump blood as fast as it should.

Read more on WA Health website

Pleural fluid analysis - Lab Tests Online AU

Why and when to get tested for pleural fluid analysis

Read more on Lab Tests Online AU website

Heart conditions in women | Heart Foundation

Women can be diagnosed with a range of heart conditions that include angina, heart attack, heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms

Read more on Heart Foundation website

Palpitations: symptoms and diagnosis - myDr.com.au

Palpitations are sensations of excessively strong and/or irregular heartbeats. Find out more about the causes and treatment for palpitations.

Read more on myDr website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo