Congenital heart defects

If your heart and its chambers weren’t formed correctly before you were born, the blood flow in your heart or vessels near it may be blocked or have abnormal pathways or connections. This may cause the oxygen-rich blood from your lungs to mix with blood from your body that is low in oxygen. When this happens cyanosis occurs and your body could potentially lack the right levels of oxygen to sustain itself. This makes it harder for your heart to pump blood around your body and the extra workload can cause many conditions, including heart failure.

For more information on congenital heart defects, visit the websites below:

Return to Common heart conditions

ESC Guidelines for Heart Failure

What patients need to know

This guide for patients from the European Society of Cardiology aims to provide an overview of the latest evidence-based recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure.

In particular, it should help patients to understand the:

  • main types of heart failure
  • medicines used to treat heart failure
  • devices that may be appropriate
  • importance of rehabilitation
  • management by a multidisciplinary team
  • importance of self-care in managing your own condition

Learn more


A series of 9 simple, captivating animations explaining heart failure and its treatment.

These narrated animations explain how a healthy heart works, what happens to it in heart failure and how various treatments work to improve your health.


In this section you can watch, listen or read interviews with other people with heart failure and their caregivers.


and share your own views and experiences with other patients, families and caregivers. is a European Society of Cardiology website

The website was developed under the direction of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The ESC is a world leader in the discovery and dissemination of best practices in cardiovascular medicine. Our members and decision-makers are healthcare professionals who volunteer their time and expertise to represent professionals in the field of cardiology in Europe and beyond.

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