Is heart failure hereditary?

SantaCruz ColorBy: Richard Santa-Cruz, MD, Cardiologist with the Dale Michels Center for Heart Care

I often hear my patient’s family members questioning if heart failure is hereditary. I understand it is scary to see your parent go through heart failure and wonder if you could be prone to the same disease. The good news is that heart failure is not hereditary. However, many diseases that can ultimately lead to heart failure can be hereditary. It is always best to consult a physician before jumping to any conclusion! The three following heart diseases have been known to lead to heart failure.

  • Heart Valve Abnormalities occurs if one or more of your heart valves don’t work well. These valves have tissue flaps that open and close with each heartbeat. The flaps make sure blood flows in the right direction through your heart’s four chambers and to the rest of your body.
  • Coronary Artery Disease happens when the arteries that supply blood to your heart muscle become hardened and narrowed. This is due to the buildup of cholesterol and other material (plaque) on their inner walls.
  • Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) is a when the blood pressure in the arteries is elevated. This requires the heart to work harder than normal to circulate blood through the blood vessels.

Heart failure can cause shortness of breath, leg swelling and the inability to exercise. Treatment is most commonly a lifestyle change, such as quitting smoking, changes in diet, medication or with the installation of a pacemaker.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit us at or call us at (920) 929-2300.





About Dale Michels Center for Heart Care

Agnesian HealthCare offers comprehensive Heart Care Services close to home in Fond du Lac. These comprehensive Heart Care Services, offered through the Dale Michels Center for Heart Care, bring to the region a diverse and complete package of quality cardiac procedures, including open-heart surgery (coronary artery bypass grafts), coronary angioplasty, stent placements, cardiac catheterizations and other procedures. Agnesian HealthCare has been providing cardiac diagnostics, pacemaker clinic and cardiac rehabilitation for many years, and these remain part of the Dale Michels Center for Heart Care. For more information, call (920) 929-2300.

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