Congestive Heart Failure: Symptoms Make an Appointment Refer a Patient Ask a Question Reviewed by Andrew M. Freeman, MD, FACC, FACP (December 01, 2012) As the heart grows weaker in a person with congestive heart failure, symptoms become more apparent. Common symptoms of congestive heart failure include: Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing Fatigue Swelling in the ankles, feet, legs, and/or abdomen (Caused by buildup of fluids in the body). A person with congestive heart failure may feel tired doing ordinary physical tasks, such as getting dressed, or may experience difficulty breathing even while sitting or lying down. Signs that congestive heart failure is worsening include: Weight gain Frequent urination Coughing Fluid in the lungs Fluid in the lungs is a sign of very severe congestive heart failure and needs emergency medical treatment. Congestive Heart Failure: Causes Congestive Heart Failure: Diagnosis Clinical Trials For more than 100 years, National Jewish Health has been committed to finding new treatments and cures for diseases. Search our clinical trials.