Heart Failure Traffic Lights

Green Zone -- All Clear

In the green zone, your symptoms are under control. You have:

  • No shortness of breath
  • No swelling
  • No weight gain
  • No decrease in your ability to maintain your activity level

Continue taking your medications as ordered. Follow a low-salt diet. Keep all of your doctor appointments, and check your weight daily.


Yellow Zone -- Caution

In the yellow zone, these symptoms may indicate you need a medication adjustment. Call your physician if you have any of these signs or symptoms:

  • An increase in shortness of breath with activity
  • Weight gain of 2 to 3 pounds in one day or 4 to 5 pounds in 5 days
  • Increased cough or yellow, green or pink frothy sputum
  • Increased foot, ankle, leg or stomach swelling
  • Wheezing (a high-pitched noise when breathing in or out)
  • Chest pain, heaviness, pressure or discomfort that is relieved by rest or medication
  • An increase in the number of pillows needed to sleep, or you need to sit in a chair to sleep
  • Reduced energy level or anything else unusual that bothers you
  • Feeling lightheaded, dizzy, nauseated or sweaty after taking your medications


Red Zone -- Medical Emergency

This condition is an EMERGENCY! Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away (do not drive yourself).

  • You have unrelieved shortness of breath and shortness of breath at rest
  • You have unrelieved, new or different chest pain, heaviness, pressure or discomfort
  • You feel too dizzy to stand up


Disclaimer: This material provides general information only. It should not be used in place of advice, instructions, or treatment given by your doctor or other health care professional.