[dee-kom-puh n-sey-shuh n]


Medicine/Medical. the inability of a diseased heart to compensate for its defect.
Psychology. a loss of ability to maintain normal or appropriate psychological defenses, sometimes resulting in depression, anxiety, or delusions.

Origin of decompensation

First recorded in 1900–05; de- + compensation Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for decompensation

Contemporary Examples of decompensation

  • And a decompensation occurred, which resulted in his putting on the suit of The Conservative.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Broadway's Comeback Kid

    Kevin Sessums

    November 2, 2011

Historical Examples of decompensation

British Dictionary definitions for decompensation



pathol inability of an organ, esp the heart, to maintain its function due to overload caused by a disease
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for decompensation

1900, from de- + compensation.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

decompensation in Medicine




Failure of the heart to maintain adequate blood circulation, marked by labored breathing, engorged blood vessels, and edema.
The appearance or exacerbation of a mental disorder due to failure of defense mechanisms.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.