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Heart failure

Heart failure is an indication that the heart is no longer working at its full potential. The heart is unable to pump blood as well as normal, which prevents the heart from receiving all the blood and oxygen it requires. Lifestyle changes and medication are popular treatment plans to combat heart failure.

Supportive heart failure management

Heart failure doesn't have to slow you down, so let's work together to help you manage your health.

While heart failure can’t be fully cured, it can be treated. In the Mission Health family of hospitals, our cardiologists lead comprehensive heart failure management programs rooted in evidence-based treatments, follow-up care and support.

Related specialties

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Symptoms of heart failure

Heart failure occurs when your heart can’t pump blood as well as it should, limiting the amount of oxygen your body needs to operate. Consequent symptoms can include:

  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Swollen lower extremities

Features of our heart failure program

If left untreated, heart failure can diminish your ability to engage in daily activities. We're here to help by diagnosing and providing a treatment plan to manage heart failure.

Diagnosing heart failure

To properly diagnose heart failure, our heart doctors review your medical history to see if you have previously experienced any cardiac events, such as heart attacks. Additionally, we look into your family history to assess whether there may be a pattern of cardiovascular issues that could help explain the presence of heart failure. We then review your current symptoms, perform a physical exam, check your heart rate and check for the presence of risk factors. These may include high blood pressure, coronary artery disease or diabetes. If needed, we also perform appropriate tests, such as:

  • Blood tests
  • Chest X-ray
  • Echocardiogram
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • Lab tests

Treatments for managing heart failure

While sometimes heart failure and congestive heart failure (CHF) are used as interchangeable terms, these conditions are different, and CHF requires more immediate medical attention. This distinction illustrates the importance of a concrete diagnosis to inform treatment. After this diagnosis has been reached, our main goal is to reduce symptoms, halt the disease's progress and help you manage risk factors.

Regardless of the type or severity of your condition, lifestyle alterations are always the first step in any personalized care plan. We also offer ventricular assist devices, ace inhibitors, beta-blockers, surgical procedures and cardiac resynchronization therapy, both as compliments to lifestyle alterations and necessities if those alterations prove ineffective.

Lifestyle changes

It is important that you know that heart failure does not have to control your life. You can still lead the enjoyable life you crave if you are able to commit to necessary lifestyle changes, combined with proper medications. Results have shown that adherence to these alterations can drastically lower the chances of readmission.

We are likely to recommend that the foundation of your new life plan include:

  • Abstaining from smoking and alcohol consumption
  • Keeping blood sugar levels in normal ranges
  • Limiting salt and fat in your diet
  • Obtaining sufficient amounts of sleep

Ventricular assist devices (VAD)

VADs are surgically-implanted mechanical devices that produce continuous blood flow to the heart. If you do not respond to lifestyle changes and medication therapy, a VAD can be a positive step. However, it is important to note that this is a more aggressive step, albeit one that can greatly improve functionality and overall quality of life.

Many VADs are implanted in the left lower heart chamber, otherwise known as the left ventricle. These particular VADs are called left ventricular assist devices (LVAD). If your condition is more severe, such as in the case of CHF, LVAD surgery can be lifesaving. However, implanting an LVAD requires open-heart surgery, so speaking with your doctor to learn all the known risks is important before moving forward.

Congenital heart treatment for adults

Adults with congenital heart disease may face challenges from this common birth defect. Our doctors specialize in this condition and have the advanced training, tools and devices to help you manage your health.

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