Understanding Heart Failure
If you are one of the 5.1 million Americans with advanced heart disease you know your risk for heart failure is high and that your options for treatment are limited. Our physicians at CHI St. Vincent are at the forefront of treating all types of heart disease and our program provides advanced options for treating congestive heart failure to help you return to the activities you love.
Symptoms of Heart Failure
If you have congestive heart failure or advanced heart failure, your heart can’t pump enough blood to meet your body’s needs. You may feel weak, tired or short of breath. Retention of fluid in the feet, legs and stomach area and associated loss of appetite along with early satiety are some other symptoms of congestive heart failure. Without treatment these symptoms will grow worse over time.
Treatments for Heart Failure
In the early stages, congestive heart failure is usually treated with medication and your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes to improve the health of your heart. As the disease progresses to advanced heart failure, you may need a heart transplant. The ideal heart transplant candidate is a person with end-stage heart disease or advanced heart failure, but with all other major organs in good shape and functioning efficiently. While you are waiting for a heart transplant you may need a VAD (ventricular assist device). VADs, which are used as bridges to transplants, are machines that help a weakened heart pump blood throughout the body, most often giving lifesaving support to patients unable to wait for a donor heart to become available. The VAD allows the heart to rest, heal and grow stronger before the stress of transplant surgery.
Our physicians that specialize in treating heart failure, advanced heart failure and congestive heart failure work closely with your primary care physician and cardiologist to ensure you receive the treatment you need. Ask your doctor to refer you to one of our heart failure specialists.