Heart failure isn’t something you can face alone. That’s why the team at Altru’s Heart Failure Success Clinic is here for you. The clinic provides comprehensive and expert care for all stages of the disease in order to improve your quality of life.
Symptoms of Heart Failure
Heart failure means your heart isn’t pumping blood the way it ought to, and this can cause serious complications.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should make an appointment with a cardiovascular specialist at the Heart Failure Success Clinic as soon as possible:
- Fatigue or weakness
- Swelling or bloating
- Sudden weight gain—more than two or three pounds in one day
- Shortness of breath or chest heaviness at rest
- Chronic coughing or wheezing
- Nausea or lack of appetite
Diagnosis of Heart Failure
There are three types of heart failure: left-sided heart failure, right-sided heart failure and congestive heart failure. To determine whether you have heart failure and what specific type it is, your doctor will perform a physical exam and draw blood.
Other diagnostics will likely include a combination of the following:
- Cardiac catheterization
- Chest X-ray
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
- Exercise stress test
- Radionuclide ventriculography or multiple-gated acquisition scanning (MUGA)
Treatment for Heart Failure
Heart failure is a chronic condition that cannot be cured, but many treatment options are available that can improve your prognosis and quality of life, and the staff at the Heart Failure Success Clinic will work with you to consider your options. One starting point will likely be lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, increasing exercise and eating a healthy diet with little or no alcohol and caffeine, which can make a big difference.
Your treatment plan may also include medications like ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, diuretics or angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs). Some patients will also need surgical procedures to remove arterial blockages, while others may need implantable defibrillators, a pacemaker to improve heart rhythms or a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) to assist in pumping blood. Some high-risk patients will need heart transplantation as a last resort.
What to Expect If You’re Hospitalized for Heart Failure
- If you’re diagnosed with high-risk heart failure, you’ll receive a referral for a home health nurse from Altru to visit you at your home within 2–3 days of discharge.
- The nurse will bring and show you how to use a small electronic device that will automatically check your weight, blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen level. Your nurse will monitor these measurements remotely for 30 days.
- Monitoring your medications closely is a priority in the success of your care. Your nurse will bring a laptop to your home. Together you’ll be able to visit face-to-face with a pharmacist as you review your medication list and talk through your questions. It’s important to understand why, when and what your schedule is for taking your medications. Taking your medications as directed will help improve your quality of life and reduce your risk of being hospitalized.
- Your nurse will provide valuable emotional support and education. We visit you at home to conveniently answer your questions and support you.
- You’ll be scheduled with an appointment with Altru’s Heart Failure Success Clinic within 7–10 days. It will be important that you bring up-to-date records of your weight, blood pressure and medication list to every appointment with Altru’s Heart Failure Success Clinic. We offer telemedicine virtual visits for patients.
- We welcome your family and encourage their support. We want to engage patients and families so they adhere to physicians’ directions and understand their plan of care. Building on patient and family education better allows patients and their loved ones to understand their diagnosis and self-management, and ultimately improve quality of life.
Why Choose the Heart Failure Success Clinic?
The multidisciplinary team at Altru’s Heart Failure Success Clinic will work with you and your family to create a comprehensive plan of care, including nutrition advice, medication management and cardiac rehabilitation.
Your heart health can’t wait. Call 701.780.6236 to schedule an appointment with Altru’s Heart Failure Success Clinic.