Signature Health Services has treated patients with CHF for 25 years. We have developed expertise in teaching patients how to cope with the physical and demands of CHF and its treatment.
A. A healthy heart can pump blood to all parts of the body in a few seconds. When the heart no longer does this, you have heart failure. Blood that should be pumped out of the heart backs-up in the lungs and other parts of the body. This fluid build-up in the lungs is congestion. Thus, the term congestive heart failure. This causes symptoms of heart failure: low energy, shortness of breath, or swelling in the abdomen, hands, legs, and feet.
Heart failure can range from mild to severe. Most often, the symptoms can be controlled with medicines, rest, and diet. When heart failure symptoms are found early and treatment is started, a person with heart failure can lead a more normal life.
Many people with heart failure have an enlarged heart (cardiomegaly). This comes from years of the heart having to struggle to pump out the blood. With treatment, an enlarged heart can improve its pumping action.
During the past ten years, heart failure treatment has evolved from symptom control to a combined prevention and symptom-management strategy. For most patients, treatment includes daily medicines, rest, reducing stress, eating less salt, and often, limiting fluids. Medicine therapy usually includes angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, beta-blockers, and diuretics.
In addition to pharmacological therapy, the treatment of heart failure can include surgical approaches such as revascularization of coronary arteries (for example, vascular bypass and angioplasty), mitral valve repair, aortic valve replacement, ventriculectomy (a procedure to reduce enlargement of the heart), cardiomyoplasty (a procedure to take healthy muscle from another part of the body and wrap it around the heart to provide support for the failing heart), and left ventricular assist devices (involving implantation of a battery-operated, mechanical pump, which then helps the left ventricle pump blood to the rest of the body, and heart transplant.
A. As heart failure worsens, you may notice some or all of these symptoms:
A. Your specially trained, certified, and caring nurse from Signature Health Services can help you in many ways, including the following: