Heart Failure Treatment
Heart failure is a weakening of the heart's pumping power. With heart failure your body doesn't get enough oxygen and nutrients to meet its needs. These quality measures show some of the standards of care provided, if appropriate, to someone who has heart failure. To compare St. Mary's results with other hospitals in the United States, please visit http://www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov/.
** This comparative data was collected Oct 2011 to Sept 2012.
Heart Failure is weakening of the heart's pumping power. With heart failure, your body doesn't get enough oxygen and nutrients to meet its needs. Your heart tries to pump more blood, but the muscle walls become weaker over time.
Symptoms of heart failure may include:
- shortness of breath from fluid in the lungs
- swelling (such as in legs, ankles, or abdomen)
- cold or clammy skin
- a rapid or irregular heartbeat.
Heart failure can be a result of heart condition due to:
- hardening of the arteries, also known as coronary artery disease,
- a heart attack,
- cardiomyopathy (heart muscle damage from infection or alcohol or drug abuse), or an overworked heart (caused over time by conditions like high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes, or a defect from birth).
Heart failure is a chronic condition. It results in symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, and fatigue. Before you leave the hospital, the staff at the hospital should provide you with information to help you manage the symptoms after you get home. The information should include your:
- Activity level (what you can and can't do)
- Diet (what you should and shouldn't eat or drink)
- Follow-up appointment
- Watching your daily weight
- What to do if your symptoms get worse
The proper treatment for heart failure depends on what area of your heart is affected. An important test checks how your heart is pumping, called "the left ventricular function assessment." This test can tell your health care provider whether the left side of your heart is pumping properly. Other ways to check on how your heart is pumping include:
- Medical history
- Physical examination
- Listening to your heart sounds
- Other tests ordered by a physician, like an ECG (electrocardiogram), chest x-ray, blood work, and an echocardiogram